Chrome vs Safari - Who Will Be The Mobile Browsing King?

chrome vs safari

It’s not really a secret that 25-34 year olds have the highest smartphone penetration in the market. They are the class that is most likely to use these devices for productivity, and they usually have employment to pay for the contracts to buy the phones in the first place.

Data from the Pew Research Center says that Android has finally eclipsed the iPhone as the user’s phone of choice. It is only a matter of time before the Safari browser loses its place as the dominant Web browser for smartphone users.
The iPhone experienced its biggest surge in market dominance during February of 2012, but this year is the year of Android with the green bot taking 28-percent of smartphone market share vs Apple’s 25-percent. That’s huge for Google’s Chrome browser, which now sits at number three beneath Safari and Android’s default browser.

To put things into perspective, Google Chrome usage has seen growth on Androids each quarter since the end of 2011. While Chrome gains a steady one percent per quarter, Safari seems to hemorrhage users at a pace almost equal to that growth. Is Chrome on track to become the smartphone owner’s browser of choice?
Part of the reason for Chrome’s upswing is that its user experience is better than what the iOS browser offers. The Safari browser works, meaning it’s a mobile browser with standard capabilities and...that’s about it.

On the other hand, Chrome supports the latest Web standards, choosing to adapt rather than dictate the landscape of the Internet. Features like the ability for full-screen landscape that took six iterations to add to Safari have been a part of Chrome since day one. Google made tabs simple for users to interact with, and Chrome accounts allow someone to take desktop browsing on the go in a seamless environment.

Chrome is also more supportive of developers who might not have resources to invest in native applications during launch. Hooks like “requestAnimationFrame” keep the browsing experience fast, while standards and API’s simplify the development process. Apple, meanwhile, is notorious for its walled garden policies and lack of transparency with respect to developers.

Why Numbers Matter

Hardware statistics might also account for Safari’s current yet ebbing dominance in the market. Simply put, if iPhone is the dominant phone then Safari will be the dominant browser because it is the default application.

Until recently, Apple has had a fairly firm hold on the market, but since Google released Jellybean and tablet production increased, this grip has started to loosen. More efficient usage of smartphone GPUs and an operating system that received a visual overhaul are responsible for the change. Chrome shows off that elegance by rendering sites in flawless HTML5 and CSS3.

Google needs to make Chrome the default browser for Android and ditch its Web browser altogether. The Android browser is functional, but Chrome’s speed makes it seem obsolete. In essence, Google is competing with itself.

Remove Android’s browser from the equation and that 20% market share will go directly to Google’s Chrome. Firefox mini is not even on the radar, leaving Safari as the only other competitor to Chrome’s dominance. Apple’s iCloud can offer wireless syncing, but Chrome’s user accounts feature provides a cohesive browsing experience everywhere you go on a wide variety of devices.

As we become more data-driven and connected, the ability to make our work mobile will become increasingly important. With Chrome on Android’s range of devices the underdog Google is set to come out stronger than ever before in the years ahead.

About the Author: James is the Development Community Manager at Injekt, an open platform for third party app developers. An avid designer and coder since he was 12, James writes and curates topics on both basic web development and advanced languages with a particular focus on mobile. Connect with James on Twitter and Google+