The question is not what devices to buy now but what device to buy anytime. How do you choose what to buy, what is your decision process on device purchasing? Let’s imagine you have the opportunity to purchase a few devices – where do you begin?If you’re building out a new set of mobile phones and tablets to test, you might Google to find what base devices to start with but assuming you have some devices already – how do you make subsequent device decisions?
The Fragmented Android Market
The highly fragmented Android market poses a challenge when you try to determine what the “majority” of users are using. No question, Samsung devices are popular, but once you look past Samsung devices – the market splinters. In addition to the general Android marketplace, you probably review your specific app usage statistics to determine device coverage but you might find your app stats – like the general market stats – show a highly fragmented market. When usage is fragmented to dozens of devices there is an uncomfortable realization that despite considerable efforts, testing will not cover the same array of devices your customers are using. Imagine a scenario where your app device usage is so fragmented that your usage stats show pages and pages of devices each with 1 or 2 % usage.
Add to the device quandary the fact that the Android operating system usage is divided across operating system versions, and on top of that there are unique operating system “flavors” provided by some carriers. The same is not true with iOS.
For Android, you might pore over the usage stats multiple times and compare what users are using versus what you are able to acquire. You might look ahead at the Android market and hold back until a favored new phone is released. Or, you might pickup a couple of the current favorites while you can still find the phones. Either strategy makes sense as long as you realize the market is a continuing shift showcase, and you keep watch on both your budget and the marketplace.
Going through this same quandary less than a week ago, the decision process hovered over: Motorola, HTC, LG, and Sony devices until I also factored in what devices people on the team had – which provides some coverage availability. The final decision conclusion was based on the ability to purchase devices balanced with order of usage. After all, it is hard to argue purchases once the user share is in low numbers such as 1% but easier to advocate for: “we have no Motorola devices within the team.” Continue Reading →