iOS Developers Love iOS, Maybe Not OS X

After the conclusion of this year’s Apple WWDC conference, Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray released the results of an informal survey he performed among conference attendees who were also iOS developers. In it, he asked them what their plans were for developing on different platforms, including Apple’s own OS X. The results were surprising.

iOS developers love iOS (of course), and as recently as 2008, 50% of them were also OS X developers. But today, that percentage has dropped to 7%, and most iOS developers are now actively developing for other platforms instead (including the iPad). This makes a lot of sense – the skillset for developing a mobile application has become more and more specialized, and the developers who can do that well may not have the skills or interest in developing for a desktop platform.

But the data holds other clues as well. For example, almost half of iOS developers also develop for Android. And even though all the developers think iOS is the best platform for monetization (they were attending WWDC after all), 40% of them thought Android was the platform with the greatest potential for future growth. By the way, that question included iOS as an option as well, meaning that 40% of iOS developers attending WWDC actually thought Android was going to grow faster than iOS.

What other platforms did these developers think would have any chance of growing in the coming years? The only other one that made the list was Windows Phone 7 with 9% of respondents. That’s small, but interesting. Microsoft could have something good on their hands.

More details from Fortune and Macrumors.

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

The Silver Lining to Motorola’s Comments on Android

Over the past week, there’s been some hub bub over comments made by Motorola’s CEO Sanjay Jha.  According to IDG News Service, Jha “blamed the open Android app store for performance issues on some phones,” based on his statement: “Of all the Motorola Android devices that are returned, 70 percent come back because applications affect performance.”

Even though Motorola formally stated today (see MoCoNews article) that Jha’s comments were essentially misconstrued and didn’t accurately reflect his intentions, the issue has remained a lightning rod for debate.

But for those of us in the software testing community, there’s a truly, positive message embedded in this issue:  Motorola was validating the critical importance of QA testing in the app development process.  

After all, consider Jha’s statement that, “one of the good and problematic things about Android is that it’s very very open. So anyone can put applications, third-party apps, on the market without any testing process….For power consumption, CPU utilization, some of those things, those applications are not tested. We’re beginning to understand the impact that has.”

For professional software testers, that confirms how important our work is, and actually suggests that the scope of mobile testing should be expanded.

Essentially, Jha wasn’t really referring to functional testing.  Or testing exclusively in the “clean and ideal” conditions of a lab environment.  Instead, he was describing the need for usability testing in the real-world to subjectively examine how apps and devices perform in live conditions and affect the user experience.  For instance, did the app run sluggishly?   Did it seriously tax the battery life?  These are vital questions, particularly for apps heavy on audio and video. 

At the end of the day, consumers are unlikely to differentiate whether their frustration over poor performance is caused by the smartphone or the app…or the interaction of both.  They just want to have a great experience with their new mobile “toy” or get their work done. 

Because if there isn’t enough testing on every device that the app is developed for, then (as Jha said) the smartphone gets returned and everyone– including the app publisher–loses out.

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

Announcing uTest Express: Mobile App Testing for Early-Stage Startups

With the vast majority of mobile apps being developed by startups, wouldn’t it be great if there was an easier, more affordable option for young companies to get professional testing under real-world conditions? We thought so, which is why we had the testing gnomes in our research lab cook up uTest Express.

Designed for startups, Express helps young companies validate the quality & performance of their mobile apps, as well as speed up their app store approval process. Think of Express as a time machine for mobile app developers: they can transport a month or two into the future to see what type of ratings their apps will likely receive and if there are any major defects — before they launch.

Whether you’ve built an app for iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, WinMo or Symbian, Express makes it easy to get real-world testing and expert feedback that meets your needs and budget. Oh, did we forget to mention that plans start at only $499? That’s half of what you probably spent on Red Bull and Starbucks while you were building your location-based, freemium, socially-linked, caffeine-free, voice-powered, 3D, virtual reality, highly-addictive, semantic-searching, gaming-layered, hybrid-powered, native app, right?.

For each project, uTest handpicks members of its tester community from North America who best match the testing requirements and have the right mobile devices and operating systems. The customer’s mobile application is then tested professionally on real devices across real carriers, providing real-world testing results and expert feedback that aren’t possible with emulators, simulators or remote access.

At the conclusion of each project, customers receive a list of well-documented bugs, including screenshots and videos with steps to reproduce them. They also receive expert feedback from the testers about the application – including app ratings and feedback for interface design, usability, app performance and more. To learn more about how it works,  watch this brief Product Tour.

