AnandTech benchmarked the iPhone 3GS, iPad and Google Nexus One device and found that the iPad is usually faster than the Nexus One, but the Nexus One also routinely beats the iPhone 3GS by significant margins. Other tests show that the iPad istwice as fast as the iPhone 3GS.
The tests were largely browser tests which is a fairly narrow focus. Anand promises more thorough test results soon. All three devices use a mobile Webkit variant and don't yet officially support Flash and were on the same Wifi connection. Here's the results he got:
This says a couple of things to me. Between the two devices that are in the same class, the Nexus One and the iPhone 3GS, it isn't even close. The Nexus One destroys the iPhone in browsing speed..and it has almost three times the pixels to render (320x480 vs. 480x800)
Clearly, Apple will be releasing a new iPhone in three months with a faster processor that will leapfrog the competition, but in the meantime, the Nexus One is the browsing champ.
HTC, the OEM that builds the Nexus One (and who Apple is currently suing over patents), has a few more phones coming out with the same 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon inside the Nexus One: The HTC HD2 (which runs Windows Mobile) and more importantly, the Sprint Evo 4G which also runs Android and is expected to be released around the time of the summer iPhone.
As for the iPad, I would have expected the it to beat both phones. It is much larger and can therefore accomodate a much bigger battery and faster components. It did. To compare it with phones less than a third the size seems a little unfair. A comparison to the JooJoo or other Intel based MID's would have been a little more informative.
There is something interesting about the iPad's speed, however. It was learned yesterday that the iPad uses the same ARM Cortex A8-level processor as the iPhone 3GS (running at 1GHZ vs. iPhone 3GS's 600MHz) with the same PowerVR graphics processing.
Interestingly, Google's Nexus One has an ARM Cortex A8 class (Scorpion) processor as well. But it doesn't have nearly the graphics horsepower as the Apple products. It uses an older ATI chipset vs. Apple's PowerVR chipsets from Imagination Tech.
So, figuring that most other things are equal, we can sort of conclude that a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon with ATI graphics performs about as well as a 800MHz Apple A4 chip with PowerVR, give or take.
That means that Apple, if it wants to take the browsing speed crown away from HTC/Google, will have to have its summer iPhone running an ARM Cortex A8 processor at over 800MHz. That doesn't seem undoable. In fact, I'd expect Apple to come out with a iPad-specced iPhone processor.
But even if Apple does do that, it won't last too long as the speed champ. The successor to the Snapdragon, the QSD8x50A, is clocked at 1.3GHz with 30% less power consumption and is due in the second half of 2010. That should line up well with the iPad's speed, if it doesn't surpass it.
That means Google phones will be going as fast as Apple's iPad and iPhone 4 (or whatever its called) by the end of this year.
Perhaps Apple should consider moving to bi yearly updates of its mobile units.