Mobile

Startup shootout: How to hurt your mobile performance

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Editor’s note: Keynote Systems’ Startup Shootout Index provides some insight into the three-screen challenge now facing anyone with a web presence. It’s the first website performance index to measure load times and completion percentages on desktops, smartphones, and tablets simultaneously. VentureBeat is Keynote’s exclusive media partner, so we’ll be bringing you a fresh set of data from Keynote every month. See below for the full data set, click here to see a larger summary graph, and check out previous Startup Shootout results.

Papaya Mobile is a new name in the mobile and social gaming index and their response time results tell an interesting story. A desktop response time of 5.34 seconds is slow by industry standards. However, they’ve managed to match that speed on the iPad 2 (5.41 seconds) and have a very fast download on the iPhone 4 (2.11 seconds). Digging deeper, we see that their desktop site is quite heavy at approximately 1.7MB (the index average is 1MB), while their iPhone-optimized site is very light at 15KB (the index average is 500KB). Most interesting is that they are sending iPad users on one carrier (we’re measuring over AT&T and Verizon) to the iPhone site, while the others get the full, heavy site over a 3G connection. The average score of the combined download speeds reflects neither of the two experiences (fast on one carrier, slow on the other) and leaves us to wonder which site (the “light” version or the full one) Papaya intends on delivering to iPad users.

Papaya Mobile's performance on one carrier was much worse than on the other carrierTwo new names in the social retail index are Rue La La and Ideeli. Rue La La has a blazing-fast desktop speed at .93 seconds and a relatively fast iPhone 4 download as well, but sending five times more content to the iPad is leading to a fairly slow, 14.5-second download. A side-by-side comparison with Ideeli shows still a rather quick desktop experience (1.59 seconds) but Ideeli is slow on both the iPhone and iPad while sending different content to each device. While it’s clear that companies need a more specific strategies for the difference of delivery over three screens, it still doesn’t ensure a quick download unless performance goals are part of the plan.

Pinterest was added to the Social Networking group and they’ve single handedly brought down the collective scores of the category in availability. On the iPhone, using one of the two carrier networks we tested, Pinterest’s site was only available half of the time. Why the abysmally low availability? Pinterest often sends 5MB of data to iPhone 4 users on each network.  Keynote has also noticed that some issues with redirection to m.pinterest.com are also included in this factor.

Digital Entertainment sites continue to have the most consistent performers across all three screens with Spotify, Rdio and Turntable.fm setting the pace for the entire index.

Nisheeth Mohan is a senior product manager for mobile at Keynote Systems.