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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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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iOS 8 Beta 2 Now Available to Developers: A Step Up?

Apple, hot off the heels of its announcement of iOS 8 and release of the first beta earlier this month, has made available its Beta 2 of the new OSApple_iOS to developers today.

According to ZDNet, Apple has corrected some stability issues that plagued the first iteration of iOS 8 beta including crashing on launch when restored from a backup. Additionally, there are still several known issues that Apple is working on, including reduced battery life and other issues with iCloud and Keyboards.

For those that have downloaded the beta, is it more polished and stable than the first? Which areas are you hoping Apple improves upon prior to the GA this Fall? Let us know in the comments below.

And iOS 8…is a Disappointment?

Apple has just confirmed the latest iteration of iOS 8 at its annual Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, and testers or users expecting sea changes that came with iOS 7 last September may be feeling a bit disappointed.

That being said, users can still expect some key updates to functionality. According to CNET and other sourcesiOS 8, major updates to iOS 8 include:

  • Interactive notifications, where you can respond to messages without leaving another app
  • “Do not disturb” feature will make it easier to stop notifications on nuisances like group chats
  • A built-in health management tool to check on important things like vital signs and activity levels
  • Universal search to find files on your device and content on the Internet
  • Third-party keyboards can now be installed
  • The biggest feature, though, may be that apps can now share data with each other in iOS

What do you think of the iOS 8 upgrade? Were you expecting more? Are you still excited for the iPhone 6? Let us know in the comments.

 

Apple WWDC: Continuous Integration, Testing and More

xcode5Last week, Apple announced a number of exciting new products at WWDC, including iOS7 and OS X Mavericks. But some of Apple’s most important announcements slipped below the radar – announcements that will impact both developers and testers. Let’s take a look at a few of the exciting thing Apple announced that are going to change how you build and test your software.

Continuous Integration

Let’s start with the first big piece of news: continuous integration. Apple’s new continuous integration tool give developers a new way to automate build processes and make sure that all the important steps of a build are executed. Apple has done this by creating a new kind of process called a “bot,” which can be instructed to automatically run static analysis, unit tests, and archiving activities.

Apple’s other big announcement was a new tool that can move the build process to a remote server running OS X Mavericks. That means that you can offload the long tedious build process (including all the activities of the bots) to a remote server, giving you the power to work on other tasks in the mean time. If a build or test fails, you’ll see all the details in your local copy of Xcode. The remote build machine can be configured to run builds on demand, scheduled builds (e.g. nightly builds), or both.

Test Navigator

Along with the bots and continuous integration tools, Apple has developed a completely new unit testing system called Test Navigator. Developers will be able to create unit tests right within Xcode and then have those tests executed by bots. If the tests fail, they’ll be able to review the tests together with the relevant portions of their code, side by side.

Auto Layout

Over the past few years, Apple began moving away from the standard aspect ratios they introduced with the original iPhone, and there’s every indication this trend will continue. The downside of this proliferation of screen sizes is that app developers will have to work harder and harder building custom interfaces for each unique screen size.

With Xcode 5, Apple is launching a new tool called Auto Layout that they believe will help improve this problem. Auto Layout helps developers build interfaces by automatically managing the layout of items on the screen – moving components as the screen changes size so that everything fits neatly. This means that a single interface can easily adapt itself to a variety of screen sizes and shapes, giving developers the confidence their apps will work on the ever increasing number of devices.

And more…

Other features Apple announced last week include debug gauges (tools to see an app’s system utilization in real time) and source control. A more complete list can be found here.

Of course, we’re still in the early days of these new tools as Apple has just released the very first beta of Xcode 5. New features and improvements could still be on their way, and some of the existing features mentioned above could still be cut from the final release.

But judging from what we’ve heard about so far, this is a great time to be an Apple developer. With so many new tools, apps, and APIs, developers have an exciting road in front of them as they adopt Apple’s newest technologies.

It’s a Wrap! The #GenMobile WWDC Party

To say the Appcelerator #GenMobile Party last Wednesday night was a success would be an understatement!  As one of Appcelerator’s newest partners, uTest was thrilled to sponsor their annual Apple WWDC  bash along with Box, InMobi and VentureBeat. Given Appcelerator’s reputation for throwing “the” party of the conference, tickets sold out far in advance.

Starting with a rush at 6:00pm, more than 500 mobile professionals starting pouring out of Moscone Convention Center and packing into Jillian’s in the Metreon for a night of celebration.  Folks from every facet of the mobile ecosystem mingled, hearing about each other’s latest projects and cool innovations in the works.

The diverse crowd included developers, project managers, and executives from companies including Groupon, SAP, Twitter, and Klout, as well as investors from firms like Google Ventures.  Plus, mixed among the familiar faces from VentureBeat were tech stalwarts like Don Clark of the Wall Street Journal, Ryan Lawler of TechCrunch, and Emily Price of Mashable.

If you couldn’t make it to the party, check out this video highlight reel and the photo gallery on Appcelerator’s Facebook page.  And of course we can’t forget about the photo booth!  Too many great photos to be able to pick favorites…

Thanks again, Appcelerator and to everyone that joined in the fun.  See you next year!

iOS v. Android: [Surprising] Crash Data by Version

We all know that developers love iOS but it’s interesting to read that, based on a study from earlier this year, iOS crashes MORE than Android per app launch.  Of course, iOS 5.0.1 accounts for 28%+ of the total crashes, which certainly skews the numbers.

