Microsoft benchmarks Windows Phone browser against iPhone 4 and Android, wins

By Tom Warren, on 13th Apr 11 7:42 pm with 82 Comments

Microsoft kicked off a HTML5 mobile browser war on Wednesday after demonstrating its Internet Explorer 9 mobile for Windows Phone.

Joe Belfiore, Director of the Windows Phone program, demonstrated Internet Explorer 9 mobile against Apple’s iPhone 4 and Google’s Samsung Nexus S devices at the MIX11 developer conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Belfiore used a HTML5 speed reading demo from Microsoft’s own ietestdrive.com site. The demo ran at around 20 FPS on Windows Phone “Mango” and 11 FPS on the Android Nexus S device. Despite having a five second head start, the iPhone 4 crawled along at 2 FPS and failed to finish in time. Google’s Android device finished in second place behind Windows Phone’s Internet Explorer 9.

Microsoft’s demonstration will put pressure on both Apple and Google to respond. Internet Explorer 9 mobile will be identical to Microsoft’s desktop browser according to the company and will allow Windows Phone to take advantage of the latest advances in web technologies, including HTML5. Microsoft will also ship a Silverlight runtime inside of IE9 mobile. Microsoft originally unveiled Internet Explorer 9 mobile at Mobile World Congress in February and plans to ship it as part of its “Mango” Windows Phone platform update later this year.

Apple recently included some JavaScript improvements in iOS, boosting raw performance as much as 2.5x in some instances. Apple has yet to talk about how it plans to use HTML5 hardware acceleration for Safari mobile and Google has yet to respond on the Android smartphone side either. Microsoft’s quick turnaround on mobile browsing improvements could put them ahead in a key developer market. Browsers are the easiest way for developers to surface their content on mobile devices, bypassing strict application store rules. Microsoft’s “Mango” Windows Phone update is still a number of months off but if Apple and Google are still behind on HTML5 support later this year, it could open up an interesting gap for Microsoft, who are normally playing catch-up in the mobile space.

  • http://twitter.com/dgwelsh David Garnett Welsh

    Looking forward to mango, looks like they have really polished WP7 even more.

  • Anonymous

    Well that video confirmed one thing, They’re ignoring viewport metatag… hopefully they add it before release.

    • Anonymous

      They’re ignoring a lot of stuff.

  • http://profiles.google.com/taltara Tal Tarablus

    If you look closely you can see the iPhone’s running iOS 4.2, not such a fair comparison…(as 4.3 has safari improvements

    • http://www.winrumors.com Tom W

      Interesting, how can you tell?

    • http://profiles.google.com/taltara Tal Tarablus

      beneath the frame rate you can see which version of the browser its running and what OS it has. look closely at the iphones screen.

    • http://profiles.google.com/taltara Tal Tarablus

      beneath the frame rate you can see which version of the browser its running and what OS it has. look closely at the iphones screen.

    • http://www.winrumors.com Tom W

      It doesn’t make a difference though, I just ran the test on iOS 4.3.1 and it’s not even reaching 2FPS.

    • Alex Wilks

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t the improvements in the Javascript engine and not HTML5?

  • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

    Android did good too

    • http://www.facebook.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

      Actually it did. iOS was terrible though. However, like Tal Tarablus said it might have been better with Safari on iOS 4.3

  • Anonymous

    I bet Apple will come out with a hardware accelerated Safari for iPhone 5 and it and its fanboys will act as if something no-one thought of before and they where the first to do it

    • http://www.sk1wbw.wordpress.com Wayne Williams

      Sort of like how Windows fanboys are going on about it now?

    • M_Lyons10

      Well, is there another browser in the mobile space that can currently do that? The first person to do that CAN kind of act like that. It’s how it works. lol

    • http://www.facebook.com/simon.andrews Simon Andrews

      But when Apple intro’d an improved Safari, Windows Phone users laughed it off…

      The bottom line is that we’re all to obsessed with our phones being better than the other, and will never accept when that’s not the case. Can’t we all just be friends?

    • http://twitter.com/amorgaut Alexandre Morgaut

      Well, there is already some hardware acceleration on Mobile Safari for CSS rendering
      http://mir.aculo.us/2010/08/28/so-whats-the-status-of-hardware-acceleration-really/
      As someone said before the demo should have compared with an iPhone running on iOS 4.3 and not 4.2
      But sure they still have some work to do…

    • M_Lyons10

      I’d suggest looking at Tom W’s post below. Seems that with 4.3.1 it wasn’t even at 2 fps…

    • Anonymous

      The iPhone browser has always had hardware-accelerated graphics. But it also has high-quality rendering and broad compatibility with HTML5 apps. Speed is not the only metric. Google turns off a lot of WebKit features to gain more speed and so the Android browser can’t run a lot of Web apps.

