Benchmarks run by Spaceport.io show that HTML5 runs "six to ten times slower" on smartphones than on "a modern laptop" -- in this case, a MacBook Pro with an Intel Core i7 processor. "Repeated tests, using a variety of animation techniques, show that while modern iOS and Android smartphones can handle simple HTML5 games like blackjack and Scrabble, complex games and applications are much further down the road," says Spaceport.
The best smartphones, an Apple iPhone 4S and a Samsung Galaxy S2, ran HTML5 6x and 10x slower than the Mac laptop. However, "on average, the smartphones tested ran 889x slower than a laptop, with some running HTML5 thousands of times slower," says the company.
Spaceport.io, which sells a software platform for social gaming, presented its results yesterday (Monday 21 May) at the second Annual HTML5 Game Developer Conference in San Francisco. However, the technologies tested by its PerfMarks benchmark -- Canvas drawing, CSS 3D transforms, WebGL etc -- are used in other web-based applications.
HTML5 and its associated technologies are seen as the best hope for dealing with an increasingly fractured mobile and web-based market. As the Spaceport PerfMarks Report II (PDF) concludes:
"The problem is that on desktop and laptop computers, the Flash Player plug-in is effectively universal and provides a high performance, cross-platform experience. Thus, HTML5 is not so desperately needed on the desktop web. It's the mobile platforms, where Flash Player is not available, that so desperately need HTML5 and sadly, it is exactly these platforms where performance is still very lacking."
Spaceport.io founder Ben Savage says: "Although HTML5 is getting faster over time, the performance on mobile devices and browsers is still sorely lacking for the development of more complex applications."