The H.246 format has ruled online services for the longest time now. Being an open standard, the H.246 has been preferred by most companies and organisations alike but as it is a paid service, people will always welcome a free format to replace it. Google probably has cashed in on this very same idea by coming up with the WebM video format. Designed by On2, this format seems to have worked well for Google, reinforcing the fact that buying the company in early 2010 was a right move. Apart from creating most of the video technologies for Google, On2 has created video technologies for Skype and Flash player.

In H.246’s defence, the format has been working fine so far , however the only drawback is that companies who use it, need to pay royalty fees to the companies that developed the standard. Keeping this fact in mind, Google recently announced the WebM free version at its I/O conference as a solution to this. To individuals and companies alike it is a sigh of relief as the “no fee” tag is a welcome change.

However, this spells bad news for all the smartphone users as most of the past and current smartphones will not be able to support this format. As opposed to desktops and laptops, smartphones will not be able to support this format. With desktops and laptops, the only prerequisite to use WebM is a necessary installation of additional software on the system. Smartphones however will have to wait for an up gradation of the software, so as to be able to play videos in this format. Unfortunately for them, the current software is designed to adapt to the H.246. Consumers who would want to still go ahead with using the WebM format without a software acceleration will come in for a rude shock as running the application as such would drain the phone of its battery. It will also rob the phone of its performance, creating tremendous strain on the phone.

However, the good news is that the phones that are yet to be launched in the market will now have WebM support. A first among such phones would be from Broadcom; the company has already altered their mobile chips to support the WebM format. All future processors will probably support this format as it is gaining popularity. This however will not help current users of smartphones.

Google already has plans for adding support for WebM in the next version of the Android OS that is fondly named Gingerbread. This is definitely going to make consumers happy. Plans to embed WebM into YouTube services are also in the pipeline. With Google using the WebM on such a huge platform, other sites are also bound to follow suit. WebM is probably going to be one of the most popular formats in the market and being a free version, it will gain popularity very soon. Although it seems to be a setback for the current smartphone users WebM is still a noteworthy video codec.