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Android Options Mean "Best" Browsers Might Surprise You

timothy posted about a year ago | from the an-actual-figurative-ecosystem dept.

Android 251

An anonymous reader writes with this quote from Tom's Hardware: "Due to Apple's anti-3rd-party browser stance, and Windows RT's IE-only advantage on the 'Desktop,' Android is the only mobile platform where browser competition is thriving. The results are pretty surprising, with the long-time mobile browsers like Dolphin, Maxthon, Sleipnir, and the stock Android browser coming out ahead of desktop favorites like Firefox, Opera, and even Chrome. Dolphin, thanks to its new Jetpack HTML5 engine, soars ahead of the competition."

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251 comments

Hey, Apple has browser competition! (4, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year ago | (#42203209)

There are plenty of other Safari skins available!

But seriously, these walled gardens make me long for the 90's, when you could sanction a company [wikipedia.org] for even *including* their own browser with an OS, much less outright forbidding other browsers from being installed.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (5, Informative)

telchine (719345) | about a year ago | (#42203291)

But seriously, these walled gardens make me long for the 90's, when you could sanction a company [wikipedia.org] for even *including* their own browser with an OS,

The reasons those sanctions came about was because Microsoft had a near monopoly on the operating system market. None of the companies in the mobile space have a monopoly.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (5, Informative)

bondsbw (888959) | about a year ago | (#42203437)

It depends on what you mean by monopoly. IANAL, so I don't know the legal definition. But I would argue that Apple's approach to deciding the market on its devices is anti-competitive behavior.

It's not just that browsers must wrap Safari. It's that they must use a crippled version of UIWebView, one that is much slower than Safari's Nitro engine. The result is that web pages take almost exactly double the time to load in other browsers.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (2, Insightful)

pauljlucas (529435) | about a year ago | (#42203885)

Apple's approach to deciding the market on its devices is anti-competitive behavior.

They're Apple's devices and should be allowed to do whatever they want with them. Don't like it? Don't buy one.

The difference with Microsoft is that they had a monopoly on virtually all other manufacturers' hardware since (at the time) they made no hardware of their own. Now that they make Surface, they should be allowed to do whatever they want with it. The market will decide its fate.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203909)

They're Apple's devices

Then I guess I had better give the one I've got back.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42203913)

They are Apple's devices?
I thought they sold them to people, not leased them. Am I mistaken?

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203981)

You're wasting your time playing with words. You know what he meant.

Apple can do what it likes with its stuff... OS, store, browser, whatever. They're not leveraging a mobile operating system monopoly to force all smartphones to use safari. That's what's different from the msft situation.

On a mostly unrelated point, you can do most anything you like to your iphone, including putting a different browser on it. Apple just doesn't have to offer a competing browser in the app store.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (4, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | about a year ago | (#42203921)

A monopoly is not illegal. If you abuse a monopoly, thats when it becomes a legal matter. Microsoft threatened vendors when they wanted to put other browsers on their OEM builds and that's what made it illegal. just bundling your own browser is not illegal. Threatening to kill a vendors access to the market dominant OS if they put a competitors browser on is definitely illegal.

Apple is not a monopoly, they are not doing anything illegal, and they can put whatever browser they choose on their devices. I agree with the parent. If you don't like it, don't buy it, and obviously many don't since Android is the dominant OS, no?

The market health seems fine to me.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42204035)

Yes, you are right. Apple is being anti-competitive.

Yet as a consumer, we have a choice still in which phone/device to purchase and use. Apple holds a "monopoly" on the iOS platform. This distinction is meaningless - Apple has no obligation to open competition for browsers on iOS.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (3, Insightful)

TheViciousOverWind (649139) | about a year ago | (#42203473)

People keep spouting this like it's gospel, and it might be legally correct, but that doesn't make it any less crappy for the consumers. Apple is on the way to be a more evil version of Microsoft when it was worst, and I think the world would be a better place if they were forced to be slightly more open.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (3, Interesting)

Rob Riggs (6418) | about a year ago | (#42203633)

I think the world would be a better place if [Apple] were forced to be slightly more open.

The question is "who is going to force them?" In this case (browser choice on smartphones), I think that market forces can do that just fine. There are enough choices available right now. That said, I can certainly see where Apple could be considered guilty of tying [wikipedia.org] in this case since an argument could be made that the browser is a distinct program and that this is harming competition and innovation.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#42203485)

I know that's how the law is written currently, but it seems to me that the law hasn't kept up with the times. The rule should be that if you have any kind of substantial market share (more than 25% or so) you can't engage in these kind of anti-competitive activities.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203581)

None of the companies in the mobile space have a monopoly..

