Browsers

iOS 4 vs. Android 2.2 - Browser battle battle!

Which has the fastest browser, Apple's iOS 4 or Google's Android 2.2? We're used to browser battles here on TiPb, but how about a browser battle battle? See, both Ars Technica and Engadget ran some tests, pitting iPhone 4 on iOS 4 against the Nexus One running Android 2.2 Froyo and the results... varied dramatically to say the least.

Ars SunSpider and V8 benchmarks showed the Nexus One blowing iPhone 4 out of the water with almost double the JavaScript performance. Engadget's real-world test loading real-world webpages, however, had iPhone 4 with a slight lead when Flash was enabled on the Nexus One, and slightly behind when Flash was disabled.

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Opera Mini for iPhone: good for extremes, not extremely good

So we've had a couple of days to play with Opera Mini for iPhone and it's clear why the new proxy browser is so divisive -- it's got a fantastic feature set, and is fast for people on slow EDGE connections and cheap for people on roaming data, but its UI is kludgy, it doesn't render HTML as well as Safari, and it has trouble with dynamic websites.

Whether you love it or hate it will likely depend on a couple of things:

  • If you roam a lot
  • If you're on 2.5G/EDGE a lot
  • If you love Opera's features like in-page search and speed dial
  • If you don't mind weird interface behavior like popping zoom and crazy scroll
  • If you're not a typography nut whose eyes bleed at poorly rendered Helvetica
  • If you're not an HTML aficionado who notices things like missing rounded corners and imprecise box-models
  • If you're not interested in the upcoming HTML5 video support and don't mind getting redirected to Flash videos which won't play either

The more of the above that applies to you, the more you'll want to keep Opera Mini handy. And hey, even if none of it applies to you, it's free so you can stick it on a back page (or in an iPhone OS 4 folder) for emergencies.

It's also a 1.0 release, so Opera will no doubt improve it going forward. Either that or complain to the EU and try and force a browser-ballot onto the iPhone... (We kid! They invented tabbed-browsing, we heart them!)

How's Opera Mini working for you?

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Opera Mini for iPhone Approved, in App Store now

Opera has just announced that their Opera Mini browser for iPhone has been approved [Free - iTunes link]. According to Engadget, it's already popping up in some international App Stores and should/could be in your App Store any time now. Update: looks like it's live now, go get it!

Opera Mini likely received approval because it's not an actual web rendering, JavaScript processing engine like Safari (or Firefox, IE, Chrome, etc.) but a proxy-browser. All the rendering and processing is done on Opera's servers and then compressed and sent to the app for display.

This also means it doesn't use as much data, and can thus usually display web pages faster and with slower data connections than a full-on browser -- especially useful for people on roaming data rates or on EDGE connections.

It breaks SSL encryption by necessity however (https sites), so while you may want to use it to traveling the outskirts, you'll like want to avoid it when mobile banking downtown.

(You also might want to use it for it's on-page text search feature -- something even iPhone OS 4 still lacks.)

Let us know when Opera Mini appears in the App Store for you, and if you try it, what you think of it. Video of Dieter checking out the pre-release version after the break!

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

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The Competition: BlackBerry Browser Going WebKit via Torch Mobile?!

CrackBerry.com is reporting that RIM has acquired Torch Mobile, makers of the WebKit-powered Iris mobile browser.

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Updated: iPhone 3G S 21% Faster vs. Palm Pre in Web Render Benchmarks

Update: Engadget re-did the math and it looks like the iPhone 3G S is actually 21% faster than the Palm Pre (for now).

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Google to Launch "Chrome" Open Source WebKit-based Browser

The intertubes are positively being flooded with what has to be some of the biggest browser news since Apple debuted MobileSafari on the iPhone: Google is getting in the game.

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