iPad 2 beats Android 3.0 Honeycomb Xoom, Galaxy Tab in HTML5 savvy

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Web development tools vendor Sencha examined Apple's iPad 2 and Motorola's Xoom running Google's Android 3.0 Honeycomb, crediting Apple with "a top rate, no compromises HTML5 browser" while calling Android "not ready for primetime, even for HTML4."



Sencha's "HTML5 Developer Scorecard" has profiled RIM's mobile BlackBerry browser, Apple's iOS Safari, and Google's mobile browser in both Android 2.2 on the Galaxy Tab last fall, and the new tablet-optimized Android 3.0 appearing on the Motorola Xoom (and forthcoming Galaxy Tab and Acer Iconia Tab products later this summer).



While all of these mobile browsers are based upon WebKit, they're not equal in their support for web standards. WebKit provides a rendering engine for handling DOM and CSS, but specific browsers based on it provide their own implementations of things like caching, screen drawing, location services, memory management, and usability features such as tabs, gestures, and printing.



Further, WebKit itself is rapidly evolving. Sencha notes that Apple's iOS 4.3 just introduced a new implementation of Safari based upon WebKit version 533.17.9, which it says is "a very recent build" and incorporates Apple's Nitro JavaScript engine. The latest Safari 5.0.4 update for Mac OS X uses WebKit version 533.20.27. Android 3.0 uses WebKit 534.13.



In contrast, Sencha wrote, "our experience to date with Android has been lackluster, starting with the disappointing browser in the Galaxy Tab and the Xoom [running Android 3.0 Honeycomb]." Note that various Android licensees rarely replace or enhance Google's included web browser, so Sencha's findings on the Motorola Xoom will also relate to the web performance of other Honeycomb tablets, including new models from Acer, Samsung, and Toshiba.



Acid3



The latest Android and iOS browsers both score 100/100 in the Acid3 test, but both exhibited rendering issues. Apple's browser had "a few light red squares in the top right and in the bottom right of the test results," Sencha reported. "Without a doubt, the iPad 2's Acid3 results are solid, but it would have been nice to see this come up to full compliance."







Google's Android 3.0 browser in the Xoom "has two noticeable rendering bugs ? first, the letters 'Acid3' are the wrong color and are missing the drop shadow. Second, in the top right there?s a small red box, which is an obvious rendering bug. The Xoom has a perfect numeric score, but it still fails Acid3," the site noted.







Modernizr



The firm next noted the findings of Modernizr, which reports the modern browser features each platform can support. "As we found in our earlier scorecards, just because a browser says something is there, it doesn't mean it works," the company stated.



"Nearly all the major browser features are supported on the iPad 2," Sencha says. "Modernizr found support for SVG, CSS 2D transforms, CSS 3D transforms, CSS transitions, WebGL and Web Sockets. Interestingly enough, Modernizer reported that there was no Inline SVG although we were able to try a few demo sites and saw that it did in fact work, and it also reported that the browser supports WebGL, which we couldn't get to work."



For Android 3.0, Sencha reported that "many features that were not supported in the Galaxy Tab [running Android 2.2] are now supported. Modernizr detects a fairly complete range of HTML5 features, including SVG, Inline SVG and CSS3 3D transformations. There are still features lacking such as WebGL support and Web Sockets and Web Workers." However, the firm again stated that "just because something is present, doesn?t mean it works," as it detailed in its performance tests.



Performance



The fast new processors of both the iPad 2 and Xoom provide a big boost in SunSpider JavaScript benchmarks, with both new devices neck in neck in delivering the fastest scores, well in advance of last year's iPad and Galaxy Tab.







In real world tests, Sencha observed that "Without a doubt, the iPad's Mobile Safari browser has the best CSS3 support of any mobile browser we've seen," adding that in both complex animations and web ads, "the iPad 2 nails CSS3." Its tests also reported that "Canvas support on the iPad 2 is first rate," and in embedded HTML5 audio and video, "again, the iPad 2 nails it. Audio plays back quickly and lets you pause and resume. Video comes up quickly and streams without issue in the browser page. The iPad 2's media support is solid."



In contrast, with the Android 3.0 Xoom Sencha reported that "CSS3 animations are almost completely broken. We often found even for the most basic animations the browser skipped frames, incorrectly rendered elements, or didn?t run the animation to completion. If Animations were simply slow, that would be one thing, but the Xoom CSS3 Animation support faces basic correctness issues."