I see. So, what does the blogsphere say about the browser space in terms of total market space in the computing-sphere? Obviously, there isn't a point where the price point comes into parity since, well, they're all without any upfront costs in the consumersphere. But,I'll leave that up to the social-networking-space to decide.

Power, memory and bandwidth consumption matter (0, Troll)

goombah99 (560566) | about a year ago | (#42203613)

On mobile the best browser is not the fastest browser. What matters is that it is fast enough while consuming the least power, memory, and bandwidth, having a good resume-and-hibernate behaviour, and not achieve it's abilities by reaching out of its sandbox. A recent study I saw said that Safari had something like half the bandwidth usage as another common browser, as well as lower power usage. things that agressively pre-load pages, spawan zilions of rendering threads and so forth can consume more power for very little extra perfromance. I'm fairly sure these are the reasons Apple limits the browser. They want to assure phone owners get good battery life.

Re:Power, memory and bandwidth consumption matter (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42203781)

So it is for your own good, since you are too stupid to make your own decisions?

What if I don't care about battery life? What if I really need a webpage to load correctly and not in a way safari does it?

If they want to set the defaults that is fine, but to prevent me from doing at all unless I use their one true way is why I will never buy and iOS device.

You are not their customer. (1, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | about a year ago | (#42203971)

If they want to set the defaults that is fine, but to prevent me from doing at all unless I use their one true way is why I will never buy and iOS device.

You are not their customer. So by all means roll your own.

Apple customers don't want the hassle of monitoring their major apps for good behaviour, reading TOMS hardware every 3 months and changing things. They do get upset if their battery is going down faster than apple said it would and they don't know what is causing it.

I'm a computer geek and I'm in that class. All I want out of my cell phone is very very high reliability, battery life and security. If I want to dink around and experiment on a mobile system I can buy an android phone or jail brake it. But for the one in my pocket, I want high usability with reliable behaviour, not jet packs.

DESKTOP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203659)

DESKTOP operating system market.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203685)

Now instead of a monopoly you have a triad. I don't forsee another company jumping into the mobile OS market with all the patent lawsuits.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203325)

But seriously, these walled gardens make me long for the 90's, when you could sanction a company for even *including* their own browser with an OS, much less outright forbidding other browsers from being installed.

And yet Mac OS, BeOS, Aminga, etc. all had a browser included with their OS and received no sanctions. Basically, you're a fucking idiot.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (4, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year ago | (#42203413)

Yes, in 1998 Apple, Amiga and BeOS all included their own browsers with their OS's.

And I'm the fucking idiot.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203345)

Due to Apple's anti-3rd-party browser stance

WTF... There are more browsers in Apple's iOS App Store than there are grains of sand on all the worlds beaches, or stars in the night sky, or atoms in the solar system... and I'm only exaggerating a little. There are a shitton of web browsers available for any iOS device, including Chrome and Opera. Firefox was available until September 2012, but work on it ceased due to Mozilla's lack of resources.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203433)

There are a shitton of web browsers available for any iOS device, including Chrome and Opera. Firefox was available until September 2012, but work on it ceased due to Mozilla's lack of resources.

That's not really Chrome. It's Safari in Chrome's clothes.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203563)

It doesn't really matter if there's only slow browsers on iOS anyway.
 

iPhones are for old people, they're used to slow.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203715)

It doesn't really matter if there's only slow browsers on iOS anyway.

iPhones are for old people, they're used to slow.

As anybody who ever got stuck behind them on the road, or had them get in the way at the grocery store because they need their 25 minutes to choose a pack of lunchmeat (because they never heard of shopping lists) knows - not only are they used to slow, they inflict it on others any chance they get!

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203687)

There are a shitton of web browsers available for any iOS device, including Chrome and Opera. Firefox was available until September 2012, but work on it ceased due to Mozilla's lack of resources.

That's not really Chrome. It's Safari in Chrome's clothes.

You are mistaken. It really is Chrome. Chrome is just another webkit browser.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (2)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year ago | (#42203451)

There are more browsers in Apple's iOS App Store than there are grains of sand on all the worlds beaches

All just webkit skins, except for Opera I think (which uses some kind of weird server-side rendering to bypass the walled garden).

