Friday, September 7, 2012

Android Bible Apps - Relative Speed

I am still working through the Bible apps I have on my Droid X. A common situation for me in using these is when I am in church and wanting to follow along with the lessons being read. I usually like to work in the Greek so I like to have the LXX and a Greek NT handy. One of my frustrations is when the app takes so long to load that I never can catch up with the reader. Even 10 seconds can seem like a long time... Given our liturgy, there is usually enough time between readings that my smartphone turns off, so I need to jump back in to the app. So, I conducted an unscientific test to see how long it takes to:
  • Tap the app to launch it
  • Exit and immediately relaunch the app
  • Switch to a new passage
  • Switch to another version (one that's been previously downloaded)
  • Switch back to the previous version.
I tried to make sure that nothing else was going on with the phone, and I ran the tests twice. The averages do basically confirm how it feels in real practice.

Do note, however, that there are lots of other factors involved that I do not include here.
  • CadreBible and MySword have very nice Parallel or Compare views, and Logos and Olive Tree allow for split screen views if you want multiple versions or languages displayed. For this test, I was just interested in getting to reading a text as quickly as possible. 
  • This test does not take into account how long it takes to navigate to a different version or passage. It's not (usually) a significant addition of time (except for Logos which does not have a recently used list), but some apps have better and faster ways of moving around. 
  • I have these different apps because I use them for different things, and each has different capabilities. Since I have a good Logos library, I tend to use it when I'm needing to do more in-depth work. So, the speed is probably also dependent somewhat on how many resources are included and the capabilities of the program.
  • Laridian's PocketBible is still in pre-release, and I only have a few versions to use with it.
I have my bottom line below, but here are my results. My color coding scheme is rather arbitrary, but it highlights the differences well enough. Green is best, yellow is average, red is slow. (Click on graphic to enlarge)

As you can see, there are significant differences in how fast each app works on my Droid X. As for me, especially for working with Greek, MySword is the clear winner. I don't have as many English versions in MySword, so if I'm wanting to look at the most English versions, I use YouVersion. It, however, does not have a good way to see multiple versions displayed together, and in that case, I'm back to MySword, CadreBible, Olive Tree, or Logos.

As usual, your own experience probably will vary. Updates to the apps are regularly coming which would likely change results. Still, 'speediness' is a factor developers should keep in mind as they work on their apps.

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