A lot has been made over the last couple of days of how Android renders HTML5 a lot slower than iOS. This comes as a revelation to absolutely no one. HTML5 development studio appMobi thinks it has a fix. At the Game Developers Conference today appMobi announced the availability of its directCanvas SDK for Android that promises refresh rates up to 10 times faster.
Android will eventually catch up in the HTML5 department. Chrome for Android will be a great step when more developers and consumers have Ice Cream Sandwich devices in hand. Sencha spent a lot of time improving Android performance in its release of Touch 2. appMobi now steps up with directCanvas for Android, which will be nearly identical to its iOS offering. For those not able to stop at appMobi’s booth at GDC, the company has provided ReadWriteMobile with beta access to the Android directCanvas SDK, check below for the details.
If you are unfamiliar with directCanvas, the simplest explanation is that it works like the standard HTML5 Canvas with superfluous functionality stripped away. Instead of making several n calls, it only makes the ones needed to render frames for the game or app that is running it. By stripping away extra ingredients directCanvas is lightweight and able to run faster.
The Android SDK for directCanvas supports Android 2.2. Froyo all the way through Android 4.01 Ice Cream Sandwich. That inherently means that it works for Honeycomb as well even though Honeycomb’s source code as never released (it is in the documentation of ICS). It also accelerates sound and physics calculations, just as the iOS version. appMobi released an update to directCanvas in December aimed at solving HTML5’s audio problems and that functionality is being baked into many f the product releases the company has this year.
Between appMobi and Sencha, Android’s HTML5 performance should drastically increase this year. In the HTML5 ecosystem each company is the ying to the other’s yang and put them together and each are pushing the entire environment forward.
The only way to get access to appMobi’s Android directCanvas SDK right now is to go to the company’s booth at GDC or, you know, visit ReadWriteMobile. Visit this site from your mobile device (http://appmobi.com/gdc/vip/) or scan the QR code below.
If you do try out the beta, let us know how well HTML5 for Android performs with directCanvas in the comments.