Android’s dirty little benchmark secret and why it won’t happen on the iPhone


Android has a dirty little secret — in order to win the title as the “fastest” Android device, the top handset manufacturers are using hardware and software tricks to artificially inflate benchmark scores. According to AnandTech, it’s not just one OEM, but almost all of them taking part in these shenanigans as they were rightly called by Apple’s own Phil Schiller. Thankfully, this is a scandal that won’t tarnish Apple’s reputation like it has Samsung’s, LG’s and HTC’s. Read on to find out why.

Apple is protected from this type of trickery because its tight control over both the hardware and the software that run on its devices. When a new iPhone is released, Apple is not competing against other phones running a similar OS. Apple is competing against itself by pitting the new iPhone against older iPhone models. Benchmarks are not relevant as it is expected that the iPhone 5s with an A7 processor will be faster than the iPhone 5 and its A6 processor.

Apple is also known for its laser-like focus on user experience and not hardware specs. The company often touts new hardware enhancements like TouchID, but its promotion focuses on how the technology will make your life easier or better. Detailed hardware specs are not important to Apple, and the company often neglects to list exactly what components are bundled into their phones. You often have to wait for iFixit to tear down a new iPhone before you can find out that the handset ships with 1GB of RAM. Hardware specs are not important and benchmarks are of little concern, so there is no reason for Apple to include code in iOS that pumps up the volume of the CPU when a benchmark app is running on the device.

Samsung, though, is part of a brave, new Android world, which is overly competitive and loosely regulated. Android is open source, and handset manufacturers can modify that code to suit their hardware. This allows them to create UI’s like TouchWiz and Sense; it also allows them to add in hacks that deceptively boost benchmarks as shown in the table below. To set their handsets apart from the mass of Android phones, manufacturers need to have the “best specs” or the “fastest performance.”  This emphasis on being the “biggest” or the “best” is what leads companies to tweak something here and add something there that’ll give them a competitive advantage. Thankfully, this is not part of the Apple ethos and hopefully won’t ever be.
Jump into to comments if you have something to add to this conversation about the insignificance of iPhone benchmarking and how Apple won’t go down the same deceptive path as Samsung and the other Android handset makers.

[Via AnandTech]