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (3, Informative)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#42203549)

Opera Mini (not to be confused with Opera Mobile, their actual browser) is called a "remote document viewer" or something because it goes through Opera's servers, which handle rendering, compression, etc. So at any time, Opera Mini only ever connects to Opera's servers as opposed to a web browser which will connect directly to the web host. It's a technicality only from the user's viewpoint... under the hood, they work fairly differently.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (1, Insightful)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year ago | (#42203463)

They're all just skinned versions of safari. Apple's TOS forbid improving iOS.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (4, Informative)

CritterNYC (190163) | about a year ago | (#42203583)

Not sure if trolling or clueless. On the off chance you are clueless, Apple doesn't permit competing browsers in their app store. They sneakily did this by banning all interpreted code (for 'security reasons'). That means no JavaScript. And a browser is mostly useless on the modern internet without JavaScript. So, the only thing you can do with a browser on iOS is to wrap Safari in a skin. But, surprise, Apple screws you there, too, because they give you a slower engine in that mode. So, every single browser on iOS is just a Safari skin and they all run slower than Safari. Hurray for Apple's walled garden. There is one exception in the app store, and that's Opera Mini. To get around this rule, Opera has a server farm in the cloud rendering pages and JavaScript and sending the results down to the Opera Mini clients. It's inefficient and doesn't work as well as a native browser, but it's the only way to "compete" with Apple. Oh yeah, and the whole Opera Mini client is designed for dumb phones that lack the power to run a real browser.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (1)

samkass (174571) | about a year ago | (#42203673)

Nitpick: Apple bans apps that explicitly download code, not interpret code. There are LUA, Python, and other development environments, as well as tons of embedded JS and other scripts running many apps for iOS.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203801)

the only thing you can do with a browser on iOS is to wrap Safari in a skin.

This is blatantly false. iOS only permits webkit browsers, so all the browsers are webkit-based, but they are not all re-skinned mobile Safari. Huge conceptual difference there.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42204015)

the only thing you can do with a browser on iOS is to wrap Safari in a skin.

This is blatantly false. iOS only permits webkit browsers, so all the browsers are webkit-based, but they are not all re-skinned mobile Safari. Huge conceptual difference there.

This is incorrect. Apple only allows browser who use the *built in* webkit engine that Safari use. Chrome is not allowed to use their own webkit engine on iOS. So Chrome on iOS is Safari webkit with Chrome UI.

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (1)

Dupple (1016592) | about a year ago | (#42203373)

They're not all skins, but they mostly use webkit, or does that make Chrome a skin as well then?

The only real difference is that other browsers don't have access to Nitro Java Script engine

Re:Hey, Apple has browser competition! (0)

aliquis (678370) | about a year ago | (#42203517)

much less outright forbidding other browsers from being installed.

Are you a terrorist?

This look really suspicious to me!

I'm using Chrome to write this on my iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203813)

Safari on the iPhone is no more required than IE on Windows. Yes, other apps call up Safari, frankly this is rare.

I love Chome on iOS.

Re:I'm using Chrome to write this on my iPhone (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42203891)

Not even close to true.
What you are using is almost entirely a simple wrapper around safari.

"Chrome for iOS has some pretty major technical restrictions imposed by the App Store, such as the requirement to use the built-in UIWebView for rendering, no V8, and a single-process model," explained Google engineer Mike Pinkerton

Just proving the point (1, Interesting)

paulsnx2 (453081) | about a year ago | (#42203279)

Walling yourself up and limiting consumer choices and controlling the platform ...

It works for Apple for the natural 20 percent of the market where people will tolerate limited choices. Apple got ahead of the curve with the IPod, IPhone, and IPad. But they are destine to drop back to their natural 20 percent. The rest of us demand more control, more chaos, and more competition.

Re:Just proving the point (3, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | about a year ago | (#42203337)

The rest of us demand more control, more chaos, and more competition.

No, the vast majority of Android users are people buying it because the phones are cheap. Not because they care about being able to root the phone, install alternative browsers, or wanting "chaos". The XDA-like crowd is a pretty niche minority.

Re:Just proving the point (4, Informative)

jkrise (535370) | about a year ago | (#42203409)

the vast majority of Android users are people buying it because the phones are cheap. You mean low cost, not cheap. Android phones can do everything an iPhone or Windows Phone does, at a lower cost. So it is not cheap, it is a more valuable option for the customer. And the reason for that is because the underlying platform is more 'open' and less tightly controlled by a bunch of perverted sadists and corporate trolls.

Re:Just proving the point (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#42203481)

You mean low cost, not cheap.

There are also cheap android phones out there. Ones that are nwe, but low spec and a bit clunky and not as capable but cheap. As in, don't cost much money as in cheap.

