Browser Wars: “Flawed” Study Shows Android Surfs Web 52% Faster Than iPhone 4 On iOS 4.3
It’s fast becoming the measure smartphone manufacturers and OS developers use to convey how fast their products are, and now one Canadian firm has taken Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android through 45,000 tests to see just who has the fastest web browsing experience.
Blaze Software Inc is a Canadian outfit dedicated to improving browsing speeds and they were kind enough to run us through some of their testing to see who rendered websites the fastest – Android or iOS. Unfortunately though, the study was found to be flawed.
What Blaze did was that they created their own testing software based on Apple’s UIWebView and Google’s WebView. The tests were performed on an iPhone 4 (running both iOS 4.3 and 4.2) and Samsung Nexus S (running Android 2.3) while a Samsung Galaxy S was used for testing Android 2.2.
All the websites tested were those of Fortune 1000 companies with each site being tested 3 times, with a median result used.
Study proved Google’s OS to be faster than iOS in 84% of tests. Average load-times were also measured, with Android’s speed showing through with an average time of 2.1 seconds compared to the average 3.2 seconds required by iOS’ Safari.
Blaze also made the tools used available to the public via its website. Here users can test any site they like, using various Android and iOS versions to see how their site runs.
The full Blaze press release is attached below:
Ottawa, ON, March 17, 2011 – Blaze Software Inc released today the largest ever research study of smart phone browser performance. The purpose of the study was to determine once and for all which of the two leading smart phone vendors has the fastest browser.
Mobile Web browser usage is exploding. Emarketer estimates that 44.1% of US citizens will leverage mobile Internet by 2014. To capture market interest in mobile browsing, smart phone vendors have been aggressively touting the speed improvements in their products. However, due to the lack of mobile measurement tools, it has been difficult to measure which smart phone actually has the faster browser.
What makes this study unique is the size of the study and the fact that it used real phones on real world websites to make the measurements. Past studies have often used fabricated benchmark sites or manual measurements on a small number of sites. This study was made possible through custom apps developed to measure page load time on mobile devices. These apps run on the actual devices, load a page on demand, and measure how long it took. These agents are available as a free service to measure any site with the Blaze Mobitest Tool.
Detailed blog post on the Blaze Mobile Measurement Study For more information on the details results and methodology of the study, please see: www.blaze.io/blog For more information on the Mobile measurement service Blaze’s mobile measurement service can be found at: www.blaze.io/mobile
About Blaze Blaze was founded in 2010 with a mission to help clients deliver better performing Web businesses by optimizing websites to increase website speed. Blaze provides a hosted Web Performance Optimization service that improves frontend performance and reduces operational costs. For more information, see: www.blaze.io
*This report is based on our own analysis leveraging the technology and methodology outlined in this report. Blaze Software Inc. is in no way affiliated with Google or Apple.
There is a good reason for this. According to Blaze’s own documentation the “measurement itself was done using the custom apps which use the platform’s embedded browser. This means WebView (based on Chrome) for Android, and UIWebView (based on Safari) for iPhone.”
The problem with using UIWebView is that, even though it’s based on Safari, it didn’t receive any of the updates that Safari did in iOS 4.3. Using an embedded browser is not the same as using the official browser.
Apple also officially responded to the tests, saying:
Their testing is flawed because they didn’t actually test the Safari web browser on the iPhone. Instead they only tested their own proprietary app which uses an embedded web viewer that doesn’t take advantage of Safari’s web performance optimizations. Despite this fundamental testing flaw, they still only found an average of a second difference in loading web pages.