The State of JavaScript on Android in 2015 Is Poor

Jeff Atwood:

It seems the Android manufacturers are more interested in slapping n slow CPU cores on a die than they are in producing very fast CPU cores. And this is quite punishing when it comes to JavaScript.

This is becoming more and more of a systemic problem in the Android ecosystem, one that will not go away in the next few years, and it may affect the future of Discourse, since we bet heavily on near-desktop JavaScript performance on mobile devices. That is clearly happening on iOS but it is quite disastrously the opposite on Android.

Looking at a JavaScript benchmark, the fastest-known Android device today performed worse than an iPhone 5. That puts state-of-the-art Android performance three years behind iPhones.

It almost certainly is not because Chrome/Blink has worse JavaScript performance than Safari/WebKit — desktop benchmarks tend to show Chrome as being faster, if anything. I think the obvious answer is that the ARM chips used even in the highest-end Android phones are years behind Apple’s A-series chips in single-core performance. I don’t think it’s because Android manufacturers are cheaping out, as Atwood implies. I think it’s because Bob Mansfield’s team inside Apple is that far ahead of the rest of the industry.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015