18,796 Android Devices: Developers and Testers Worse Off?

android_fragment_transparent-264x300Apple has always prided itself on a sleak, sexy, streamlined experience. Moreover, this is one same experience that the user on his iPhone 4 in the United States may very well be sharing with that iPhone 4 in India.

Now take a look at Android. He’s kind of the sloppy guy at the wedding that decided to wear shorts and sandals. But this operating system of the Big Two has always embraced this different and defiant but sloppy lifestyle, with a customized experience on each device that’s as unique as a snowflake.

However, as of late, Android has recently taken this very un-Apple business model to an extreme. According to PC Magazine, there are now approximately 18,796 unique Android devices in-the-wild. And this number has jumped a whopping 60% in just one year from just over 11,000.

So with this proliferation of Android devices floating around, has the experience for Android testers and developers become that much more of a horror show full of challenges? We’d like to hear from you in the Comments below.

The 10 Hottest Devices for Mobile App Testing

mixedTesters within our community often want to know on which devices they should be testing. Concurrently, developers also want to know where their beautiful creations should be given the most love.

Thankfully we have a magical data team that can take any request we throw their way, and give us such statistics on the hottest devices requested by our customers.

We sent such a request over to our trusty data team, and magically (for me, anyways, as an English/Communications major), they came back with this list of the 10 most tested mobile devices at uTest. The criteria for this data were the devices (both phones and tablets) on which the most bugs were filed in the past 30 days. Here’s the top 10 in order of popularity:

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Throwback Thursday: The 14.4k Modem

Every Thursday, we jump into the Throwback Thursday fray with a focus on technology from the past, like the 14.4k modem. These days, we get a little cranky when we can’t stream a two-hour HD movie from Netflix. When this happens to me, my internal dialog sounds a bit like: “How dare you, Internet, for making me watch this in standard definition! What is this, 1991?!”

We are, in fact, throwing it back to that exact year when the 14.4k modem was released.  14k_modem

A dial-up modem, for those of you who have never owned/used/seen/heard one, was the analog way to connect to the web. The word modem stands for modulator-demodulator. According to Wikipedia, it “is a device that modulates an analog carrier signal to encode digital information and demodulates the signal to decode the transmitted information. The goal is to produce a signal that can be transmitted easily and decoded to reproduce the original digital data. Modems can be used with any means of transmitting analog signals, from light emitting diodes to radio. A common type of modem is one that turns the digital data of a computer into modulated electrical signal for transmission over telephone lines and demodulated by another modem at the receiver side to recover the digital data.”

If you were using a modem at home, it typically connected through your phone line, thus making it impossible to surf the web and talk to anyone at the same time. Surfing the web with a dial-up modem took dedication and lots of alone time. It was especially great when I was waiting forever for a web page to load and someone else in my house would pick up the phone and break the connection.

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Throwback Thursday: The TV Era Prior to Netflix

PrevueChannelIn this week’s Throwback Thursday, yes, believe it or not, there was a time when there was not Netflix. Yes, kids, I know that sounds like a society you wouldn’t want to be any part of.

There was a time — gasp — that you had to sit down to scheduled programming, tethered to the mercy of the television channels and what they were programming then and there. You wanted an episode of Seinfeld? Sure. Only if you happened to be planted on your couch in front of the tube during NBC’s Must-See-TV Thursday Nights.

Binge watching wasn’t a part of the vernacular. If you wanted to do a 1990s equivalent of binge watching, it would consist of either stomaching four consecutive hours of whatever was on the channel you were on, or a VHS tape full of those great Seinfeld episodes you wanted to watch so bad (in fact, I believe I had a tape like that…replete with all the commercials and poor quality you’d expect of a tape that was re-recorded on, over and over, about 2000 times).

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Throwback Thursday: Hacking the Mainframe

If there is sexy side of software testing, it is likely Security Testing. I know this because it’s the only type of testing (aside from game testing) that Hollywood seems to care about. For some reason, the hackers portrayed in movies always are always trying to access vital intelligence contained within the mainframe.

The truth is that mainframes – which are essentially just large scale computer systems – are actually throwback tech and today most companies don’t use them. According to the Huffington Post, “the manipulation of massive amounts of data, once the hallmark of mainframe computers, can now be done by server farms which easily connect to other systems, cost far less money, and require less training to administer.”

