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Study shows Android browser outperforming iOS

A study has revealed that the Android browser is capable of loading the majority of websites faster than the iPhone browser - around 52 per cent faster, in fact.

The study, conducted by mobile web optimisation specialist, carried out 45,000 tests on pages from the sites of Fortune 1000 listed companies using handsets running Android 2.2 to 2.3 and iOS 4.2 to 4.3.

The result were startling: 84 per cent of sites loaded faster on the Android handsets, with an average improvement of 52 per cent. While the iPhones took 3.2 seconds to load an average page, the Android devices - the Samsung Galaxy S and the Google Nexus S - took a mere 2.1 seconds.

"While we expected to see one of the browsers come out on top, we didn’t expect this gap," the company admitted in its report. "Secondly, we saw that despite the optimised JavaScript engines in the latest iPhone and Android versions, browsing speed did not get better.

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

Interestingly, the benefit of Android's speedy browser is lost when accessing websites that have been optimised for mobile devices. "Android's edge completely disappeared when looking at mobile specific sites[, where] Android was only 3 per cent faster."

The company concludes that the ease with which the Android browser handles full-fat websites could translate into a major advantage in the tablet market. While the company's tests were carried out on an iPhone 4, the iPad and iPad 2 tablets run the same version of iOS - and so will have the same performance when compared to an Android tablet of the same specifications.

"We assumed that similar hardware specs and the same WebKit foundation would make iPhone and Android's browser perform equally," the company concludes. "We assumed that a faster JavaScript engine equals a faster browser.

"All of these assumptions have been proven wrong when we actually measured those scenarios," the company admitted in its report. "The SunSpider JavaScript benchmark pushed browsers to optimise JavaScript performance, because they could measure it."

With Apple's browser failing to match up to Android's offering, it's likely that major work will be going on over at Cupertino to ensure that the next release levels the playing field.