Re:Just proving the point (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#42203557)

You mean low cost, not cheap. Android phones can do everything an iPhone or Windows Phone does, at a lower cost. So it is not cheap, it is a more valuable option for the customer.

Most Android phones don't offer as polished or clean an experience as iOS. Samsung's phones are an exception, which is why Apple has been trying to cripple them via lawsuits – but the good phones like the Galaxy Note II are as or more expensive than an iPhone. The majority are crammed full of un-removable carrier crapware. The Nexus 4 at least does offer a clean experience at a lower (un-subsidized) price than the competition.

Re:Just proving the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42204011)

You mean low cost, not cheap. Android phones can do everything an iPhone or Windows Phone does, at a lower cost. So it is not cheap, it is a more valuable option for the customer.

Most Android phones don't offer as polished or clean an experience as iOS. Samsung's phones are an exception, which is why Apple has been trying to cripple them via lawsuits – but the good phones like the Galaxy Note II are as or more expensive than an iPhone. The majority are crammed full of un-removable carrier crapware. The Nexus 4 at least does offer a clean experience at a lower (un-subsidized) price than the competition.

I would alter your comments by stating that you mean *stock* Android phones. Since most, if not all, Android phones can be rooted easily the rest of your comment does not apply except when referring only to the stock loads. Once you root them the crapware can be removed, features enabled that are part of the device and not the network, etc, etc, etc. Many custom ROMs are as polished, if not more so, than iOS and can be configured and/or customized to the users taste. That is something that is not possible in iOS.

While I currently have an iPhone mainly because I didn't want a larger phone, I have had several androids that I rooted and they were comparable in most respects and better in others.

Re:Just proving the point (0, Troll)

Desler (1608317) | about a year ago | (#42203679)

You mean low cost, not cheap.

No, I meant exactly what I said. People buy the phones because they are cheap. And many of those cheap phones are junk with low resolution screens, crappy GPUs, if they even have A-GPS many of them don't even work that great, etc. You need to realize that the vast majority of Android phones being sold are not the Nexus, HTC Ones or Galaxy SII and SIIIs. The vast majority of Android phones are basically only slightly better than feature phones.

Android phones can do everything an iPhone or Windows Phone does, at a lower cost.

Let me guess, you're comparing the unsubsidized price of the newest iPhone to the subsidized price of an Android device. Otherwise, you're full of it. The iPhones don't cost anymore on contract than any comparable Android device. And on the unsubsidized price the difference is usually 10-15% higher for the iPhone. At least in the US, that is.

So it is not cheap, it is a more valuable option for the customer.

No, the "value" was the fact that they got it free or for less than $100 not anything else.

And the reason for that is because the underlying platform is more 'open'

Of which the average consumer neither knows nor cares. I know people who work at Verizon and T-Mobile stores. The people buying the phones overwhelmingly do it for price. That and the fact that the people selling the phones in stores get higher commissions for pushing Android devices usually. Outside of geeks the buyers couldn't care less about Android using Linux, or being open source or that they can root and install custom ROMs. Geeks love to project this as the reason why people buy Android phones overwhelmingly. It is not.

Re:Just proving the point (1)

strength_of_10_men (967050) | about a year ago | (#42203993)

No, the "value" was the fact that they got it free or for less than $100 not anything else.

Considering that you can now get an iPhone 4 for free and the 4S for $99, then by your specious argument would have that those phones would vastly outsell those "cheap" Android phones because they're better, right? The fact that they don't must mean SOMETHING...

Re:Just proving the point (1)

nyctopterus (717502) | about a year ago | (#42203765)

Hmm, I'll get labelled an Apple fanboy, but I disagree. Android made great inroads with cheap phone that were underpowered and in many ways a poor experience. The HTC Desire is one phone that springs to mind, web browsing like molasses, horrible jerky scrolling, games would get 4-10fps, etc. There were quite a few of those sorts of phones on the market, and they drove Android adoption like crazy. They were cheap in the cheap sense.

I don't know what the situation is now though.

Re:Just proving the point (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about a year ago | (#42203779)

Android phones can do everything an iPhone or Windows Phone does, at a lower cost. So it is not cheap, it is a more valuable option for the customer. And the reason for that is because the underlying platform is more 'open'

Or it's because user tracking and ad targeting are what the 'open' platform is built on, which subsidizes the phone by making Advertisers the customers of Android and the device owners part of the product.

Re:Just proving the point (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42203855)

Because clearly Apple or MS would never do that. I could not even keep a straight face while saying that.

