The Device Purchase Quandry: How To Decide Which Devices to Buy for Mobile Testing

The question is not what devices to buy now but what device to buy anytime. How do you choose what to buy, what devicesis 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 →

Continue Reading

Catching Up! Interview with StarWest Contest Winner Cynthia Taylor

Last week I caught up with are StarWest contest winner Cynthia so she could tell me about her experience image1 (1)so far. Read some of my favorite quotes below or listen to the sound cloud to hear the entire interview!

1.When Cynthia explained why she liked the Disney location of the conference she stated:

“In all the other conferences I’ve gone to I’ve never really seen something like that where people can come here and be part of the family”.

 “They also had Les Honniball was here discussing how Walt Disney does  testing on their applications. Their website and mobile app grosses over 12 million dollars a month in revenue so they’re testing is incredibly important to their business”.

2. When Cynthia was discussing what she had learned:

“I went to a testing in the cloud panel  and they used the term bring your own device as bring your own disaster and it was really amusing in that regard because I’ve seen some situations where some people’s devices are disasters”.

3. When I asked Cynthia about the future of testing:

“They were talking about movement towards automated testing which has been a huge theme. Almost every single panel I’ve been to has talked about how automated testing is here and is not going away”.

“Shifting left to working more with developers and testing with them, and also shifting right to work more with customer service”.

“Walt Disney has switch from being 60% manual + 40% automated last year to 60% automated and 40% manual this year so that’s a big change.”

4. When I asked Cynthia who her biggest role models are: 

“The personal role model for me in my family would probably be my dad. My dads always been a huge supporter of me. He’s always been a tinkerer too so he’s always been someone who’s encourage me”.

 “I have very fond memories of breaking down door nobs for the brass when I was 12 years old  so he’s never been one to shy me away from science at all”.

” Within the gaming industry there’s someone that I really love that’s not with us anymore  his name is Paul Steed he was the creative director behind Quake. I know a lot  of people still use a lot of the same methods that he employed in the industry”


For more info on Cynthia check out her presentation that won her the contest!

If you want to find out more about what’s going on at StarWest read this description of the Key Note speakers and check out the top tweets so far! 

Continue Reading

Stagefright: The Persistent Bug in Android’s Antenna

Courtesy of

We all know that if all life on earth were to end due to a nuclear catastrophe, cockroaches would go on living. They would persist in the post-nuclear world. Resilient, robust, and unyielding, these bugs will just not die. It seems as if we have found software testing’s equivalent in Stagefright. Stagefright is a group of software bugs that have been affecting Android phones 2.6 or higher for the past few months. The bug was first discovered back in July, a vulnerability in Android’s software that could be accessed and exposed through a SMS message on Android devices. This vulnerability affected almost a billion devices and after extensive work, Google was able to patch this vulnerability (twice) and move on.

Now, Stagefright 2.0 is back, and it’s even more malicious and nasty this time around. Instead of being accessed through an SMS message, 2.0 can exploit a similar vulnerability through innocuous MP3/4 files. These files can be stored in apps, which means that simply avoiding free music or movies on your phone doesn’t guarantee your security.


The issue with Stagefright isn’t the bug itself; it’s what it represents. And what Stagefright is bringing to light is that Android has a serious security issue that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. Issuing patches and updates months after media has reported on software vulnerabilities displays an inexcusable lack of attention to security concerns. Because Android is not addressing critical security flaws preemptively, they are giving bugs the opportunity to evolve and become immune to the patch or update that is released. Similar to how antigens evolve to make antibody treatment ineffective, Stagefright and bugs like it are given an opportunity to evolve through Android’s mishandling of critical security vulnerabilities.

This begs the question: Why is Android having such a hard time addressing these security concerns? The answer stems in part from the biggest advantage Android has over its competitors: Its diversity. The massive fragmentation of Android devices has given its users free reign and essentially unlimited choice in device, price, and features. However, this fragmentation leads to an upward battle in maintaining and creating exceptional security measures. While this diverse field of devices offers individuals unlimited freedom in choice, it limits how much Android can control their security. This weakness has been exploited again and again, with Stagefright the most recent and malicious example so far.

This graphic illustrates the increasing fragmentation of devices running Android OS

Android has built a mobile empire based on the diverse and varied options available to consumers. Security is becoming more important and hackers are looking to exploit any weakness they can find within software. Unless Google can regain some semblance of control over its OS, Stagefright will carry on, resilient, robust, and unyielding; a persistent bug in Android’s antenna.


