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Android vs. iPhone: which has the faster web browser? Two studies disagree

March 17, 2011 |  9:42 am

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Android phones vs. iPhones -- it's the smart phone equivalent of the Boston Red Sox vs. the New York Yankees.

And two recent studies on which has the speedier web browser -- two studies that contradict each other -- are providing more fuel to the fanboy/girl fire.

According to a new study released today from Blaze Software, web pages load 52% quicker on the Samsung Nexus S running Google's Android 2.3, also known as Android Gingerbread, than the Apple iPhone 4 running iOS 4.3 -- both the latest phones running the latest versions of their respective operating systems.

Blaze, based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, provides services that make websites load faster on mobile devices -- such as smart phones.

Levfcwnc The company said in announcing its study that it ran more than 45,000 webpage loading tests, across the websites of Fortune 1000 firms, on both Android 2.3 and iOS 4.3 to get its results.

"First of all, we found that Android's browser is faster," Blaze said. "Not just a little faster, but a whopping 52% faster. Android's Chrome beat iPhone's Safari by loading 84% of the websites faster, meaning Safari won the race only 16% of the time. While we expected to see one of the browsers come out on top, we didn't expect this gap."

And, in spite of the optimized JavaScript engines in the newest releases of Android and iOS, browsing speed wasn't improved when compared to previous versions of the two mobile operating systems.

"Both Apple and Google tout great performance improvements, but those seem to be reserved to JavaScript benchmarks and high-complexity apps," Blaze said. "If you expect pages to show up faster after an upgrade, you'll be sorely disappointed."

But, as PC World magazine pointed out on its website, the Blaze study contradicts a report released last month from Gomez, a Lexington, Mass., company and owned by Detroit-based Compuware.

Like Blaze, Gomez offers technology to help make websites and apps load faster on mobile devices.

The Gomez study found that Apple's iPhone loaded webpages an average of 17 seconds faster than phones running Google's Android OS.

For its study, Gomez used data from its own customers and looked at 282 million webpages loaded across 200 websites.

While Apple fans could point to the Gomez study and Goolge devotees could tout the Blaze report, PC World said both prove that mobile browser tests are overall unreliable.

"With real-world testing, there too many variables, such as network congestion and server problems," PC World said. "Closed networks and benchmarks, on the other hand, aren't really representative of what real users will experience. In any case, if you're complaining that your super-futuristic smart phone renders pages a second or two slower than the competition, you may want to step back, take a walk and rethink your priorities."

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

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Top Photo: Samsung's Nexus S mobile phone, the first smartphone to use the Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" operating system, is displayed at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Feb. 15, 2011. Credit: Albert Gea/Reuters

Bottom Photo: The Verizon iPhone 4 is demoed at a launch event in New York on Jan. 11, 2011. Credit: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

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