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iOS Smokes Android in HTML5 Drag Race

iOS Smokes Android in HTML5 Drag Race

The iOS operating system found on iPhones, iPads and iPods a significantly more adept at handling HTML5, according to tests conducted by Spaceport. Devices tested included iOS phones and tablets, Android phones and tablets, and the BlackBerry PlayBook.

By Rachelle Dragani
03/06/12 11:18 AM PT

Apple's iOS handles HTML5-based games as much as three times better than Google's Android in HTML5, according to a new study from Spaceport.

The report specifically measured how many images could be moved around the screen at a time while maintaining a rate of 30 frames per second (FPS). The researchers tested on the latest versions of iOS and Android and on BlackBerry Tablet OS 1.0.8. The most current version of BlackBerry Tablet OS is 2.0. [*Correction - March 7, 2012] A variety of devices, including the new versions of the iPhone and iPad, the iPod touch, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the Motorola XOOM, were used for the testing.

iOS was the clear winner, according to the findings. On the iPad 2, developers can expect to have more than 300 moving objects, and 200 on the iPhone 4S, the report states. In comparison, Samsung's Galaxy Nexus, which runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, was the best Android phone tested. It showed about 100 moving objects.

Testing showed a wide range of results. The Motorola Droid 2 didn't maintain even one image at 30 FPS, Spaceport reported. Comparably, the worst iPhone tested, the 3GS, showed 50 moving objects at 30 FPS. The Kindle Fire maxed out at 25 moving objects, slightly better than the Motorola Droid but still behind the worst-performing iPhone 3GS.

All Part of the Game

With apps and games becoming a more integral part of the online and mobile experience, especially with social networking and e-commerce applications, this information may be important for developers and vendors trying to determine a platform in which to design.

"iOS has always had smoother rendering performance in the browser, and with iOS 5, it's not even close," Pascal Rettig, co-owner of Cykod Web Development, told TechNewsWorld.

Part of that comes from commitments from Apple and sites like Facebook to favor HTML5 over Flash on its mobile devices and applications.

"iOS has always had the best HTML5 support on mobile," Allen Pike, founder of Steam Clock Software, told TechNewsWorld. "Steve Jobs long championed it, specifically as an alternative to Flash. Although it's great for Apple if people write native apps for their platform, they also understand the importance of a first-class mobile browser."

Becoming the Platform to Beat

Regardless of which operating system runs HTML5 better, the language is gaining substantial traction in the mobile world.

"Flash is essentially dead on mobile," said Pike. "It's still supported on legacy devices, but even Adobe is no longer pushing Flash for mobile. Great HTML5 support is very important for any operating system going forward, and everybody knows it."

Apple and Microsoft were on to that idea before Google, even though Google is hoping that with its Chrome browser the system can run faster, according to Joe Lind, principal developer at Terrible Labs.

"Apple committed to HTML5 when they decided not to allow Flash on iOS," Lind told TechNewsWorld. "The popularity of iOS means that any mobile sites that want to provide a rich experience are pretty much forced to go HTML5 over flash, which makes HTML5 optimization a priority for mobile browsers."

Just because Apple's iOS is currently running games that appear faster and sharper in HTML5 now, though, may not necessarily mean the company has the upper hand going forward with the platform.

"Android is an open platform that supports multiple different browsers, where competition is leading to lots of different advances and so may force Apple's hand in providing features that make iOS a more friendly HTML5 platform for interactive developers," said Rettig.

With the right moves in developing Chrome or other browsers so it can more effectively run games in HTML5 and attracting talent to its platform, Android has time to catch up to iOS' performance, Lind added.

"This should be even more important for Android, which has traditionally suffered from a lack of quality in its apps compared to iOS," said Lind. "If development talent is used to create cross-platform HTML5 apps instead of native apps, Android has much more to gain than iOS in this respect."


*ECT News Network editor's note - March 7, 2012: The original version of this story stated that Spaceport ran its tests on the latest versions of iOS, Android and BlackBerry Tablet OS. In fact, an outdated version of BlackBerry Tablet OS was used in its tests.


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