Nitrous Cydia Tweak Gives Chrome (And Other Non-Safari Web Browsers) A Speedy JavaScript Edge

You might have noticed that Chrome on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch is noticeably slower than Mobile Safari. That’s along with every web browser on iOS, even the browsers built into services like Facebook. Other web browsers don’t have access to the Nitro JavaScript engine, or any just-in-time compiler, because the feature could (in a non-secure application) also allow for the execution of arbitrary native ARM code. As a result, all browsers that aren’t Safari are usually around 2.5 times slower at JavaScript benchmarks.

Nitrous Cydia Tweak iOS

Nitrous is a Cydia tweak that enables the Nitro engine to work with other browsers. It’s actually not limited to Chrome, and will also work with the embedded browsers within Facebook and Twitter.

In case you’re wondering whether Nitrous really makes a dent in JavaScript performance, here’s the difference between Safari’s Sunspider benchmark test result and Chrome’s, on my third generation iPad: On Sunspider 0.9.1, Safari beats expectations and completes the benchmark calculations in just barely over a quarter of the time. The speed boost you will pick up from Nitrous should be noticeable on any page that makes heavy use of javascript.

Of course, there is a potential security risk involved in enabling other browsers to directly access ARM assembly code, especially since these browsers weren’t built with the knowledge that they would be kludged together with the Nitro engine. While the probability is low that any hacker will take the time to target iPhone users who are running Nitrous-enabled versions of Chrome, you might want to limit browsing in Nitrous to trusted sites – especially if you do banking through your phone.

Nitrous Cydia Tweak BigBoss $0.99

If you doubt that JIT technology makes a difference…

Nitrous can be found in the BigBoss repository and costs $0.99. The list of applications is in Settings along with the other Cydia extensions. Nitrous requires iOS 5 or higher.

Do you find that Chrome is, by default, too slow on your device? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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  • Azarel Howard

    Ah anyone got a twenty on this app? I can’t find it in Cydia. searching for Nitrous just yields “NOS Battery” Theme????? Has this been moved to another source or something?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Werner-Ruotsalainen/685558551 Werner Ruotsalainen

    It IS in BigBoss. I’ve purchased it; works flawlessly.

  • http://Michaelschnier.tumblr.com Michael Schnier

    Refresh Cydia. :)

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