We recently did a post on the most popular mobile browsers in the world (fyi: Android browser is apparently the most popular browser), but that’s the point of doing a story like that, it doesn’t really tell you what the browsers are good at, if anything at all. A study by Spaceport.io uses their open source PerfMarks project to determine how mobile browsers perform when it comes to HTML5, here are some results:
Game and app performance relies heavily on animated objects smoothly moving around the screen. As such, this test – when conducted across various operating systems, browsers and devices – serves as a proxy for evaluating performance of HTML5 games and apps.
The high average values across the two top animation techniques are skewed due to a single outlier: the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. This outlier pulled up the average for all other Android phones. Since this is an Android 4.0 phone, it is seen that massive improvements were made to the default Android Browser in the latest OS version.
The results here are well below 100 moving objects, regardless of the device or technique. That should be surprising given how powerful this hardware is. Some of these tablets have Tegra graphics cards but these are clearly not being well utilized by the Android Browser software stack.
Although not an Android device, the Blackberry Playbook is also included in this group for the sake of comparison. It is able to support 85 moving objects using CSS 3D transforms. Therefore the Playbook beats out all of the Android tablets for HTML5 (at least in terms of number of translating images).
Mobile Safari on the iPhone and iPod supports all the animation techniques tested, all the way back to the iPhone 3GS. Right off the bat this is a major step above Android. Unlike the Android Browser, there is more than one acceptable option; both canvas and CSS 3D transforms will perform adequately.
Even the oldest device here (the iPhone 3GS) is able to reach 53 moving objects at 30 FPS. This is another stark contrast with the one moving object on the low-end Android devices.
The iPad 2 on iOS 4.3.3 was at best able to achieve 198 moving objects while maintaining 30 FPS. However, since updating to iOS 5.0 the iPad 2 can achieve 326 moving objects. As with the iPhone, all techniques are supported on both iPads.
iOS is strongly in the lead here – both in terms of phones and tablets. Developers can expect to have more than 200 moving objects on the best iPhones, and more than 300 moving objects on the best iPads, but only around 100 moving objects on the best Android phones.
To conclude, the iPad 2 manages over 300 moving images at 30 FPS and cannot be beat for speed on any browser/device/OS combination.