Cloud streaming app provider Agawi has released the results of its testing of a variety of multi-touch mobile devices for responsiveness.
Agawi’s tests are designed to measure the ‘minimum app response time’ (MART) for each mobile device. This represents the best response time you can expect to see between the time when you touch the device and the app responding. This is a distinct issue from the more widely discussed differences in audio latency between mobile devices.
The researchers found the iPhone 5 responds more than twice as fast as any Android and WP8 device they tested:
These results have several implications for mobile musicians.
First, the touchscreens on iOS devices are significantly more responsive than on other platforms. This could help deliver a better ‘feel’ in multitouch music apps.
Second, 55ms is a best-case scenario, so demanding music apps are likely to respond more slowly. This may be a contributing factor that helps determine the ways musicians user multi-touch devices.
More research would be welcome in this area – and also comparing the latencies introduced by the touchscreen, vs wired and wireless controllers that musicians use with mobile devices.
iPhone Apps ‘Will Simply Feel More Responsive’
Here’s what the researchers have to say about their results:
At a MART of 55ms, the iPhone 5 is twice as responsive as any Android or WP8 phone tested. All the Android devices’ MARTs fell in the same 110 – 120ms range, with the WP8-based Lumia 928 falling into that bucket as well.
There are several possible reasons for this. Since touchscreen hardware has significant latency itself, our best guess is that Apple’s touchscreen hardware is better optimized or more sensitively calibrated for capturing and processing touch. Another possibility is that while the Android and WP8 code are running on runtimes (Dalvik and CLR respectively), the iPhone code is written in closer-to-the-metal Objective-C, which may reduce some latency.
Regardless of the reasons, the conclusion is clear: the best written apps on iPhones will simply feel more responsive than similar apps on the current gen of Android devices.
Agawi plans to open source the hardware and software used in its testing, so that others can replicate their results, improve their methodology and use the tools to improve the responsiveness of mobile apps.
Check out the results of their research and let us know what you think!