Image credit: Ars Technica

When Google introduced Android 2.2, the company announced that one of the biggest changes was a new Just In Time (JIT) compiler which dramatically sped up Javascript performance. That means that most third party apps run faster on Android 2.2 than Android 2.1, and many web sites with Javascript elements render more quickly.

But how does Google’s latest mobile operating system stack up against Apple’s? The folks at Ars Technica ran a set of benchmarks on a Google Nexus One running Android 2.2 Froyo and an iPhone 4 running iOS 4. The results? The Nexus One won… by a wide margin.

In fact, the Nexus One performed almost twice as well using the SunSpider benchmark, and more than 3 times better in the V8 test.

It’s worth keeping in mind that the differences aren’t just due to the software. While the Nexus One and iPhone 4 both have ARM-based processors, they each use very different chips, with the Nexus One powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU and the iPhone 4 using an Apple A4 processor. And of course, Javascript isn’t the only performance measure that matters. But it looks like if you visit a lot of Javascript-heavy web sites in your mobile browser, Android 2.2 might be a better bet than iOS 4.

Update: Chippy at CarryPad ran the SunSpider test on an Aava prototype phone running MeeGo Linux. His socre came in at 4,215.2ms, trouncing both the Nexus One and the iPhone 4. Of course, the Aava also has a 1.5GHz dual core Atom processor. While Javascript doesn’t take advantage of multicore processors, it’s tough to say whether it was the fast CPU or the fact that the device was running MeeGo that gave the Aava prototype the edge.

Oh, and just for kicks, I ran SunSpider on my 2nd generation iPod touch running iOS. It scored 30,708 — almost three times slower than the iPhone 4. Clearly the CPU is at least as important as the operating system.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...