  • Anonymous

    I bet Apple will come out with a hardware accelerated Safari for iPhone 5 and it and its fanboys will act as if something no-one thought of before and they where the first to do it

  • Anonymous

    I bet Apple will come out with a hardware accelerated Safari for iPhone 5 and it and its fanboys will act as if something no-one thought of before and they where the first to do it

  • http://www.facebook.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

    I can’t wait. The current IE is great but it leaves a lot to desire compared to other phones. A lot of cool mobile sites just don’t work. I assume they are HTML5, like the touch Facebook site.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, they are HTML5, which is standard on mobiles since 2007.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

    I can’t wait. The current IE is great but it leaves a lot to desire compared to other phones. A lot of cool mobile sites just don’t work. I assume they are HTML5, like the touch Facebook site.

  • Anonymous

    Curious as to why they moved the address bar to the bottom of the screen instead of just leaving it where it was? That will be a minor inconvenience for people who have muscle memory (Gesture memory) for getting around WP7 so far and will have to re-adapt.

  • Anonymous

    Curious as to why they moved the address bar to the bottom of the screen instead of just leaving it where it was? That will be a minor inconvenience for people who have muscle memory (Gesture memory) for getting around WP7 so far and will have to re-adapt.

  • Anonymous

    Curious as to why they moved the address bar to the bottom of the screen instead of just leaving it where it was? That will be a minor inconvenience for people who have muscle memory (Gesture memory) for getting around WP7 so far and will have to re-adapt.

    • http://twitter.com/blakey15 D.O.M

      Anyone who can’t re-adapt that little is stupid. It’s to allow people to see more of the webpage they are on.

    • Anonymous

      They could have just made it hide itself when your in a page like it does in landscape post NoDo. I am not saying it is a big problem, but it is a odd change to add more steps for other task like favorites and tabs.

    • http://twitter.com/BenVear Ben Vear

      I think it’s pretty intuitive, actually. I have this problem. You get to the end of a web page having not clicked on anything… then…. scroll all the way back up to go to the next site you want, or for site nav, since you didnt click on anything. This doesnt solve the site nav, but it does solve the first…

    • Junk

      I just hate anything APPLE! APPLE has become IBM, the very thing they hated. So much for the free spirited garage developers of the past that made APPLE. Now they are just self centered dopes that South Park made them out to be. I will never own anything APPLE.

    • http://twitter.com/gtroberts GTRoberts

      Its pretty obvious really :-) its so you don’t have to move your finger ‘all the way up to the top of the screen’ , seriously, thats it (IMO)

    • Anonymous

      There are only about 200 users of Windows Phone 7. What current users want is the last thing on Microsoft’s mind.

    • http://twitter.com/dgwelsh David Garnett Welsh

      Add at least 3 million to that number and your on your way.

    • http://www.facebook.com/todor.tsvetkov Todor Tsvetkov

      There were a lot of reviewers witch wined about the address bar being up and it was difficult to reach … because of the big screens of WP7 devices (DVP, Samsung). Maybe that’s the difference I don’t see what else can …

  • Anonymous

    The GPU on WP7 is not exactly up to par with current chipsets, yet it’s clearly helping a TON in accererating IE9. Mango can’t come soon enough.

  • http://techvirtuoso.com Michael Stanclift

    I would hope that a Microsoft website loads faster on IE9.

    • Dominic Blakey

      Its got nothing to do with that. It’s the graphics speed, which hasn’t got anything to do with Microsoft.

    • Marek K Nowak

      ? It has to do with Microsoft implementing hardware acceleration support in their browser.

  • http://techvirtuoso.com Michael Stanclift

    I would hope that a Microsoft website loads faster on IE9.

  • Anonymous

    Never really thought about it liek that before.

    http://www.total-privacy.it.tc

  • http://www.sk1wbw.wordpress.com Wayne Williams

    Well, anytime a manufacturer makes tests like these with their own products compared to other products, you have to take the results with a grain of sand.

  • http://twitter.com/eeentropyyy eeentropyyy

    Running a test on a page specifically optimized for the browser you are using is kinda disingenuous… and it will be the same as IE 9… which means it will not be web standard compliant… great!

    • Daniel

      You know IE9 went all our for standards right? This isn’t IE6 or Chrome you know…

    • Jason

      Why wouldn’t it be “standard compliant”?
      Why isn’t IE9 “standard compliant”?