In more complex animation tasks, Android 3.0 provides "an improvement from the Galaxy Tab [running Android 2.2]; the animations actually render. On the other hand, again, they render incorrectly. We found that text sometimes doesn?t appear, parts of the artwork are clipped incorrectly, fonts are rendered poorly, and frames of the animation are dropped. For some of the 3D effects, the browser simply drops the 3D or tries and fails to render the effects. For anything but the most basic CSS transitions and animations the Xoom does not make the grade."



A year after Apple shipped the iPad, Sencha says it is "still incredibly surprised that Google and Motorola have yet to build a mobile browser that has a correct and high-performance CSS3 implementation."



Sencha noted other improvements in Android 3.0, including support for SVG that was missing in the original Galaxy Tab's Android 2.2. Tests of Canvas found "the framerate isn?t great but it does actually work. So generally speaking, Canvas support gets a gentleman?s C." In tests of embedded HTML5 audio and video, the firm said, "we are able to get HTML5 audio to work, although we find that sometimes the audio plays even after we left the page or even closed the browser. We were unable to get HTML5 video to work at all."



Overall web browser capabilities



"We were excited about the first true Android operating system for tablets and had high hopes for a mobile browser that was as powerful as the platform," Sencha observed regarding Android 3.0. "Sadly, the Xoom and Honeycomb are a real disappointment. We found consistent and reproducible issues in CSS3 Animations and CSS3 Transitions among other things. We had issues where the browser either hung or crashed. Regular scrolling was slow or below full framerate. We had issues where media playback failed or performed incorrectly. At times it felt like we were using a preproduction device, but we bought our test device from a Verizon Wireless store."



The report added, "until Google and Motorola ship a patch to update the browser to production quality, don?t expect good results from the Motorola Xoom. We said it in the Galaxy Tab review, and we?ll say it again now: we?re still waiting for the first awesome Android tablet."



For the iPad 2, Sencha reported, "in our testing we tried to throw everything we could at the browser and it had no issues keeping up with the most advanced HTML5 and CSS3 sites. For any developer building for the mobile web, the iPad 2 provides an outstanding platform from which you can use modern browser features." The report also noted the difference between iOS' Safari and its embedded UIWebView browser used by web apps running in Full Screen or within an app, which lack Nitro JavaScript acceleration and some other performance related features.



In conclusion, the company reported, "Apple's devices are leading the vanguard of mobile browser innovation and for the HTML5 app developer this is great news. We're excited to see not only the rate at which Apple adds new features, but the quality of their implementation."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 105
    You could say that Android delivers the Full web -- except for HTML4, HTML5, CSS... and some other minor stuff. But it has Flash... or it will, RSN
  • Reply 2 of 105
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,752member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


    You could say that Android delivers the Full web -- except for HTML4, HTML5, CSS... and some other minor stuff. But it has Flash... or it will, RSN



    But.. but... but... Android is... oh.. nevermind.
  • Reply 3 of 105
    luisdiasluisdias Posts: 277member
    But but but Asheron told me in the last thread by DED that android was better at HTML than safari!!
  • Reply 4 of 105
    neiltc13neiltc13 Posts: 182member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


    You could say that Android delivers the Full web -- except for HTML4, HTML5, CSS... and some other minor stuff. But it has Flash... or it will, RSN



    I'd much rather have Flash support than perfect page rendering of features that are rarely (if ever) used on the websites I visit.
  • Reply 5 of 105
    jonamacjonamac Posts: 384member
    This makes painful reading for Google and Motorola. I am constantly astonished at the lack of intelligence present at Apple's competitors. How on earth can they release a tablet like the Xoom -teasing Apple along the way for a lack of Flash support - without a fully-functional browser!?



    They KNOW what tests will be run and how their browser will be judged. They KNOW that their browser will be a major feature point of the device. It just looks to me like they didn't care tuppence about HTML5 et al because they thought Flash support was their trump card...and it hasn't arrived. It's embarrassing.



