Performance Edge: Can The Little Taxi Make It Up The Hill - A Performance
Review Of The iCab Browser
You have no doubt heard of the new iCab browser for the Mac from a small German software company of the same name. iCab is a work in progress. It is currently in preview version, with scheduled final release in late summer to early fall. When it is finally released there will be both a pro version for $29 and a free version. It is inspiring to see a small software company go up against the behemoths of Netscape and Microsoft. How they plan to market themselves, as a niche player or real competitor, will be interesting to see. At the moment they have a very serviceable, if incomplete, browser. iCab has received a lot of buzz because of its small system resource footprint - the stuffed browser can fit on a floppy. Below we compare the iCab to the current browsers from Netscape and Microsoft in terms of System resource usage and performance.
For the performance tests below four tests were run on a iMac/233 over a Pacbell ADSL connection. Web graphics download, Web text download, complex Web page download and render, and downloading the Starwars trailer from Apple's Web site tests were run. The tests utilized a stopwatch and each test was run three times. Then the lowest score for each test was chosen. The Browser's caches were set to zero and the Browser was relaunched after each test. Scores are relative to the iCab browser which receives a score of 100%. Shorter bars are better.
Actual Download Times
Keep in mind that this is how iCab looks today and it may be somewhat different when it is in final release - we will take another look at that time.
The advent of the iCab browser brings some questions to mind:
1) How will it find a place for itself in the current browser market?
2) What will make users choose or switch to iCab
3) Will iCab remain small and light in future releases? (Remember Navigator started out that way as well and look at it now.)
It's a gutsy thing to spend time and resources to bring another browser to market at this time. We welcome another choice of browser, but wonder if iCab will turn out to be little more than a boutique browser relegated to be a niche player? What do you thnik - Does iCab have a chance? Post your ideas on our community bulletin board.