A few important excerpts to note:

…Many people apparently take their time updating their iPhone software or never update it at all.

…People often don’t update their apps–just as they don’t update their operating system. (Android, unlike iOS, allows users to auto-update their apps, which can eliminate some of the problems.)

The very top Android apps are achieving a crash rate that, at least in this time period, the best iOS apps can’t match.

Interestingly, when we crawled 250,000 apps across iOS and Android we found that the average app store rating for Android and iPhone was 3.58 and 3.56, respectively – nearly identical.  The larger gap is that Android users complained more about performance and crashing than iPhone users.  Then, in March, we tested the SXSW App across iOS, Android, Windows and RIM and we found that iPhone & iPad had the highest overall scores and the best Application & Performance data.

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How Quickly Should Security Patches Be Released?

Apple PatchThere has been plenty of talk these days about security. The increased use of computers and mobile devices to bank, shop and communicate with friends and family has also increased a user’s vulnerability to cybercriminals. Software updates and patches are critical to keep computers secure, but some companies are having trouble getting those patches released quickly.

Like many others, Apple recently had trouble with an exploited vulnerability, when cybercriminals were exploiting a flaw in Oracle’s java application environment. While Oracle was able to release an update for Window’s and Linux rather quickly, Apple (who handles their own Java updates) took months. There was much disappointment about the delayed response from Apple, and while many chalk this up to the fact that Apple was unprepared, as Mac’s had been virtually impenetrable for years, several others also cite regression testing as a major delay in releasing critical updates and patches. According to Sue Marquette Poremba of Security News Daily:

A quick fix isn’t always a good fix.

 “Updating software reliably does not only mean fixing the problem,” (Wolfgang Kandek, chief technology officer at Redwood Shores) said, “but also testing whether the fix plays well with other modifications included in the code, plus making sure that it does not break any functions of the software.

Having a fix that works is important, but having the vulnerability on your computer affects how your system runs and who can control it. More often than not, the average computer user has no idea that a risk is there.

Read the full article at MSNBC.com >>>

Ask any of the 55,000+ testers at uTest and they can certainly tell you that bug fixes take time. To triage, locate and correct a bug is not an easy process by any means. And more importantly testing to make sure the fix is not going to break other existing features or open the application to additional vulnerabilities is critical.

We’d like to know how you feel about security updates. How long do you think security patches and updates should take?

Malware Catches Up with Macs

Malware effecting Apple computersFull Disclosure: I used to be one of those Mac users who wasn’t too concerned with malicious links and suspicious emails because, hey, I use a Mac and Macs aren’t that susceptible to malware. … Oh how I miss those days.

Mac malware is on the rise, with an estimated 600,000 computers affected but the Flashback Trojan at the moment and another exploit taking advantage of a security flaw in outdated Microsoft Office for Mac files. Here’s some information on the Flashback Trojan’s effects, from PCMag:

The Java flaw exploited by the so-called Flashback Trojan dates back to February, but Apple did not release a patch until April 3. As a result, approximately 550,000 Macs were infected, according to data released this week from anti-virus vendor Doctor Web.

Doctor Web today provided a few more details about the proliferation of the Flashback Trojan. Almost 350,000 of the affected devices were in the U.S., with about 125,000 in Canada, and 75,000 in Great Britain.

In the U.S., Manhattan-based Macs saw the largest number of traceable infections at about 5,000, followed by Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Chicago. But the whereabouts of almost 18,000 affected Macs was unknown, Doctor Web said.

In Canada, Toronto was hardest hit (14,000), while Londoners were most-impacted in the U.K. (almost 20,000). For more details, see the map below.

As PCMag’s Security Watch noted yesterday, Mac users did not have to download or even interact with the malware to become infected. Websites exploited a Java flaw that let Flashback.K download itself onto Macs without warning. It then asked users to supply an administrative password, but even without that password, the malware was already installed.

And this is how the Microsoft Office exploit works (from PCWorld):

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Where’s the Cinnabon?… or, Will Indoor LBS Hit it Big in 2012?

‘Tis the season to prognosticate.

We’re 17 days away from the new year, and far before Auld Lang Syne begins playing and we pretend to know the words (after all the champagne, who can remember the lyrics we optimistically Google’d the day before anyways?), we’re pondering what changes are in store for us the next twelve months.

In a whitepaper released by ABI Research this week, their tech analysts took a collective look into the crystal ball for 2012 and (in their words) “have drawn some bold lines in the sand on a plethora of top-of-mind topics.”

But instead of predicting what WOULD happen in the mobile and telecom space, they took a different spin on the usual list and forecasted what WOULDN’T happen.  Nice twist.  (And a really good read.)

One of their more interesting predictions for those of us in software testing is by Patrick Connolly, Senior Analyst of Telematics and Navigation:  “Indoor location will NOT become commonplace in 2012.” 

It’s easy to see how this could be true…but also surprising.

After all, for as many articles that have been written about the technological challenges in making Indoor Location Based Services (LBS) a reality, there has been an equal amount of big name, big buzz announcements about it over the past few months.  There are dozens of industry-leading companies—including Apple, Navteq, Qualcomm and Nokia—tackling the challenge from every angle.

There are even some major apps launching to give Indoor LBS a jolt from vision to reality.  For instance, Google announced on their Mobile blog in November that the new Google Maps 6.0 gives users (on Android OS 2.1 mobile devices) the ability to Map the Vast Indoors, vis-à-vis:

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