Related Reads

Worst Week Ever: Major Security Flaws Hit iPhone and Galaxy Smartphones

Testing for Security With the Internet of Things

How to Test for Security in the Cloud

Continue Reading

What does having a Universal Platform Mean for Windows 10? Our Guest Blogger Answers

As part of our weekly Microsoft discussion, one of our guest bloggers, Cliff Kavanagh, let us know his thoughts on what a universal platform means for Windows 10. Here are his words on the subject:

As the battle for smartphone supremacy continues to wage, it has more or less become a battle between two behemoths: Apple and Google. Apple’s iOS has long won over those seeking a Gradient-windows-10-continuum-01streamlined OS that “just works,” while Google’s Android has been a favorite amongst those who want a more open ecosystem and flexibility in choosing which manufacturer and device they’ll adopt. Microsoft, on the other hand is about ready to release their latest mobile OS, and with the acquisition of Nokia’s mobile division – new Microsoft branded Lumia handsets. Could Microsoft’s Windows 10 Mobile change the game?

One of the key goals Microsoft has been chasing is a unified operating system, and universal applications. The groundwork was laid with Windows 8 on desktop and mobile, and with Windows 10 Microsoft is attempting to deliver an even better experience no matter which device you’re using. They’re doing it with technology they call Continuum.

One of the most exciting features of Windows 10 mobile will be the ability to connect a keyboard, mouse and monitor and have a Windows experience that’s not far from a true desktop computer. Imagine, you arrive at the office to complete some reports and prepare a presentation but instead of using a desktop computer or even a laptop, you pull your phone out of your pocket and set it on a small dock. Instantly the phone recognizes the dock and shows you a desktop environment that looks and acts like a Windows 10 desktop. Even better, the Microsoft Office apps on your phone scale and act just like their full desktop counterparts. Being connected and working doesn’t interrupt the functionality of the phone either. A user can be working in PowerPoint using Continuum, and still receive or make phone calls or text messages. When it’s time to go, there’s no need to power down a desktop, or slip a laptop into a briefcase – you simply pick up your phone and go.

The experience Microsoft is aiming to provide with Windows 10 Mobile is more than just another mobile operating system; it’s a re-invention of the mobile platform.

Related Content

Previous Blog Posts

Microsoft Sub-Community Sign Up Form

Microsoft Forums


Continue Reading

Meet the Women Who Test Key Note Speakers

Now thatWomen Who Test  has officially happened. Learn more about all of the key note speakers and how they benefited the women testing community!
In order of speaking are the women, the name of their speech, and a description brought to you by StarWest and the uTest Community.

Jaimee NewberryWWT1 Design Your Life

Jaimee Newberry, SWINGSET, Inc.

After more than 15 years of pouring her soul and passion into making empathetic and engaging products and product teams for some of the world’s most recognized brands, and absolutely loving her work, Jaimee hit a rock-bottom career burnout. Something she never expected would happen. In finding her way back, she began to explore what might happen if she put that same dedication she had poured into the products she made into her own life as if her life were the product she was designing and she learned some fantastic, useful skills along the way that made her life, her work and how she felt about her work, better than ever. No matter where you may be in your career, Jaimee’s insight and experience will guide us through some familiar production processes and show us how we can turn those processes and techniques we know from the work we do every day into useful thinking and practices we can fold into our day-to-day routines to help prevent job burnout, maintain the love for what we do, and continue to grow better than ever. Learn more about Jaimee Newberry.

Melissa Benua

WWT2 When You’re the Lone (Female) Voice of Reason

Melissa Benua, PlayFab, Inc.

With software engineering still dominated by men, it is not uncommon for women to find themselves alone on a team of men. Those who are test-focused can find themselves in the awkward position of not only being the sole woman in the ship room, but with the tough job of telling her peers they are not ready to go to production. Melissa Benua has spent many years as the lone female voice speaking up for code quality at companies both big and small. Learn from her experiences on how to be heard and taken seriously, with tips on how to be “the woman” without making the job about being female, how to avoid common traps in team situations, and how to improve your team’s attitude toward test. Melissa walks through how to use an organized, data-driven approach to remove the ‘intimidation factor’ from the process of advocating for code quality in a team-based setting.Learn more about Melissa Benua.

Dawn Haynes

WWT3 The Power of Collective Experience

Dawn Haynes, PerfTestPlus, Inc.