If you are concerned you do know you can get android build from outside google right?

Re:Just proving the point (1)

quacking duck (607555) | about a year ago | (#42203835)

the vast majority of Android users are people buying it because the phones are cheap.

You mean low cost, not cheap. Android phones can do everything an iPhone or Windows Phone does, at a lower cost. So it is not cheap, it is a more valuable option for the customer.

This "low cost" Android-using Slashdot user disagrees [slashdot.org] : "I own an Android device myself. But the only thing on it that's usable at all is Maps. There are tons of super-cheap Android devices sold that don't have great touch screens and thus people don't use them much except for the basics like email and maps and texting."

Yeah yeah, it's one person's opinion, he didn't specify what Android device or if it's even a phone, and one anecdote doesn't make it data. But, his opinion/experience is just as valid as yours.

And the reason for that is because the underlying platform is more 'open' and less tightly controlled by a bunch of perverted sadists and corporate trolls.

Okay maybe his opinion is more valid. You're showing just a hint of bias there.

Re:Just proving the point (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203443)

So does that go for folks who buy PCs over Macs, too? The only reason the vast majority make that choice is because they're just too stingy to shell out for the "good" computers?

Re:Just proving the point (4, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year ago | (#42203469)

The XDA-like crowd is a pretty niche minority.

But the people who want a choice of screen sizes, durability, features, looks and yes, even cost are a real majority. The price and popularity of Samsung's Galaxy models should tell you that the "cheap Android" slur is just FUD.

Re:Just proving the point (3, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | about a year ago | (#42203719)

But the people who want a choice of screen sizes, durability, features, looks and yes, even cost are a real majority.

No, the real majority just care about costs. I know this because I know people who work at the stores selling these phones. The people zoom in on what is the cheapest looking phone that looks the coolest. That's about it. They couldn't care about the resolutions, the CPUs cores, the amount of memory, etc.

The price and popularity of Samsung's Galaxy models should tell you that the "cheap Android" slur is just FUD.

And worldwide, those phones represent around 5% of all Android phones. If you look at the Android phones being sold in China, Africa, etc. they are not phones like the Galaxy models. They are basically phones that are just steps up from feature phones.

Re:Just proving the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203493)

The rest of us demand more control, more chaos, and more competition.

No, the vast majority of Android users are people buying it because the phones are cheap.

Bollox. The majority are buying them be they can't stand Apple and the pretentious dicks that have to bleat on and on about their new iPhone +=1. They are buying them because there is are variety of devices with proper screen ratios and sizes, capacities (SD cards options), and form factors. But don't let consumers' choices get in the way of your myopic Apple zealotry.

Re:Just proving the point (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203757)

The rest of us demand more control, more chaos, and more competition.

No, the vast majority of Android users are people buying it because the phones are cheap. Not because they care about being able to root the phone, install alternative browsers, or wanting "chaos". The XDA-like crowd is a pretty niche minority.

Right, because every person using an android phone would immediately switch to an iphone if they could get one as the "free" contract phone from their provider.

Oh right, Verizon does have the iphone 4 as the free phone now that the 5 is out.

Idiot.

APK The best browser is hosts file! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203315)

Before you install a new browser, update your hosts file. My mobile hosts file is only 7Gibibytes, so there's still room for other files.

Huehuehuehue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203319)

I use the Mercury Browser [lmgtfy.com] exclusively on my iDevices. It came from the AppStore. Didn't need to install it through Cydia or anything, so what's this about Apple being anti-3rd party browsers?

Re:Huehuehuehue (1)

lord_mike (567148) | about a year ago | (#42203447)

It still uses the painfully slow and limited Safari engine underneath it. It's not much more than a skin for Safari.

Re:Huehuehuehue (-1, Troll)

the computer guy nex (916959) | about a year ago | (#42203555)

It still uses the painfully slow and limited Safari engine underneath it. It's not much more than a skin for Safari.

That painfully slow Safari browser just happens to be faster than any Android tablet *or* phone ever released.

http://images.anandtech.com/doci/6309/49915.png [anandtech.com]

Re:Huehuehuehue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203783)

No, it isn't. The WebKit engine that iOS apps are allowed to embed is a gimped version of Safari, with no JS JIT, and thus three times slower. Multiply Safari's score there by three and you'll get an approximation of where third-party browsers on iOS place on that list.

Apple has made damn sure that no competitive alternative browser can exist on iOS.

