What's new for mobile devices in SharePoint 2013
Published: July 16, 2012
Summary: Learn about the new mobile features available in SharePoint 2013, including the mobile browser experience, device channels, and location.
Applies to: SharePoint Foundation 2013 | SharePoint Server 2013
SharePoint Server 2013 offers new, optimized viewing experiences across different mobile platforms. Additionally, several new features were added to help improve both worker productivity and usability on the device. This functionality includes the following:
Optimized mobile browser experience For smartphone mobile devices SharePoint Server 2013 provides a lightweight, contemporary view browsing experience for users to navigate and access document libraries, lists, wikis, and Web Parts.
Device channels You can render a single published SharePoint site in multiple designs to accommodate different device targets.
Push notifications A push notification service on a SharePoint site can be enabled to send device updates such as a tile or toast notification to a Windows Phone device.
Location SharePoint Server 2013 supports a new geolocation field type that can be used for mobile application development.
Business intelligence content Certain devices are now able to view business intelligence content such as PerformancePoint Web Parts, Excel Services reports, and SQL Reporting Services reports.
Office Web Apps You can view Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents in mobile browsers with additional functionality in SharePoint Server 2013.
For an end to end look and understanding of the SharePoint Server 2013 mobile landscape, see the poster Mobile architecture in SharePoint 2013. Also, for more information on how to administer your mobile environment see Administer mobile devices in SharePoint 2013.
Optimized mobile browser experience
SharePoint Server 2013 offers improvements to the mobile browser experience with the introduction of a new contemporary view. Depending on the mobile browser, users have one of the following browsing options:
Contemporary view This view offers an optimized mobile browser experience to users and renders in HTML5. This view is available to Mobile Internet Explorer version 9.0 or later versions for Windows Phone 7.5, Safari version 4.0 or later versions for iPhone iOS 5.0, and the Android browser for Android 4.0 or later versions.
Classic view This view renders in HTML format, or similar markup languages (CHTML, WML, and so on), and provides backward compatibility for mobile browsers that cannot render in the new contemporary view. The classic experience in SharePoint 2013 is identical to the mobile browser experience of SharePoint Server 2010.
Full screen UI There is also the ability to have a full desktop view of a SharePoint site on a smartphone device.
The following figure shows the contemporary view for a smartphone browser.
Figure: Contemporary view on a smartphone browser
For the above figure the top row shows the contemporary view rendering on a Windows Phone, and the iPhone for the bottom row. The classic and contemporary views are only rendered for smartphone mobile browsers. For more information about which mobile browsers are supported in SharePoint Server 2013, see Mobile device browsers supported in SharePoint 2013.
Browsing the web on a mobile device is now so common that it is essential that a SharePoint site should be optimized for readability and ease of use on smartphones and other mobile devices such as tablets.
Previous versions of SharePoint Server included a single default mobile view that was auto-generated based on the existing site, and that default mobile view was not easily customizable. Now, with mobile channels in SharePoint Server 2013, you can render a single publishing site in multiple ways by using different designs that target different devices. You create a single site and author the content in it a single time. Then, that site and content can be mapped to use different master pages, page layouts, and style sheets for a specific device or group of devices.
SharePoint Server 2013 supports applications on mobile devices (such as smartphones, tablets, and so on) that should receive notifications from a SharePoint site. Notifications can include events that occur in the site, such as when a user adds an item to a list or updates an item. For mobile devices to receive these notifications, device applications must register with a SharePoint site. Once the device is registered, you can write event handler code to interact with Microsoft Push Notification Service or notification services of other mobile device platforms. Notifications are sent from the server where the application is hosted to the registered mobile device application.
SharePoint Server 2013 introduces a new geolocation field type that can be used in a list. For example, you can now make lists “location-aware” and display latitude and longitude coordinates through Bing Maps. An entry is typically seen as a pushpin on the map view. Although there are several ways to use this geolocation field, one key scenario is for mobile application development. Users can track or log location-specific data while they work remotely from the corporate office. Alternatively, the application can help them locate points of interest when it performs offsite functions.
Business intelligence content
SharePoint Server 2013 enables a user to view certain kinds of dashboard content. This includes PerformancePoint reports and scorecards, and Excel Services reports in iOS 5.0 Safari browsers on iPad devices.
Office Web Apps
In SharePoint Server 2010, Office Web Apps Server provides browser-based companions for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. When Office Web Apps Server is installed on SharePoint Server 2010, Office Mobile Web Apps is also installed on the server. Office Mobile Web Apps enables users to open documents in the mobile web application by using a mobile browser. With SharePoint Server 2013, Office Web Apps Server is no longer a companion product installed on a computer that is running SharePoint Server. Instead, Office Web Apps Server is a new stand-alone server product that still provides mobile browser-based viewers for these applications. These viewers called Word Mobile Viewer, Excel Mobile Viewer, and PowerPoint Mobile Viewer are optimized to render documents for phones. When integrated with SharePoint Server 2013, a user can enjoy enhanced viewing experiences when interacting with documents on the phone.