Bring your biggest challenges to this session and tap the wisdom of others. In this immersive session, you will tackle some of the most widely mentioned challenges brought to light from the group. Whether it’s a software testing conundrum, a project setback, a management blocker, a group or team dysfunction or an interpersonal hurdle, all of these can slow our progress and reduce our effectiveness.  And when we hunt for options, we all have blind spots and biases that prevent us from thinking out of the box and finding new and different solutions. Typically the best ideas come from collaborating with others – so let’s take your challenges out for a spin!

We will engage in small group brainstorming sessions to generate ideas and approaches for managing, mitigating or solving problems. But brainstorming isn’t enough. Each group will dig in and evaluate their ideas by thinking about implementing them, considering possible blockers and suggesting ways to handle them. Every participant should leave with at least one idea or an entire action plan for targeting a significant challenge they are facing today.

Your session leaders will be available to assist, facilitate questions, provoke thinking and provide suggestions throughout the entire workshop, but the real power is in the group! Bring your challenges, ideas, experiences, positive energy, an open mind, and be prepared to work!Learn more about Dawn Haynes.

Lawdan ShojaeeTania Katan, Axosoft                       Tania Katan                                                        Lawdan Shojaee, Axosoft                        

WWT4 It Was Never A Dress: How agile methodology inspired a project management software company to start a BIG conversation about women in technology and beyond!

In an effort to break down barriers and shift perceptions of women in technology—and all spaces—Axosoft used their tech superhero powers of collaboration, cross-functionality, and agility to offer up a radically reimagined women’s bathroom symbol. This new symbol has started an international conversation that is picking up STEAM! Since the campaign launched just one month ago, it has generated over 18 million impressions, received attention from every major media outlet, and is funding a scholarship at Arizona State University for a need-based student entering a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) field.

In this lively talk, not one, but…TWO Axosoft superheroes, Lawdan Shoajee, CEO of Axosoft and Tania Katan, the instigator behind the #ItWasNeverADress campaign, shares tips for artful disruption inspired by agile methodology!Learn more about Tania Katan and Lawdan Shojaee.

Alison Wade

WWT5 Panel–Career Superpowers

Alison Wade, Software Quality Engineering

Let’s discuss and define the most important career superpowers for women.  Hear what industry professionals, leaders, and idea disruptors think the important career superpowers are for women in 2015 and going forward.

Panel: Jaimee Newberry, the Founder of SWINGSET, INC., Lawdan Shojaee, the CEO of AxoSoft, Tania Katan, the Curator of Code at AxoSoft, and Melissa Benua, Senior Backend Software Engineer at PlayFab, Inc. Learn more about Alison Wade.

Jennifer Bonine

WWT6 Building your Personal Brand for Success

Jennifer Bonine, tap|QA, Inc.

Building the rightpersonal brand is one of the critical success factors in today’s workplace. Organizations develop a brand and image, but not many individuals think about their personal brand and how it can affect their career. As we interact with people, we want to influence them to support our efforts—approving projects, budgets, and funding; supporting our next career move; or recommending us for that promotion or raise we want.  As a professional, it is critical to understand how you are being perceived by your “target audience.” During this interactive session Jennifer shares ideas on building your brand, mastering politics, reading your colleagues’ and bosses’ perspectives—all techniques that get the results you want. She presents a toolkit for creating your personal brand, changing perceptions in the organization to ensure successful interactions with others, and improving your ability to achieve your career goals.  Any professional with career aspirations should be actively shaping her brand and career. Leave this session with a clear idea of your brand, how to continually re-invent that brand as your career and aspirations evolve,  a start on your personal brand statement, and tips for networking effectively to promote your brand.Learn more about Jennifer Bonine.

Continue Reading

Winning Testers of the Quarter for Q3, 2015!

We have yet again wrapped up another successful quarter here at uTest, and it goes without saying that our success badgeTesterOfQuarteras a company is largely dependent on the performance of our testing community. These awards are handed out in order to recognize members that have consistently performed above and beyond what is expected of them, whether that be as a tester, TTL, or forums contributor.

Although these awards are voted on democratically, there are always deserving uTesters that are passed over. With that being said, this month’s winners include a lot of familiar faces, and it is nice to see that past winners have decided not to slow down or to rest on their laurels! And now, the moment you’ve been so eagerly waiting for has arrived: I present to you the Q3 2015 Testers of the Quarter.

Outstanding Forums Contributors

Josh Few, United States

David Shakhunov, United States

Cliff Kavanagh, Canada

Outstanding TTLs

Linda Peterson, United States

Outstanding Testers, TTLs’ Choice

Cheryl McCarthy, United States

Alex Kovynev, Ukraine

Outstanding Up & Comers, TTLs’ Choice

Patrick Cullen, Ireland


From everyone on the Community Management team, congratulations to this quarter’s winning testers!