Re:Huehuehuehue (1)

ravenlord_hun (2715033) | about a year ago | (#42203459)

All browsers on iDevices must use the WebKit engine. You may use a different "browser" but you always get the same engine.

Re:Huehuehuehue (5, Interesting)

ProbablyJoe (1914672) | about a year ago | (#42203475)

Mercury, and essentially every browser on iOS, is just a different UI on top of Safari. Obviously this allows for extra features, but limits how much can be done with them. Apple enforces this rule, and doesn't allow browsers which use a different rendering engine. Android doesn't have this limitation, which allows for a much larger variety of browsers, and much bigger gaps in performance. The same site did a similar test with iOS browsers, and the performance results were very similar, which isn't exactly surprising since they all use the same back end.

Re:Huehuehuehue (-1, Redundant)

catmistake (814204) | about a year ago | (#42203889)

Mercury, and essentially every browser on iOS, is just a different UI on top of Safari.

A lot of people repeating this cynicism, which is false. Safari is a webkit-based browser, but Safari != webkit. All third party iOS browsers are based on webkit, with webkit rendering engines, but they are not all merely re-skinned Safari. Is the desktop version of Chrome (another webkit-based browser) merely re-skinned Safari? Is Konquerer (yet another webkit based browser) merely re-skinned Safari? I think not.

Re:Huehuehuehue (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203605)

Copy paste from http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ios-web-browser-safari,3326.html

"That's right folks, they're all WebKit browsers. And not just different WebKit browsers like Chrome and Safari on the desktop, either, but complete mobile Safari clones. Think of third-party iOS-based Web browsers as Safari wearing different clothes. Sure, some of them have totally different syncing features, bookmark mechanisms, on-screen keyboards, and even user interfaces. But when it comes to a Web browser's primary function of rendering Web pages, they are all just re-spins of Apple's stock, default mobile Safari."

Apple HAS browser competition! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203329)

I'm running Chrome on both my iPad AND OS X box.

Re:Apple HAS browser competition! (1)

hsmith (818216) | about a year ago | (#42203375)

don't let facts get in the way of mindless hate

Re:Apple HAS browser competition! (2)

ravenlord_hun (2715033) | about a year ago | (#42203439)

Don't be an appletard either. Firefox was not developed because EVERY WEB BROWSER ON iDEVICES MUST USE THE WEBKIT ENGINE. Even Chrome - which means what you get as "Chrome" on iDevice is basically a webkit with a different look'n'feel. Basically: a skin.

Re:Apple HAS browser competition! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203489)

Chrome uses Webkit.

Everywhere.

Re:Apple HAS browser competition! (1)

ravenlord_hun (2715033) | about a year ago | (#42203521)

Everywhere? I didn't know the Nitro Javascript engine was disabled on my PC. (It is disabled on iOS.)

iOS WebKit != WebKit

Re:Apple HAS browser competition! (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about a year ago | (#42203541)

Dude. Seriously. Chrome used WebKit. He k google's page on Chrome under "Speed" => "Fast to load web pages".

Chrome is powered by the WebKit open-source rendering engine...

Re:Apple HAS browser competition! (1)

ravenlord_hun (2715033) | about a year ago | (#42204007)

Yup, a blunder on my part. I only remembered it's a different engine - the one Safari uses on iOS - but I forgot the original's called the same as well. Still: it's not the same as the "other" Chromes. No Nitro for one.

Re:Apple HAS browser competition! (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#42203567)

Why hasn't Firefox been developed for jailbroken iDevices?

Re:Apple HAS browser competition! (1)

CritterNYC (190163) | about a year ago | (#42203621)

Why would Mozilla invest the time and resources into a platform owned by a company that's completely hostile to competition and openness? Not to mention the small number of jailbroken iOS devices makes it a losing proposition. They could do it to prove a point, but that would be a very expensive point considering the effort to port Firefox to Objective C.

Re:Apple HAS browser competition! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203681)

Because there aren't any serious projects on jail broken devices.

Literally thousands of different icons, silly Siri mods, notification center mods. But there aren't a whole lot of fully featured programs that aren't just ports of Linux tools(with missing functionality).

That being said, I'm sure you could find the Firefox or chrome source somewhere if you would like to take on the project.

Re:Apple HAS browser competition! (3, Interesting)

CritterNYC (190163) | about a year ago | (#42203599)

Sorry, that's not Chrome. It's Safari with a Chrome skin, just like all the other "browsers" in the app store. And, like all Safari skinned browsers, it uses the purposely slower Safari rendering mode so that mobile Safari looks better. There is one exception in the app store, and that's Opera Mini. To get around this rule, Opera has a server farm in the cloud rendering pages and JavaScript and sending the results down to the Opera Mini clients. It's inefficient and doesn't work as well as a native browser, but it's the only way to "compete" with Apple. Oh yeah, and the whole Opera Mini client is designed for dumb phones that lack the power to run a real browser.