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Throwback Thursday: 80’s Tech at its Best

The 80’s brought with it an incredible range of technology that for better or worse shaped the age we live in now. For this TBT, we’ll be having a quick look at some of the more surreal/novel items that came from the land of neon and synth.

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The Private Eye, brought to us by Reflections Technology, allowed the wearer to view a 1-inch LED screen with image quality comparable to a 12-inch display. Released in 1989, the Private Eye head-mounted display was used by hobbyists and researchers alike, going on to become the subject of an augmented reality experiment in 1993. To think that this type of wearable technology has only been tapped into fully within the past 3 years is pretty mind-blowing.

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The Stereo Sound Vest provides the wearer with a $65 portable speaker solution to provide a ‘safer’ listening option without the use of headphones. With zip-off sleeves, it’s a wonder this wasn’t all the rage.

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iOS 8 Crowding Out Fitness Apps?

This week, Apple released the latest beta of iOS 8 to developers for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Among other additions, the fleshing out of the new Health App means bigHealthbook changes for developers.

Health, Apple’s centralized health and fitness hub app, in the initial iOS 8 preview was more of a shell, designed to take in data from third-party providers. In the Beta 3 release, however, it can now track both steps and calories on its own. Additionally, you can measure your caffeine intake as well as monitor a lengthy list of nutritional categories.

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Throwback Thursday: The Palm V

Today’s tech Throwback Thursday pays homage to the days when PDA meant Personal Digital Assistant. The long-time leader in that category was the PalmPilot series of PDAs by Palm Computing, a division of 3Com. By the time I got my hands on one of these amazing machines, it was known as the Palm V. You could email, access your calendar and contacts, and organize your to-do lists all in the palm of your hand.
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Released in 1999, the Palm V was the first of its kind to have a built-in rechargeable battery. Among other hardware specs:

Processor: Motorola Dragonball EZ MC68EZ328
User Storage Memory: 2MB
Display: 160×160 pixel, high contrast and backlit
Size and weight: 4.5″ x 3.1″ x 0.4″, 4oz

According to this great review from The Gadgeteer, “the display on the Palm V is a marvel to behold” and “the Palm V is downright sexy with its sleek metal body.” Maybe we were more easily amused back then, but I don’t remember ever thinking that 160×160 pixels was a marvel to behold. (Then again, I used to think the Iomega Zip 100 disk was pretty sweet so my judgement for tech marvels isn’t 100%.)

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Google Blows the Door Wide Open for Testers and Developers at I/O

At its annual Google I/O developer conference yesterday, Android_auto_1-520x292Google upped the ante in terms of possibilities for developers and testers alike, by moving beyond mobile into the realm of wearables and emerging technologies. Here’s some of the major areas which should get testers and devs excited.

Android TV

Google announced Android TV, which will combine live TV programming, Google Play services and Android apps, and will have cross-interaction with your Android-powered devices. Just think, that latest House of Cards episode on your Netflix queue is just a touch of your smartwatch away from being streamed to your TV.

Android Wear

This will be Google’s platform for everything wearable, including smartwatches. According to Mashable:

“Wear will integrate with Android L (Google’s new OS) and Android TV. When downloading a new app to your phone, for example, the Android Wear version of the app will automatically download onto your device. Subsequent app updates will also be automatically downloaded.”

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Throwback Thursday: The Simplistic Joys of AOL Instant Messenger (AIM)

A/S/L? LOL, OMG, JK! Many people cite cell phones and texting for the rise of communication via acronym, but those of us raised on instant messages know that we owe that honor to AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). Those of us ‘in the know’ will never forget the siren song of signing in, hours of fun spent in chat rooms and those embarrassing screen names created at the peak of our angst and awkwardness.

“AOL Instant Messenger was born out of the Buddy List feature that was part of the AOL dial-up service. In 1997, AIM became a stand-alone service that allowed users to send messages to each other.” There was a time when AIM had the largest share of the instant messaging market in North America, especially in the United States (with 52% of the total reported as of 2006). However, with the introduction of GChat, Skype and Facebook, AIM, the once favored Instant Messaging tool in North America, has seen a significant decline in its user base.

However, let’s not mourn the decline of AIM, but rather celebrate some of its awesome features.

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