Related Content

Winning Testers for Q2

Winning Testers for Q1

Winning Testers for Q4 2014

Continue Reading

What does having a Universal Platform Mean for Windows 10?

Microsoft finally has decided to unify criteria and have created a universal platform with Windows 10.UP

The new OS version is adapted depending on the device that is running; a PC, a smartphone, a tablet or an XBox.This is a big step for the software giant and of course, it is seen as a big advantage for users and developers alike.

On one hand, users have the same applications on any device as there is a common application store. That’s a big advantage for users because we can use and synchronize all applications on all devices, all interconnected devices without compatibility problems. Furthermore, this can facilitate our lives in many ways. For example, changes we make in one file that we have synchronized will be displayed on any device, with the latest version available. Applications that allow interaction with all devices simultaneously is a huge resources for users!

This is also, of course, a major step up for developers. To create an application that works on any device with the installed platform reduces costs, as software developers do not have to create the same application for four different devices.

With the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft will pit its own technology ecosystem against fierce competition that is suffering with Google and Apple.

Perhaps with these changes, Microsoft may be able to hike it’s Windows phone sales and rise to the challenge that Google and Apple present.

Special thanks to guest blogger Moises Pujadas for this week’s post!

Related Content


Sub-Community Sign-Up Form

Continue Reading

AR Apps Hint at Future of Testing

In a recent article written in August, we looked at the future of Augmented Reality testing as shown by the company Leap Motion. In that article, we suggested that there may be more and more Augmented Reality technologies permeating our day to day lives. In a shorter period than expected, this prediction seems to be coming true. In this past article, we mused on the possible commercial applications of AR:

…Interior Design and Architecture: Imagine shopping online, where you see a chair you think would look nice in your living room. Now you select that chair, and implement it into your living room, virtually. You can put it wherever you want and decide if you like it. The days of sketches and mock ups are numbered as AR continues to develop.” – Ben Forster

Now, a furniture company that is pushing its tech presence has been developing an app that may redefine the Interior design industry. Not only does this company, Tylko, produce a large range of furniture, its app is beginning to allow individuals to design their own furniture and implement it in their house through AR technology.

This increasingly integrated technology offers many opportunities for the testing community and may open new doors for testers in unique environments. We may be looking at a future where your actual physical environment will determine your ability conduct testing. Some companies may want people living in apartments with small rooms; others may want to test in large homes with spacious rooms to determine that Augmented Reality technology can work in all sorts of physical environments.

With new technology comes all new ways to test it! The continued advancement of Augmented Technology makes the future of the testing industry even brighter. Have thoughts or opinions on the future of Augmented technology? Let us know by logging and and engaging in the forums!


Related Reads

AR Offers Glimpse of the Future

Move Over Hackers, Testers Have Joined the Party

Augmented Reality in Real Life

Continue Reading

Practice Makes Perfect: The uTest Open Testing Series

Did you hear? uTest is launching a new program known as the Open Testing Series, designed to give inexperienced testers a chance to have their bugs reviewed by top members of the community, risk-free. We had gotten feedback that many new testers were finding it difficult to gain the experience necessary to increase their tester ratings and earn more paid project invitations, so we started this series to help with both of those goals.9_29_CALM

Testers who submit highly valuable bugs in the Open Testing Series will be invited to a test cycle within the platform, where they can submit their approved work for a ratings boost. We feel this is a great opportunity for new members to see what high-value bugs look like, and to receive instant evaluations of their work from testing veterans.

We plan on posting a new project every Wednesday, so don’t worry if you can’t find the time to participate this time around. If you’re interested in checking out this new feature of the uTest Community, please follow this link.

Happy testing!

Continue Reading

Meet the STARWEST Keynote Speakers

STARWEST Timeline (3) (1)As we know, each year STARWEST brings together the brightest minds in the QA testing industry to share their professional experiences. This year there will be presenters who have worked with brands such as Techwell, Dragonfire inc., Professional Testing, and Microsoft. Whether you are gearing up to go to the conference, or just following from home, here is your list of keynote speakers this week, brought to you by STARWEST and the uTest Community.



bj rollison- image

Bj Rollison – Testing Mentor

Bj began his 25 plus years in testing at Microsoft, having numerous leadership roles including the Test Architect position where he helped train over 5,000 testers. He now teaches test automation at numerous universities. His first presentation will be Monday at 1 pm covering the high-volume combinatorial test automation and his second on Wednesday at 8:30 am reflecting on what matters in testing, from the past to the present.