If Apple ever got a higher marketshare... (2)

ravenlord_hun (2715033) | about a year ago | (#42203331)

...they would get smacked around for the same anti-competition behaviour which hurt Microsoft during the XP days, forcing them to change this "One browser" approach (and maybe for other apps as well). In a sense, they are lucky their rather unusual philosophy - where instead of designing products to meet the demand, you shape the demand yourself - hit the wall before they became a monopoly.

Re:If Apple ever got a higher marketshare... (1)

Quakeulf (2650167) | about a year ago | (#42203519)

Wrong. Every politician with decision power have already blindly hopped on the i-bandwagon and will not want to oppose Apple in any way because, hey, it works, and it is not like they even want to have any insight on this matter.

Interesting, but not that useful (5, Interesting)

ProbablyJoe (1914672) | about a year ago | (#42203383)

While some of the results are interesting, I don't think this is a particularly good comparison. For a lot of the tests they said "This doesn't work on this browser, so we didn't include that test". Surely that should be a win for the browsers that DO support it, rather than just ignoring that feature. Personally, I'd care more that a browser can render more things, rather than if it can render some things a few seconds faster, but fail at others.

Not to mention, it completely ignores things like features, reliability, usability, security, etc, which are very varied between the different browsers. That's what I base my choice on anyway, and many that I've tried either crash, fail to load some pages, render pages incorrectly, or lack important features. Personally I find Firefox works best for me, but results would probably vary with different phones/OS versions, and some features are more important than others for different people

But hey, everyone loves benchmark numbers

Re:Interesting, but not that useful (1)

afidel (530433) | about a year ago | (#42203639)

Yep, the fact that Chrome on my phone syncs my bookmarks (and open pages!) with my other machines is a killer feature for me, as is the fact that with 1 click I can get the exact same site I would get in desktop Chrome. Firefox Fenec just eats too much ram for me, it basically pushes everything else out of ram on my current phone and on my previous phone with 384MB of ram would push out not only all user apps but would actually push out my launcher causing a 30+ second delay when I dropped back to the home screen. I loved Opera Mobile on my previous phones where the competition was the Gingerbread Browser and the Blackberry browser, but having a real browser with pinch/ambiguous touch zoom is much better. I guess if I had a limited data plan or wasn`t on WiFi 90+% of the time the Opera compression stuff would be interesting.

Re:Interesting, but not that useful (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#42204039)

When I choose a tool my question is whether it gets the job done for me for a reasonable cost, not whether other people like it or if the numbers are good. For instance, on the desktop i still use Camino . It is not going to be the best in terms of numbers, and there are things it can't do, but for everyday work it is good. And I have no problem keeping several browsers on my computer and switching when I need to. The right tool for the job and all that.

I do use Chrome, particularly when I use Google Docs for collaborative work, but there are use cases where Google fails, so it cannot be my primary Office Suite. MS Office does not provide good value for what I do, so although it would win any contest, I do not use it.

In terms of the iPad, I have tried other browsers but the numbers do not work for me. Safari is good enough and automagically syncs my bookmarks from my desktop. Yes, I know that other browsers will do this, but that is the major concern for me. Safari works.

This reminds me when people ask me why I shop at a store where the selection is not as great as another store. I say it is because I am not primarily concerned about selection. As long they have the stuff that I want and the quality that I want, I am happy. The other store may have stuff I occasionally need, but that does not mean I have to shop there all the time. I don't want more stuff, just nicer stuff, and I do not see that the other side of the fence always provides nicer stuff.

Ewww (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203385)

Android is the only mobile platform where browser competition is thriving.

The downside is you're stuck using Android. The former piss poor Blackberry OS clone turned iOS clone. Some of the phones have decent hardware yet are constrained by a piss poor OS that has the UI responsiveness that would make molasses dripping seem fast.

FF Mobile (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203387)

Well, FireFox mobile sucks donkey balls, so there's that.

And Opera has been virus farm for years.

Re:FF Mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42204013)

Downmod because it's true. FF on the desktop is the best browser out there -- FF mobile sucks balls. Anyone who tells you differently is trying to sell you something.

