Mobile Takeover: Smartphones in Use Surpass 1 Bil. Worldwide

Are you reading this post from your mobile device? If so, you make up the one billion people worldwide using a mobile phone.

More than one billion smartphone devices out there right now are navigating a native app, browsing the mobile web, texting or talking. Research firm Strategy Analytics has reported that we have hit a major mobile milestone – there are now over 1.038 billion smartphones in use worldwide. According to TechCrunch, this milestone took quite a while to reach:

“It’s taken 16 years to pass 1 billion, but the analysts believe it will only take three years for the next billion smartphone users to come on board.

When it comes to the big things in technology, billion, it seems, is the new million.

The analysts do not go into the specifics of which handset maker accounts for the bulk of these. At the moment, Samsung is the leader in terms of how many handsets are getting sold quarterly, with Apple and then Nokia following behind.”

The mobile market is revving up – which is great news for software developers, and a big red flag to companies who haven’t yet launched their software in native and web apps. If you haven’t taken your enterprise mobile, you need to start developing and executing a mobile strategy. A good way to think of it is – if you don’t have a mobile app there are 1.038 billion devices you don’t have a presence on.

However, just releasing an app won’t get you onto all of – or even a good portion of these devices. This is where quality comes in. In order to have a good mobile presence, your app needs to be intuitive and well-tested for software bugs and real world issues.

What do you think of this worldwide mobile device record – and do you agree with analyst predictions that it will double in only 3 years? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

Live Blog: uTest at #STPCon in Miami (Day 2)

We’re back for another day of close-to-live coverage of STPCon 2012 down here in Miami, Florida. Like yesterday, I’ll be posting highlights of the various keynotes, sessions and other events. Let’s get started:

8:30: Talking mobile metrics as part of our Sponsor Showcase. The conversation varied, but mainly focused on the role of simulators and emulators. Thanks to everyone who stopped by.

9:05: Gave away a Kindle Fire to a lucky winner (not me).

10:15: Getting laughs at 9:00 in the morning isn’t easy, but author/comedian Jeff Havens made it happen with his hilarious “motivational” speech on How to Uncrapify Your Life. Funny takeaways:

  • Make yourself feel better by putting others down
  • Make fun of people to their face, not behind their back
  • Outsource blame wherever possible
  • Never, ever use the word ‘moist’ again. Ever. It’s gross.

The serious things he actually covered:

  • How to avoid negative and unproductive conversations
  • The power of sincere, straightforward communication
  • The importance of small things when it comes to delivering outstanding customer service
  • How to approach change in order to achieve seamless integration

10:25: Off to the first QA session of the day: How to Prevent Defects with Dwight Lamppert.

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Live Blog: uTest at #STPCon in Miami (Day 1)

What better way to celebrate our 1000th blog post  - please hold your applause - than to keep a running diary of our time here in Miami for STPCon 2012? I couldn’t think of anything better either. So throughout the week, I’ll be posting recaps of keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops and other events.

As usual, STPCon has a great lineup of testing experts, so there should be no shortage of material. If we missed something big, be sure to Tweet the hashtag #STPCon and we’ll get on it. But enough small talk, let’s get started…

9:11: The first keynote of the day comes courtesy of Lee Henson, known to many as the “Agile Dad.” If that name sounds familiar, it’s probably because Lee gave us a great Testing the Limits interview last month. Here’s a quick synopsis of his presentation:

It comes as no surprise that with the downfall of the economy in the US, many organizations have made testing an afterthought. Some have scaled testing efforts back so far that the end product has suffered more greatly than one can imagine. This is resulting in major consumer frustration and a great lack of organizational understanding of how best to tackle this issue. Agile does not mean do more with less. As we journey into a new frontier where smaller is better, less is more, and faster is always the right answer, traditional testing efforts have been morphed and picked apart to only include the parts that people want to see and hear. Effective testing can be done in an efficient manner without sacrificing quality at the end of the day.

9:15: Lee stresses that agile is not a solution for everything; it can’t cure cancer or make you more attractive to women. My words, not his.

9:22: “When someone says faster is the only answer, everyone loses.”

9:25: Seeing a bunch of former Testing the Limits guests without even moving from my seat. James Sivak, Matt Huesser, Scott Barber, Seth Eliot, Karen Johnson (to be published on Thursday), Rex Black and of course, Lee Henson. Lots of testing knowledge in the room.

