Why, yes, yes they can.
“We compared these findings with that of our tests of Apple’s mobile Safari browser on the iPhone 4,” explained Ryan Paul of Ars.
However, Richard Lai of Endgadget cautioned that “numbers alone” don’t always “reflect” real-life performance.
“So [Engadget] went ahead and conducted [its] own browser speed [race]. Our test candidates were a 16GB iPhone 4 and a Nexus One rocking the official OTA 2.2 update and Flash 10.1,” wrote Lai.
“Out of the five desktop-version websites that we tested for load time, three of them – BBC News, gdgt and The Onion – repeatedly produced a tie between the two phones, whereas the iPhone 4 consistently loaded Engadget about two to three seconds faster, and the Nexus One about one to two seconds faster with New York Times.”
Unsurprisingly, Android performance increased significantly with Flash uninstalled.
“[Without Flash], the Nexus One consistently loaded Engadget, New York Times, gdgt and The Onion a tad quicker than the iPhone 4, whereas BBC News produced a tie.
“Still, this is far from the massive performance jump that Ars Technica’s benchmarks suggest (not that we’re saying the site did it wrong), but for now it does look like Android’s just about won this two-man race.”
“The [stats] suggest that Froyo may be significantly faster on the Web then Apple’s latest platform and browser.
“Since this class of smartphone [emphasizes] web access as a primary purpose, the performance advantage puts the new iPhone at a competitive disadvantage against current generation Android offerings.”