No other Ipad browser? (1)

busman (136696) | about a year ago | (#42203393)

then what do you call this that I use to browse the web?
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/atomic-web-browser-full-screen/id347929410?mt=8 [apple.com]

Re:No other Ipad browser? (1)

lord_mike (567148) | about a year ago | (#42203461)

Check again... If you run it, you'll see that it's basically using the Safari engine underneath it all. Not much of a difference.

Re:No other Ipad browser? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203503)

Or this?
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/puffin-web-browser/id406239138

I don't understand how this story got published -- it's not even close to true?

Re:No other Ipad browser? (1)

yacc143 (975862) | about a year ago | (#42203759)

Hint: yes. Apple only allows the browser competition to use the Safari browser (in a slower mode than by default, to add insult I guess), hence all these other browsers are slower than Safari (different mode), but offer in the end rather exactly the same rendering experience.

Re:No other Ipad browser? (2)

robmv (855035) | about a year ago | (#42203575)

Calling all iOS browsers different browsers is like calling all applications using the Internet Explorer engine different browsers. All iOS browsers are just a skin of the Apple embedded browser engine. If Apple does not enable WebGL for example on their browser, no other browser on iOS will have WebGL, simple as that, no ohter engine is allowed

Re:No other Ipad browser? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203587)

Clueless iSheep. All those "browsers" use Safari's rendering engine. It's just Safari with a different skin. That's all Apple allows for.

There are a few exceptions, like Opera Mobile where the rendering is done on Opera's server and sent to the phone, but that doesn't really count.

Firefox & ABP+ (5, Informative)

Luthair (847766) | about a year ago | (#42203427)

In my usage I've generally found Firefox with ABP installed to be much faster than Browser & Chrome. Its amazing how much snappier sites are on arm processors when they don't load ads, and as an added bonus accidental clicks are eliminated.

Dolphin is a fantastic browser... (2)

lord_mike (567148) | about a year ago | (#42203529)

..except that it's a major battery hog. Most of the third party browsers for Android are, with the notable exception of Chrome (which has gotten worse,lately) and Opera Mini (Opera Mobile still hogs battery big time). Even the "stock" browser that shipped pre-Jelly Bean sucked battery power, too. Battery drain is an important consideration in a mobile browser. Also, on this list, only Firefox mobile supports Flash at the moment. All the others either explicitly don't support external plugins or refuse to allow their use on JellyBean OS's.

Re:Dolphin is a fantastic browser... (1)

Spad (470073) | about a year ago | (#42203657)

It's not the browsers so much as the wireless/cellular data that's a battery hog and it's Adobe that don't support Flash on 4.x rather than anyone else.

Re:Dolphin is a fantastic browser... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203847)

This is true. You can test it by using a Bluetooth connection when browsing and using another device as Internet gateway. It uses way less power than usual browsing.

Wow, stock browser wins over FF/Chrome? Strange. (4, Informative)

Revotron (1115029) | about a year ago | (#42203617)

...and the stock Android browser coming out ahead of desktop favorites...

You mean, people are picking the stock browser over mobile versions of Firefox or Google Chrome? Wow. What could possibly be the meaning of this? Let's deconstruct it and find the real truth in all this...

Oh, here it is. It's a combination of No one cares and the mobile versions suck!

Firefox and Chrome may be competitive browsers in the PC realm, but in their transition to mobile platforms, they're bringing over all that bloat and feature creep and trying to cram it all into a small screen. My Android smartphone has acceptable (but not ideal) battery life when I use the mobile browser for quick things here and there, but when I've tried to use mobile FF/Chrome apps it drops like a rock. I suppose if you sit there tethered into the wall jack you'd be fine, but at that point, why not just whip out your laptop?

Default Android browser? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203619)

And here I thought Chrome was the default browser on Android devices. At least that's the way it is on my Nexus 7...

Chrome runs on iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203653)

This is mis-leading. I have been running chrome on my iphone for months.

Re:Chrome runs on iPhone (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#42203865)

This is mis-leading. I have been running chrome on my iphone for months.

Are you sure it's really Chrome, or just Safari in a suit made from Chrome's skin, ala Buffalo Bill?

Captain O to the Rescue! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42203817)

I must have missed something... It's surprising browsers specifically built for Android are beating out those who are just desktop Linux ports? The blue parts on a map is water (or, Antigua if you're using Apple maps)?

It's all Webkit (1)

amram9999 (829761) | about a year ago | (#42204019)

Unfortunately Webkit based browsers have 90% mobile market share, so there's little incentive for web developers to code for Firefox, Opera, etc.
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