Study finds Android 50% faster at web browsing

Apple comes out swinging against Android faster web claim

A study by web performance analytics firm Blaze found that the Android web browser performed a whopping 52 per cent better than the iPhone Safari browser though Apple supporters have called the test ‘flawed.’

"Browser performance is all the rage and everybody says theirs is faster," Blaze CTO Guy Podjarny wrote on the Blaze blog. The firm decided to settle the bet by comparing the performance of 45,000 page loads on Android vs iOS.

"First of all, we found that Android’s browser is faster. Not just a little faster, but a whopping 52% faster. Android’s Chrome beat iPhone’s Safari by loading 84% of the websites faster," wrote Podjarny.

"While we expected to see one of the browsers come out on top, we didn’t expect this gap."

Blaze downplayed the focus on JavaScript performance benchmarks, much in vogue among competing browser manufacturers, saying these results did not match real world benchmarks.

The company found that on average Android 2.3 loaded one of the test pages in 2.144 seconds compared to 3.254 on iOS. However both platforms were virtually identical on ‘mobile optimised’ web sites rather than the full-fat view intended for desktop computers.

A number of Apple supporters called the study flawed on the basis that Blaze used the built-in iOS embedded browser rather than the stand alone version of Safari. 

Theoretically there should be no performance difference but Apple complained to CNET that Blaze "tested their own proprietary app, which uses an embedded Web viewer that doesn’t actually take advantage of Safari’s Web performance optimizations."

Podjarny responded in a follow up post, saying that the Apple statement was the first time the company had said that the iOS embedded browser lacks the performance of the Safari browser and that this affected the test.

"We stand behind the statement that Android’s embedded browser is faster than iPhone’s," he added.

The revelation comes at a time that Apple has been under fire from some developers claiming that the firm is crippling web application performance versus native app performance. 

Apple enforces strict controls over native applications and earns a cut from every sale through the iTunes app store while web applications increasingly can do much of the same things without the restrictions. 

"Apple is basically using subtle defects to make web apps appear to be low quality even when they claim HTML5 is a fully supported platform," says one mobile web app developer," one developer told The Register.

"Despite this fundamental testing flaw they still only found an average of a second difference in loading Web pages," Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said. 

Podjarny called the claim a "bad interpretation of our results."

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