    P.S. Just look at those Galaxy Tab figures!! I pity the fools that bought one of those! It was awful just using it in the shop, I have no idea how anyone in their right mind could use it for 10 minutes and thing decide to get their wallet out and part with actual cash for one when there's an iPad right next to it in so many cases!
  • Reply 6 of 105
    Because the web is all HTML5... Seems Safari on the iPad is a little "short" on standards itself. Like the flash used by millions of websites. Oh wait, Steve said there is no flash. Those little blue boxes are just the result of non-standard programming and should be ignored! Ah, that's why Safari is perfect. I get it now. Nice one Steve (and the sheep bought it!!!)
  • Reply 7 of 105
    jonamacjonamac Posts: 384member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post


    I'd much rather have Flash support than perfect page rendering of features that are rarely (if ever) used on the websites I visit.



    That's not quite the whole issue though. If you develop websites it is incredibly frustrating to know you cannot use certain superb features of a set of standards that ought to be ubiquitous because you will have a certain portion of your audience unable to view them.



    Everyone developing high-quality, standards-compliant browsers is in everyone's interests except Adobe's. If they all had 100% HTML compliance, you'd see a richer web because developers could bank on the new features being supported and could make use of them in commercial work.
  • Reply 8 of 105
    jonamacjonamac Posts: 384member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MicroNix View Post


    Because the web is all HTML5... Seems Safari on the iPad is a little "short" on standards itself. Like the flash used by millions of websites. Oh wait, Steve said there is no flash. Those little blue boxes are just the result of non-standard programming and should be ignored! Ah, that's why Safari is perfect. I get it now. Nice one Steve (and the sheep bought it!!!)



    Link me to the Flash for Android page please...
  • Reply 9 of 105
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,460member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post


    I'd much rather have Flash support than perfect page rendering of features that are rarely (if ever) used on the websites I visit.



    Then your path is clear, buy a clone not the real thing. Choice is good
  • Reply 10 of 105
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by LuisDias View Post


    But but but Asheron told me in the last thread by DED that android was better at HTML than safari!!



    Exactly what I was thinking. I just read that thread a few minutes ago (after coming across this article) and I found it quite funny that he was comfortable writing such a lie. It's sad really.



    Edit: I'm talking about Asherion (a commenter) and not DED.
  • Reply 11 of 105
    jonamacjonamac Posts: 384member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by thenewperson View Post


    Exactly what I was thinking. I just read that thread a few minutes ago (after coming across this article) and I found it quite funny that he was comfortable writing such a lie. It's sad really.



    A good portion of this article is quotations. It'd serve you to notice this and stop slurring a perfectly good article. It's not DED's views being expressed, it's a report on a third-party article.
  • Reply 12 of 105
    neiltc13neiltc13 Posts: 182member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jonamac View Post


    That's not quite the whole issue though. If you develop websites it is incredibly frustrating to know you cannot use certain superb features of a set of standards that ought to be ubiquitous because you will have a certain portion of your audience unable to view it.



    Everyone developing high-quality, standards-compliant browsers is in everyone's interests except Adobe's. If they all had 100% HTML compliance, you'd see a richer web because developers could bank on the new features being supported and could make use of them in commercial work.



    This is always going to be the case though, you can't force everyone on previous versions of browsers to upgrade. I'm sure that most web developers are more concerned with how their sites look on the majority of systems, and that certainly isn't any of the tablets mentioned in this article (including iPad).



    The fact is that as a consumer, I want to be able to access the websites I visit now. I don't buy an iPad today in the hope that in three or four years, web developers have learned how to match the flexibility offered by Flash using HTML5.



    For a designer, Flash (the tool) offers an environment that is easy to use and that can produce consistent results across platforms. Replicating many of the things they do in HTML5 would require learning a new skill - programming. Flash also remains the only widely-adopted way to display DRM protected video in a browser and nothing HTML 5 offers can replace that.



    I'd also love to see the end of Flash as a plugin, but the reality is that there is no alternative. Again it seems like Apple is producing products for the future, that simply cannot provide the features that are needed right now.
  • Reply 13 of 105
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jonamac View Post


    A good portion of this article is quotations. It'd serve you to notice this and stop slurring a perfectly good article. It's not DED's views being expressed, it's a report on a third-party article.



    Are you replying to the right person?
  • Reply 14 of 105
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,460member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jonamac View Post


    A good portion of this article is quotations. It'd serve you to notice this and stop slurring a perfectly good article. It's not DED's views being expressed, it's a report on a third-party article.



