Chances are you’ve heard the term HTML5 by this point. While it’s mostly a techie buzzword at this point, it has made its way into many mainstream publications. The gist is that it’s the next big thing, and stands to change the web as we know it. While that’s certainly true, we’re a long way from realization. Even so, HTML5 can be a great equalizer in the mobile space. RIM seems to realize this, as they’ve stepped up HTML5 compatibility in its Tablet OS and in the upcoming BlackBerry 10. As Bla1ze at CrackBerry notes, Tablet OS 2.0 currently leads all mobile platforms in HTML5 compatibility, and BlackBerry 10 looks great so far. Bla1ze then wonders how RIM will market this feature, though I think that’s asking the wrong question. For a quick primer on the power potential of HTML5, read this post by Roger McNamee. In it he shows how HTML5 can reverse the trend of commodity content and create something truly differentiated. Great, you might be saying, but how does that affect me, the consumer? It’s a second degree connection for sure, but it’s one that consumers will eventually realize. People identified with Apple’s iOS apps, because they provided a level of differentiation that the desktop web could not. As McNamee describes, the desktop web, or the commodity web, essentially centers on Google. When you want to find something you conduct a Google search. The results consist of links that look pretty much the same. You can choose any one of them and get the information you seek. Engagement is low in that type of environment; according to McNamee “the engagement on these stories is typically 15 to 20 seconds.” Those who view content through iOS apps, on the other hand, are engaged for 2 to 5 minute per app. That creates much more room for monetization opportunities. That in turn incentivizes content creators to develop apps in this manner. The result is a differentiated and fresh product for you, the end user. The use of THML5 will help ring in this era of differentiation. Two other factors play into the advancement of HTML5 and what it means for the BlackBerry. First, HTML5 is open, so there’s no 30 percent tax from Apple or restrictiveness of the App Store. That will drive developers to create HTML5 apps, since they can be seen on any device — even desktop devices. Second, as McNamee says, “there is no standard HTML5 for Android.” Therein RIM has a chance to create a difference in the market. Android seems unbeatable now, but if RIM can successfully pull off its device with HTML5 integration, it stands a fighting chance. For now, HTML5 remains a techie phenomenon, and has little impact on consumers. But it won’t stay that way for that much longer. RIM is leading the charge on this front, and a success could be just what it needs to recapture the attention it has lost in the last five years.