Qualcomm launches Android benchmarking app

Qualcomm has unveiled its latest creation: a free benchmarking app for Android which, the company claims, offers a truly accurate view of how fast a tablet or smartphone is in real world use.

Unlike traditional bechmarking apps which use synthetic processes to test out the raw performance of subsystems like the processor and memory, Vellamo aims to offer a real-world insight into the performance of one of the most frequently used aspects of Android: the browser.

Combining existing tools like the SunSpider Javascript benchmark with custom creations of Qualcomm's own aimed at testing HTML5 rendering performance, the figures generated by Vellamo are split into four segments: Rendering, Javascript, User Experience, and Networking.

Each segment has an effect on how the device feels in use: poor rendering will cause HTML5 canvas elements to tear and display slowly; poor Javascript performance will make websites feel sluggish; a low score in the User Experience category means that scrolling will be jerky and awkward; while a poor performance in the Networking tests indicates that something fundamental is crippling the networking stack.

By combining the results of all these tests into a single figure - with graphs indicating how much of an effect each segment has on the overall score - it's possible to get a good idea of how each device performs in real-world scenarios. Our test device, a Samsung Galaxy S II, came out near the top of Vellamo's leaderboard, beaten by the hardware-accelerated scrolling performance of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 boosting its User Experience score.

The app is free for both commercial and non-commercial users, and runs on any Android device regardless of whether the chip inside is manufactured by Qualcomm or one of its many competitors.

The entire app is refreshingly free of marketing pushes, in fact: aside from the logo of the Qualcomm Innovation Centre appearing all over the place, there's little hint that the app comes from a semiconductor company. More importantly, the results seem fair and impartial: the chart-topping Galaxy Tab runs a dual-core ARM processor from Qualcomm's rival Nvidia.

The app is available for immediate download on the Android Market, and if you need more convincing to give it a go here's a video of Qualcomm's Sy Choudhury extolling its many virtues.