updated 09:35 am EDT, Thu March 17, 2011
Blaze says Android faster on web than iPhone
(Update: doubts surface) A new study by Blaze has suggested that Android in ideal conditions can easily outperform an iPhone 4 on the web. A Google Nexus S running Android 2.3 is about 52 percent faster on average than an iPhone 4, even with the iOS 4.3 speed boost in effect. In the real world, the Nexus S would outrun the iPhone 4 on Fortune 1000 company websites 84 percent of the time, the Ottawa-based firm said.
Virtually all of the 45,000 tests between the two devices were conducted on a known good Wi-Fi connection to eliminate the connection as a bottleneck, but the iPhone using 4.2 was tested on Bell's 3G network at low-traffic moments and showed about half a second's difference from using its 7.2Mbps HSPA access. Using iOS 4.3 might improve the load times, while using any US carrier might have decreased the peak download speeds; at nearly 6Mbps downstream, Bell's 3G speed is largely unachievable in the US on AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon, the carriers that offer the phones in the country.
The researchers acknowledged that conditions would vary in the field and that phones using Android 2.2 wouldn't fare as well. Since Galaxy S phones like the Vibrant are the same as the Nexus S apart from using the older OS, Blaze could test pure software limitations. Android 2.2 was about 10 percent slower than 2.3, Blaze said.
Questions remain about whether or not the performance edge is feasible for most Android users. Android 2.3 represents just 1.7 percent of devices using the OS, while 61.3 percent are still using Android 2.2. In many cases, the phone manufacturers either don't have a 2.3 upgrade ready due to OS fragmentation or have deliberately abandoned updates to reduce their support costs and steer customers to newer phones. A significant number of Galaxy S-based phones in the US still use Android 2.1.
The iPhone 5 is also expected to get the same dual-core A5 chip as the iPad 2 and may get further improvements from iOS 5, which is likely to show in the next few months. Tests weren't conducted with dual-core phones like the just-launched Motorola Atrix, but these are either too new or, in AT&T's case, have been intentionally slowed down while testing an upgrade for upload speeds.