Here are a few key features of the service:

  • Cost-Effective: With three testing packages available, uTest Express offers mobile app testing to fit any startup budget;
  • Easy-to-Use: A simple interface walks customers through a series of questions to identify their testing needs and facilitate the creation of the testing project;
  • Professional Testers: Testers are selected from our community of 35,000+ professional testers;
  • Real Devices and Carriers: Testing on real devices and real carriers – no emulators, simulators or remote access
  • All Major Mobile Platforms Available: uTest Express is available for all mobile operating systems including iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Symbian;
  • Accessible 24/7: Customers can access their testing projects on-the-go, using uTest’s downloadable app for the iPhone and iPad, or through the traditional browser-based interface.

The launch coincides nicely with our trip to CTIA Wireless – one of the largest mobile technology events in the world – so we’ll be spending the next few days talking to some of the most promising names in the business about this unique new service.

In the meantime, if you’re early-stage startup looking for an easy, affordable way of testing your latest mobile app (or your latest version), look no further than uTest Express.

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

Best Retail Apps For iPhone, iPad and Android

Readers of the uTest Blog should know that ecommerce software (retail apps in particular) are a familiar topic of discussion. We also recently published a whitepaper on the subject, see Optimized E-Commerce. Today, guest blogger Michael Koploy of SoftwareAdvice.com offers up a list of the most useful retails apps for the iPhone and Android operating systems. So without further delay, here is this month’s guest post. Enjoy!

Whether you own a small retail chain or sell items out of your brother’s apartment, there’s an app for that. Developers are beginning to produce mobile tools to help retailers operate their businesses. These apps help with everything from clocking in to checking out a customer to creating sales reports.

But sorting through hundreds of apps and finding those true gems that can help run your business is difficult. iTunes doesn’t have a retail category — in addition to being far from search friendly. Meanwhile, the new web-based Android Marketplace is a little more search friendly, but the lack of a retail category again stands as a roadblock.

So, we put together a list of the best mobile apps for retailers. This list was the product of multiple keyword searches across various app categories, from productivity to business. Data of how many reviews, star-ratings, and approximate number of installs are provided, as available.

Be sure to let us know if you’ve found a helpful retail app that we’ve left off the list.

iPhone / iPad Apps

Cash Register (MyAppIdea) – 3.5 stars with 33 ratings | $1.99
Developed for iPhone. Keeps track of your inventory and acts as a virtual checkout. Simple interface tracks all transactions so you can easily total your sales and e-mail them to customers. Sales can also be exported to Excel. Can supports multiple businesses.

LightSpeed Mobile – 3 stars with 6 ratings | $4.99
Developed for iPhone. Mobile retail extension of the LightSpeed Point of Sale system for Mac. Connects with LightSpeed database to act as a mobile checkout. Works jointly with Linea Pro hardware to scan barcodes and swipe credit cards. Can support multiple businesses.

Ring it Up – 4 stars with over 300 ratings | $29.99
Developed for iPhone and iPad. Point-of-sale application that interfaces with numerous popular credit card applications and the RedLaser barcode app to act as a complete checkout terminal. Can send HTML & .PDF receipts/invoices to customers, import/export .CSV files, and backup/restore data. Can support multiple businsses.

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Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

New Phones & Tablets ‘ChaCha & Salsa’ Across Stage @ Mobile World Congress

Mobile World Congress (MWC) and International CTIA Wireless are unarguably the world’s largest mobile industry shows today. It’s Day 2 of MWC and big news from mobile’s heavyweights are capturing headlines across the tech world. To read about the industry leaders stealing the show, see below!

HTC’s ‘Facebook Phones’ ChaCha & Salsa

The two phones have been ‘built to be entirely social,’ according to the press release.  The devices, which run on Google’s Android operating system, come with a ‘context-aware’ Facebook button that lights up when it recognizes the opportunity to share content on Facebook.  Users can share photos, websites, music, check-ins to different locations, status updates, and other options with one click.

Sony Ericsson’s PlayStation Phone

The Xperia Play is an Android phone where the slide-out keyboard has been replaced by slide-out PlayStation controls for easy gaming. Yesterday, Sony announced the Xperia Play would be available sometime this spring worldwide; in the U.S. it will be carried on Verizon. Some 50 games, many of them classics from the PlayStation One, will be ready at launch, according to Sony Ericcson. You’ll be able to buy them through a virtual PlayStation store, accessed via the Android Marketplace.
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Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing