Google Android thumps Apple iPhone in page load speed

A new study concluded that Android's Chrome Web browser is on average 52 per cent faster at loading Web pages than the iPhone's Safari browser

Android hasn't just surpassed Apple's iPhone in terms of total device sales, but in Web page load time as well.

A new study conducted by Web speed optimization software vendor Blaze Software concluded that Android's Chrome Web browser is on average 52% faster at loading Web pages than the iPhone's Safari browser. Blaze conducted its test by loading pages used by Fortune 1000 companies on both an iPhone 4 and a Google Nexus S over a Wi-Fi connection. In all, Blaze says it ran more than 45,000 tests and discovered that Android loaded pages faster than the iPhone 84% of the time.

MORE ON ANDROID: 15 Best Google Android Apps for Newbies -- All Free

However, Blaze found that Android's advantage over the iPhone dropped significantly on sites that were specifically designed for mobile Web browsing, as the Chrome browser was on average only 3% faster than Safari when loading mobile-specific sites. For non-mobile sites, Chrome loaded pages 59% faster than the iPhone, which Blaze points out will give it a big advantage in the tablet market.

"Tablets use the same OS and similar hardware phones do," writes Dave Horne, the marketing programs manager at Blaze. "However, users expect the full experience on tablets, not simplified mobile sites. That means Android's edge will make an even greater impact."

In addition to comparing different mobile operating systems' browsers, Blaze also tested whether having an improved JavaScript engine installed in the browser made a significant difference in page load too. To Blaze's own surprise, the company found that there was "no noticeable improvement" between iPhone software that had the new engine installed and iPhone software that didn't. Furthermore, Blaze said that Android software that had the new engine installed was "only marginally faster" than the older version.

The company concluded that "JavaScript performance doesn't have an impact on average page load time" because it is "already so optimized that it doesn't play a big role in the time it takes to load a page." Instead, Blaze said that improved JavaScript engines are more likely to help with complicated AJAX-based applications than with standard Web browsing.

This is still significant, however, since mobile applications have become an increasingly popular feature of smartphones over the past couple of years, especially with the high-profile launches of application shopping centers such as Apple's App Store and Google's Android Market. The most recent survey data from research firm ChangeWave shows that 14% of smartphone users said that applications were what they liked best about new smartphones, followed by ease of use (12%) and Internet access (12%).

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Brad Reed

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