Mobile OS Study Shows Android Browser Often Over 50% Faster Than iPhone

By March 18, 2011
Androids Skateboarding

A Canadian study shows Android much faster than iOS for accessing Web pages, especially for non-mobile specific sites.

In a recent Blaze Software study, Android's browser and the iOS Safari browser were compared in terms of speed. On average, the initial reporting found that Android loaded sites 52 percent faster. Android devices and iPhones were used to access all of the Fortune 1,000 Web sites to make up the testing group. The iPhone loaded 84 percent of these sites slower than its Android counterparts, whereas the latter was even faster on non-mobile sites.

While most recent iterations of the mobile operating systems were used, as in iOS 4.3 and Android 2.3, these were not much faster than previous versions of software. Guy Pojarny, Blaze CTO found this surprising, especially with the improved JavaScript engine. The JavaScript improvements did not manifest themselves in this Web site test, but should make a difference for more complex apps. Pojarny also expected to find a performance winner, but found the size of the gap surprising.

The Ottawa, Ontario-based Web-optimization company tested the iPhone 4 and Google Nexus S on the Fortune 1,000 sites over multiple visits on various days, mostly over WiFi, for a total of 45,000 tests. Using their custom app Mobitest, they tested load times on the various pages. According to Blaze, Mobitest was more useful in reflecting real world usage than custom benchmarks by "mimicking the experience users would get when browsing on their smartphones." Using the large number of Web sites that they did, they attempted to gather a wider number of results to accumulate a larger amount of data.

The one area where Android did not win strongly was with mobile-specific sites. For these optimized sites, Android was only three percent faster, whereas on non-mobile sites Android was 59 percent faster. According to Blaze, this increased efficiency for fully-featured sites will help with the wider implementation of tablet PCs. Since "[t]ablets use the same OS and similar hardware phones do," according to Pojarny,  Android's edge will matter even more in this category. "[U]sers expect the full experience on tablets, not the simplified mobile sites."

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