      You seem to know so much…

    • http://twitter.com/leeyiankun Pisarn Chaijitvanich

      Desktop versions of FF & Chrome did 55 & 60 respectively. The bias is in your mind.

  • http://www.motmaitre.com Motmaitre

    Does it run Flash? Don’t you think this question is worth answering?

    • Chinonso

      with the way Microsoft is pushing html 5 i doubt that, secondly all new browser today are adopting the html 5 standard, Flash will soon be forgotten and Adobe knows it.

    • Anonymous

      Flash won’t be dead for a long time, html5 is not yet ready, so stop assuming flash is already died. That’s far from true.

    • Chinonso

      i know its not dead yet, however we know it will be soon, the rate at which technologies are absorbed today scarey.

    • Slept

      Yeah IE6 seems like to took no time to disappear :)

    • http://josedmorales.net Josè Daniel

      No but Silverlight will :)

    • Jason

      No.

  • Everydaypanos

    When was The last time you visited your favorite web app and you said: geez, I wish the graphics on that thing were not crawling at 2fps. Never?! Yeah, because there aren’t any…

    (html5 is about css3, and new markup. Not about graphics, proof that ms does’t get it.)

    • Matt Hidinger

      Today it might not be important. But go ahead and use the wayback machine to see what news and social sites looked like 5 years ago. Now imagine what they will look like 2-3 years from now.

      Not to mention the battery improvements you get by offloading as much rendering as possible to the GPU.

    • M_lyons10

      Well, someone gets it at least. Not to mention that HTML5 DOES have a lot to do with graphics rendering… *sigh*

    • http://twitter.com/edmarriner edward marriner

      HTML 5 is nothing to do with CSS 3 ?

    • Jason

      Your comment is proof that you don’t get it.

  • Everydaypanos

    When was The last time you visited your favorite web app and you said: geez, I wish the graphics on that thing were not crawling at 2fps. Never?! Yeah, because there aren’t any…

    (html5 is about css3, and new markup. Not about graphics, proof that ms does’t get it.)

  • http://www.youtube.com/dfmediainc Triny D

    Kudos MS

  • Anonymous

    Sadly, iOS 5 (most likely with hardware acceleration in the browser and other significant features/improvements) along with the iPhone 5 will inevitably arrive before any Windows Phone user sees Mango on their phone.

    • Ion

      I think it’s pretty obvious that after the Verizon iPhone 4 and the upcoming white iPhone 4, that both the next iPhone and iOS 5 will come at the end of the year or the beginning of next year. Mango will be out the same time or earlier than that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/graemeerickson Graeme Erickson

    While impressive, this seems like a rather unfair comparison. Microsoft is comparing a demo lab version of IE Mobile to market versions of iPhone Safari and the Android browser. Surely Google and Apple are both testing hardware-accelerated versions of their browsers, so a fair comparison would be between those testing versions and this version of IE Mobile.

    • http://twitter.com/leeyiankun Pisarn Chaijitvanich

      Desktop versions of Safari only got 2 fps. Opera got 5, FF 55 and Chrome 60 on my machine. I’d say it’s in the engine. I dl the latest versions for all browsers, so I don’t think that’s a factor.

    • http://www.facebook.com/graemeerickson Graeme Erickson

      Latest versions as in the latest stable versions, or the developer nightly builds? With hardware acceleration enabled, Chrome 12 Dev performs very well.

  • http://twitter.com/jtoeman Jeremy Toeman

    “Microsoft’s demonstration will put pressure on both Apple and Google to respond.” – why is that? Do you think consumers are out there thinking “I wonder which mobile phone has the fastest web browser?” The top two platforms aren’t quite in jeopardy of losing their footing to a brand that has virtually no consumer traction just because of a lab demo.

  • http://twitter.com/alistairmilne Alistair Milne

    Which HTC Windows handset is that? Could it be a dual-core prototype with far better GPU?

  • http://profiles.google.com/shiawuen Shiaw Uen Tan

    Is it fair to compare a new racer car with an old one?

    • Bjorg

      Yes. When the race starts, no one waits for the guy with the old race car who forgot to upgrade his engine.

  • http://twitter.com/dpgj dpgj

    Yawn~* After all these months, Microsoft didn’t learn a thing and still did these aged “wowing” stuffs.

  • ff11

    “Belfiore used a HTML5 speed reading demo from Microsoft’s own ietestdrive.com site.”

    Too funny. Stay tuned for test running off of Apple’s own iOStestdrive.com that have the iPhone coming in first and the Windows phone crashing and burning.