Monday @ 1 pm

Wednesday @ 8:30 am

 Paul Gerrard

Paul Gerrard – Gerrard Consulting Ltd.

Paul’s career has found him in a range of experiences in the ways of a consultant, author, teacher, programmer, webmaster, and publisher. He  specializes in test assurance and is no stranger to the keynote speaking stage, frequently contributing to testing conventions. The 2010 EuroSTAR Testing Excellence Award winner will discuss testing the internet of everything on Wednesday at 11 am.


Wednesday @ 11 am


Lee copeland

 Lee Copeland – TechWell

With over thirty years as an information systems professional at non-profit and commercial companies, and author of “A Practitioner’s Guide to Software Test Design”, Lee has become one of the most highly regarded speakers at US testing conferences. On Tuesday at 8:30 am he will lead his first of three keynote presentations discussing the fundamentals of test design. His second will come that same day at 1 pm where he will explain pairwise testing in depth, and his final appearance will be at 4:15 pm Wednesday where he will participate in the Lightning Strikes discussion.


Tuesday @ 8:30 am

Tuesday @ 1 pm

Wednesday @ 4:15 pm

 Janet Gregory

Janet Gregory – DragonFire Inc

As the co-author of Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams and an agile testing coach and practitioner, Janet specializes in showing how teams can transition into agile development. She will look to bring her expertise teaching testing courses and tutorials to the big stage Thursday, when she will challenge the way testers and managers think about their practice at 8:30 am.


Thursday @ 8:30 am


Bart Knaack 

Bart Knaack – Professional Testing

Bart has held various positions in his twenty-plus years in testing, including but not limited to Test Manager, Test Data Management Team Lead, and Process Improvement Agent. In 2009 he co-founded the TestLab in the STAR conferences and is a frequent speaker at conferences and universities. Monday at 8:30 am he will explain six essential skills for modern testers, with his second keynote coming Thursday at 4:15 pm when he will talk about a guide to live by for testers and test managers.


Monday @ 8:30 am

Thursday @ 4:15 pm



Related Content

STARWEST 2014 top tweets

Interview with Alison Wade –  President of Conferences, Training, and Consulting at Techwell

STARWEST 2015 forum

Continue Reading

How will Testing Change in the Year 2020? by Cynthia Taylor: The STARWEST Giveaway Winner


This past summer we ran an amazing contest, a chance to go to the coveted testing event, StarWest in sunny California. STARWEST is the premier test & QA event — with 100+ learning & networking opportunities in Anaheim, CA from Sept 27–Oct 2. The grand prize was $5,000 worth of event tickets, hotel, food, and flight stipend. As the entries started to pile in, the community team had a tough time choosing just the right entry that would take only one lucky tester to the event.  After we locked it down to the top 5, we opened the judging up to the testing community and were able to finally put a name to a winner.

This year’s 2015 winner was, Cynthia Taylor. Her presentation really topped the charts and made us in community think deeper on how much testing will change in the next 5 years, the question is, are we ready for it- YOU BET WE ARE!!! Below is a SlideShare of Cynthia’s presentation along with an image and bio. Get ready to know who is attending and say hello to Cynthia and uTest if you plan to attend the event.cynthia 2


There’s no other way for me to write this, I’m a uTest success story. Two and half years ago, I joined uTest after spending nearly a year as a Chromebook Specialist for Google’s inaugural retail launch. Google Engineers encouraged us to use “canary” level builds and gave us a simplistic walkthrough of how to write and submit a bug report. This partnership between vendor and developer was my first real taste of what it was like to work on a quality assurance team. So when I moved on to representing Samsung, I turned to uTest as a way to grow my testing skills: learning the basics of QA testing, the industry, and it’s tools. As my background in mobile hardware and software grew, uTest continued to help me develop skills and experience I needed to stand out in the QA industry. I’m happy to announce this this past February I was hired to Electronic Art’s Baton Rouge studio as their Mobile Support Manager. It’s been one of my life-long dreams to join the interactive media industry, and I have uTest to thank for that.- Cynthia Taylor quotations



For more details on the presentation below click here.



Related Content

STARWEST: Women Who Test

Q&A with Alison Wade: President of Conferences, Training & Consulting at Techwell & Founder of Women Who Test

STARWEST 2015 Event Discussion

Continue Reading