9:31: Good to see uTester Lucas Dargis, who wrote a fantasic post last week on his uTest experience thus far.

9:35: Lee points to a study that says executives care more about time to market than quality. Ouch. I can think of at least one CEO that does not fit into that category.

9:40: “90% of businesses found that improved testing strategies increased the bottom line.”

9:45: “Agile is about making the best choice.”

9:50: Good Q&A session going on right now. Testers are professional skeptics, as James Bach once said, so the questions are tough but fair.

10:00: Tough choice, but I’ll be attending Seth Eliot’s session on Testing in Production. Updates in a few.

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Riding a Dragon Into Space

Testing is one way to prevent catastrophe, but sometimes catastrophes happen anyway. It’s often interesting to look at other industries to see how they handle contingency planning.

Earlier this week, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the first scheduled resupply mission to the International Space Station. The launch was mostly successful, although one engine malfunctioned which resulted in a small of explosion of debris from the rocket. While the internal computer made corrections and was able to deliver its primary payload to the right orbit (the ISS resupply inside the Dragon capsule), it failed to deliver its secondary payload to the right orbit (a small satellite from ORBCOMM).

Rocket launch failures happen somewhat frequently, and some of history’s worst rocket accidents have happened either on the launch pad or during launch. That’s why it’s very important that man rated rockets (those intended to carry human beings) include some kind of escape method. SpaceX is working on one such system as part of man rating the Dragon capsule, but it won’t be fully tested until 2014 (and the Dragon won’t carry humans until at least 2015).

So how does a launch escape system work? Well, it depends on the type of rocket and when the accident happens. For the Mercury and Apollo programs, a large solid rocket motor was attached to the top of the space capsule that would carry it away from the rocket below. The capsule could then deploy parachutes and safely fall back to earth. While this has never been required for an American launch, the Soyuz rocket uses a similar system which was successfully deployed when a fire broke out during the countdown for Soyuz mission T-10-1.

The SpaceX Dragon will use a very similar system, although the launch escape rockets will be built in to the Dragon capsule itself. SpaceX’s system will use a newly designed version of their Draco attitude control thruster rockets called SuperDraco. In the event of a rocket malfunction, the SuperDracos will push the Dragon capsule off the rocket to safety.

So what can we learn from this? First of all, problems happen despite massive efforts to prevent them. One of the Merlin rockets in the Falcon 9 that launched this week failed. Despite that fact, the systems were able to complete the launch with the remaining engines and accomplish the primary mission.

Secondly, even really good systems need escape routes when failures happen. SpaceX is investing almost a billion dollars in making the Falcon 9 and the Dragon capsule rated for humans. As part of that, they’re building newer and more robust systems to help pilot human beings away from catastrophe should an accident happen.

The investment we make in these systems may seem excessive, but they’re essential for protecting human lives and ensuring the success of missions. Software testing may seem mundane in comparison, but remember that all of these fancy systems are powered by software. And that software needs its own rigorous contingency planning, failure analysis and testing.

At the end of the day, bugs happen. And when they do, it’s nice to have a solid rocket engine carry you to safety over the horizon.

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

Guest Post: uTest – My First 100 Cycles

Lucas DargisLucas Dargis joined the uTester community in March 2012. He joined with an eye toward expanding his knowledge base and getting widespread experience. To help him stay on that track, Lucas set three goals for himself. Today’s guest post will tell you how he achieved those goals ahead of schedule and what keeps him coming back to uTest. You can laern more about Lucas by visiting his uTest Profile or his blog.

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So I’m a little late, I’m actually at 138 cycles, but I wanted to give an update on my uTest experience now that I’ve got 100 cycles under my belt.

Accomplishments

When I first signed up with uTest I set a few goals. I really had no idea how realistic they were, but you have to at least have something to shoot for right?

By the end of 2012 (9 months from when I started) I wanted to:

  1. Earn my gold badge in Functional testing
  2. Become a TTL (Test Team Lead)
  3. Develop a strong reputation within the uTest community

Gold badge

I got my functional badge within 30 days of my first test cycle. At first this was actually a disappointment. I was really looking forward to the challenge of having to work hard for that badge.

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