Android vs iPhone browser speed test gets called out, Blaze backtracks

Earlier today almost every major tech news outlet gushed about the Blaze Software study that showed Android’s browser being 52% faster than iPhone’s Safari browser. “The Android browser smokes the iPhone” reported Gizmodo’s Casey Chan. “45,000 tests prove Android surfs faster than the iPhone” reads the article title at Boy Genius Report. It turns out that the study might not be entirely accurate. In order to conduct its tests for the study, Blaze built a custom application for both iOS and Android and conducted its browser tests through that. The problem with this is that although the application used the browsers’ rendering engines, it didn’t use the actual browsers. As a result, Safari’s JavaScript improvements in iOS 4.3 weren’t measured accurately and the end results were significantly undercut. Blaze made the following addendum to their original post after this was revealed:

Some wonder whether the new Nitro JavaScript engine was used in our measurements. We’re still investigating this issue, as the report was completed before it was made known. So far we’ve seen indications in both directions, so we can’t say for sure it’s being applied.

That said, the results from measuring Android show that JavaScript only accounts for a small percentage of the total load time, about 15% on average. This implies that even if Nitro is not in use, it likely can only slightly narrow the gap. We’ll follow up with any additional info.

So what Blaze is saying is that it may or may not have fudged a bit in its testing process, but it doesn’t matter because the 15% difference wouldn’t be enough for Safari to take the lead. I don’t know about everyone else, but I learned in grade school that being “less wrong” doesn’t change the fact that you’re still wrong. Furthermore, that purported “52% faster” amounts to a difference of one second. And if iOS 4.3’s JavaScript improvements are accurately accounted for, then that time frame gets reduced to under one second. Somehow I doubt that you will even notice that difference, let alone base your next smartphone purchase off of it.

Source: Blaze

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