  • Anonymous

    The headline is incorrect. That is not the Windows Phone browser, it is a beta that has no actual users. It’s easy to demo for speed in that case. The iPhone and Android browsers have actual users. They have to also provide quality renderings, security, low memory use, and other features other than speed which the Windows Phone browser currently lacks.

    But it is good to see Microsoft making progress towards 2007 era browsing by adding HTML5. If they can get that out to their users within before 2012 they will avoid being a full 5 years behind.

  • OMG55

    Does anyone remember Aug 06, 1987? That’s when Microsoft invested 150M in Apple. MS has share in Apple, Gates is just not on the decision making board. So yeah, we should all just get along, because I believe this means, “That when Apple profits, so Does Microsoft. See the video:

    http://news.cnet.com/MS-to-invest-150-million-in-Apple/2100-1001_3-202143.html

    Sorry to disappoint you all. STOP THE MADNESS!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    had to resize WP7 while android handled that natively.

  • http://twitter.com/greychr Christian Bradford

    I’d like to see what are the screen resolutions reported by page for the mobile browsers. When I go to http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Performance/SpeedReading/Default.html on my iPhone 4, the stats at the bottom of the page shows “Window Size: 960×109[?]” (it gets cut off).

    True, the performance of this page on the iPhone 4 is horrible, but I’ve tried the test in various desktop browsers (since I don’t have access to other model phones), and they are also pretty bad at normal desktop browsing dimensions, e.g. 1024×960. If you size them down to 320×480 or 480×800, they do a lot better.

    The “Window Size” parameter seems to be missing from the demo in the video, so I don’t know what bearing on the phones’ performance. And I don’t know the resolutions of the other phones used in the demo.

    Although, being a IE test platform, that’s obviously not going to close the gap. Congrats to the IE and WP7 teams on great progress.

    • http://twitter.com/leeyiankun Pisarn Chaijitvanich

      I got 2 on Safari, 5 on Opera, 55 on FF, 60 on Chrome, 60 on IE. All latest consumer desktop versions.

      So what does it means? The test is bias for FF & Chrome? :D
      Funny that IE9 is 64 bit, and is a lot slower than 32 Bit IE9, but still clocked at 60 and took only 7sec to finish the test.

    • Jimmy!

      64 Bit slower than 32bit. In some cases, YES. This is because all memory references (pointers) now consume twice the space (64 bits vice 32). This effectively reduced the CPU Cache effectiveness by 1/2 and requires additional crunching by the CPU on operation. Much like writing an address, it’s much quicker to write one that is 32 bits in length than 64.

      These delays add up. Forutnately, the X64 CPU Design supports running 32bit code natively (which is why 32bit runs faster). The only benefit of 64 bit to programs is addressing chunks of memory larger than 4GB in size. Great for the OS (if you use more than 2GB of RAM for programs), great for large Databases, not as great for smaller programs.

      The cool thing (at least with Windows) is that 64 bit OS allows 32bit programs to access a full 4GB of addressable RAM (more than they would have without swapping or PAE paging on a 32bit OS).

  • Xelo

    html5 will become the new standard and flash will be old and I hope gone. Flash objects are always a problem and represent a high # of crashes with not just IE, but all browsers. Html5 will be a better/smarter solution for everyone. All browsers will eventually be supporting it and will be a fair game. For now, when you see a report about “This browser test shows that this browser is faster” take it for what it is worth, just a test that does not represents every user experience and as someone mentioned, most consumer don’t even notice the difference. Microsoft is just sending the message that ” The GAME IS ON” and ready to push other vendors to play.

  • http://twitter.com/leeyiankun Pisarn Chaijitvanich

    Chrome & FF did pretty well in the test. Opera only got 5 fps, but 2 for Safari means that it needs serious revamping.

  • Nath

    I’d like to know if they’ll fix the horrible Bluetooth experience or add support for USB-audio….

  • http://oswco.com dartdog

    MMM Google IO dev conference begins May 10 I’ll bet that Android is faster than Win7 by then and that it will be Shipping code. The MS code is not scheduled to ship ’till sometime in Sept, if they make their date.. So Let the Win7 fans have two weeks of fun before the hammer drops and they see just how far behind they are and how slow they are moving.

  • http://profiles.google.com/drachemitch Mitch Hancock

    Why didn’t they change the search provider to Bing on the iPhone? They bothered to make the lock picture an I <3 # ) but not that? That's just weird.

  • http://www.micky2be.com micky2be

    It’s a HTML5 Canvas test.
    It doesn’t prove HTML5 is faster, but that Canvas is.
    In more details, it just shows that Microsoft implemented hardware acceleration for Canvas while other device didn’t YET.
    Like Android doesn’t have 3D tranform HW accelerated while iOS does.