    That is the problem on blogs these days isn't it? Context seems to be irrelevant! People just knee jerk without reading carefully. Perhaps they don't teach punctuation and grammar these days and therefore the fact he was quoting was totally missed. I blame those BBs texting for destroying reading comprehension
  • Reply 15 of 105
    jonamacjonamac Posts: 384member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post


    This is always going to be the case though, you can't force everyone on previous versions of browsers to upgrade. I'm sure that most web developers are more concerned with how their sites look on the majority of systems, and that certainly isn't any of the tablets mentioned in this article (including iPad).



    The fact is that as a consumer, I want to be able to access the websites I visit now - I don't buy an iPad today in the hope that in three or four years, web developers have learned how to match the flexibility offered by Flash.



    For a designer, Flash (the tool) offers an environement that is easy to use and that can produce consistent results across platforms. Replicating many of the things they do in HTML5 would require learning a new skill - programming. Flash also remains the only widely-adopted way to display DRM protected video in a browser and nothing HTML 5 offers can replace that.



    I'd also love to see the end of Flash as a plugin, but the reality is that there is no alternative. Again it seems like Apple is producing products for the future, that simply cannot provide the features that are needed right now.



    Fair points. My gripe with this though is always the same: It's not Apple who have failed to develop Flash for mobile devices, it's Adobe. This is almost always misreported. If Flash worked well and didn't kill battery, Apple might look again (at least there'd be suspicion if they didn't). Apple cannot develop a browser with Flash support, because there is no such plugin to support!



    You're right that browsers will always lag behind the cutting edge standards. But when they lag THIS far behind, it's a real problem and hurts everyone. That was my point. As time goes on, these mobile browsers are going to surpass even desktop/notebook browsers in terms of importance. They need to be better than this. iPad doesn't do Flash, but NOBODY does. That's Adobe's fault. Let's be clear about that.



    At least the iPad supports the features that it can support well. This Honeycomb browser seems to be poor even at HTML4, which is ancient!!
  • Reply 16 of 105
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,158member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jonamac View Post


    A good portion of this article is quotations. It'd serve you to notice this and stop slurring a perfectly good article. It's not DED's views being expressed, it's a report on a third-party article.



    He is not referring to DED. He is referring to another poster on a previous article who claimed that Android tablets are better at web browsing.
  • Reply 17 of 105
    jonamacjonamac Posts: 384member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by thenewperson View Post


    Are you replying to the right person?



    Yes. Perhaps I have misinterpreted what you said but it appeared you were suggesting some contradiction from the author. My point is simply that the author of this article isn't really relevant as most of the article is quotations and the article merely reports on another site's findings.



    Can you link to the other article you are talking about?
  • Reply 18 of 105
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MicroNix View Post


    Because the web is all HTML5... Seems Safari on the iPad is a little "short" on standards itself. Like the flash used by millions of websites. Oh wait, Steve said there is no flash. Those little blue boxes are just the result of non-standard programming and should be ignored! Ah, that's why Safari is perfect. I get it now. Nice one Steve (and the sheep bought it!!!)



    I pity the fool that goes by MicroNix! MicroBrain might be more apt.
  • Reply 19 of 105
    jonamacjonamac Posts: 384member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post


    He is not referring to DED. He is referring to another poster on a previous article who claimed that Android tablets are better at web browsing.



    Oh, thanks for clearing that up. It was quite confusing. My apologies.
  • Reply 20 of 105
    bongobongo Posts: 158member
    The acid 3 test is generally regarded as a showcase of features. To use is as a benchmark to evaluate the performance of a web browser is absurd and amateur. The developers of acid 3 have said themselves that it has nothing to do with standards compliance, and that some of the test have no relation to real usage and browsers will simply include them to raise their score.



    Firefox 4 for example is regarded as having the best standard compliance of any modern browser. It scores 97 with errors. It would be pointless to implement features still in the development that are not in use just to increase the score. The fact that this vender used it to evaluate the Xoom just demonstrates its bias towards the platform it has invested in by creating non-standard web apps designed only for the iPad. No matter how "standard compliant" a browser is there will always be optimizations and other differences a web developer can take account of. Its unfair to take a wep app designed specifically for one platform and expect it to run perfectly on another.
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