uTest Infographic: Which Android Devices Make App Users Smile?

Do you play a lot of games on your SEMC Xperia Play? Are you a news junkie with an LG Optimus 2X? How do sports apps work on your Samsung Infuse 4G? Ever get frustrated with the music app on your HTC Thunderbolt? In our newest uTest Infographic we let the Android Market app reviews do the talking to find out which devices reign supreme (and which fall flat) in the  major app categories.

uTest Infograpich 2012

Why Localization Testing is So Important

LocalizationThe No. 1 country in the world for both iOS and Android activation is also the country with the fasting growing app session statistics … and it’s not a native English-speaking country. China has recently surpassed the U.S. in terms of new iOS and Android activations and in the past year the number of app sessions has grown by more than 1,000%. From TechCrunch (emphasis added):

New data from mobile analytics firm Flurry indicates the incredible growth potential of the Chinese smartphone market. The country, which ranked 11th place at the start of 2011 in terms of iOS and Android activations, has now climbed into the number one spot, beating out the U.S., now number two.

In addition, looking at data from Q1 2011 to Q1 2012, Flurry found that China led in app session growth as well, increasing 1,126% year-over-year. And the growth is especially notable because China was already the world’s 7th largest country by the end of Q1 2011. …

What this data means is that the gap is now closing between the two countries in terms of installed base, and China, already the world’s second largest app economy, may soon overtake the U.S. as the country with the largest number of smartphone users, too. China today is estimated as having twice the size of the next largest smartphone install base, the U.K., notes Flurry.

Another means of measuring China’s growth comes from examining app session growth. Here, China leads the world with the staggering 1,126% jump on this front over last year. Other emerging markets where app session growth has been climbing, include (in order) Argentina, the Philippines, Russia, Belgium, India, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and Turkey.

Flurry also looked at the numbers of app sessions over the past year. Since Q1 2011, the number of sessions in the U.S. has more than doubled, however, its share of total sessions has declined from 56% to 46%. This is a reflection of the U.S. market’s maturity, to some extent: it’s still growing, but other countries are growing more quickly. When combining the #2 through #10 ranked markets (China, the U.K., South Korea, France, Australia, Canada, Japan, Germany and Spain), sessions have collectively increased 3.4 times from Q1 2011 to Q1 2012, and session share has gone from 27% to 30%. The rest of the world combined has gone from 17% to 24% during the same time, or 4x growth. …

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How CBS Handles Mobile

CBS InteractiveStill struggling with the choice between mobile web or native app? If you’re a large company, or have several different facets of your business you’d like to represent, it might benefit you to chose on an piece-by-piece basis rather than going with a single, end-all-be-all method across the board.

CBS uses this patchwork method to their advantage and considers factors such as visitor traffic and budget to determine which of their many holdings get which type of mobile representation. For example, CBS.com, CNet and 60 Minutes all have native apps while GameFaqs and ZDnet have mobile websites. Peter Yard, CTO of CBS Interactive, broke down the corporation’s thought process when it comes to mobile media in an article on CNet:

Where’s the traffic coming from?
If the majority of a site’s traffic is side door traffic from Google, Facebook, and Twitter, the site should embrace mobile web and HTML5. Since most of the site’s users are arriving via links, the content must quickly load in the mobile browser. …

If a majority of a site’s traffic is direct but intermittent traffic–meaning users come directly to the site, but only once in a while–the site should implement HTML5 mobile Web. These types of sites are “tourist sites” that are not visited regularly by people and therefore users are very unlikely to download an app. …

If the majority of a site’s traffic is direct traffic where people are regularly going straight to the site’s home page from a bookmark or typing in the URL, the site should use native apps. …

For sites with a lot of direct traffic, native apps also provide useful additional features such as push notifications and offline storage, which are not relevant to sites with intermittent or side door traffic.

Sites that have an even mix of direct and side door traffic should also implement both native apps and an HTML 5 mobile view.

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Top Global Brands Lack Mobile

Mobile AppsYou may have seen the sweet new infographic we posted about the quality of mobile apps. And with smartphones and tablets everywhere you turn you might assume every business from mega corporations down to the mom and pop shop on the corner would have a mobile app by now – but you’d  be wrong. Digiday took a look at the mobile offerings from the top 50 global brands (as named by Interbrand) and found quite a few of them lacking. Here’s the scoop:

Digiday examined the websites of the top 50 global brands of 2011, as ranked by Interbrand, and found that 19 do not currently feature smartphone-optimized content. Those brands, which include Apple, Microsoft, GE, Nokia, Nintendo, Mercedes, BMW and Kelloggs, simply drive smartphone users to the desktop versions of their sites. …

The number of brands offering tablet-specific experiences, meanwhile, was even lower. Of the 50 brand websites examined, just two provided content tailored for the iPad. Those brands were Google and Nike.

Surprisingly, top electronics and technology companies were among the least prepared for mobile traffic. Apple, Nokia, and Microsoft, all of which sell or manufacture mobile devices or software, had neither smartphone- nor tablet-optimized sites. Despite the fact major auto manufacturers are often viewed as early adopters of the mobile channel, the sites of Mercedes and BMW were also lacking in both areas. Toyota, Honda, VW and Ford, meanwhile, all served up content tailored for smartphones, but not for the iPad.

Interestingly, Pepsi currently redirects both smartphone and tablet users to its Facebook page and appears to have no mobile content whatsoever hosted on its Pepsi.com domain. Though that approach might not be viewed as a “mobile-ready” one, the experience is at least tailored to users’ devices once they reach Facebook, owing to the social network’s support for a range of devices.

Many marketers argue a customized experience for the iPad isn’t necessary, since screen size and full-featured Safari browser are adept at rendering full desktop sites. But those experiences are primarily designed for use with a mouse and keyboard, and do not take into account the touch functionality of the iPad and other tablets. Nike’s iPad site, for example, features similar content to its desktop site but allows users to touch, swipe and interact with it in a much more intuitive way. …

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[Infographic] The State of Mobile App Quality: Android vs. iOS

It’s the industry’s premiere event, attended by some of the biggest names and brightest stars in the world…and it’s not the Academy Awards. I’m talking of course about Mobile World Congress, which kicks off today in Barcelona, Spain. While mobile enthusiasts convene to see what’s new and what’s next, we here at uTest decided to take at look at the current state of mobile app quality, which brings us to the following infographic. Below is an in-depth a look at the state of user satisfaction in the top two mobile ecosystems: iOS and Android.

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Why Your Company Should Join the Rat Race

TabletsThink optimizing for mobile web isn’t important? Think again! This was reported by PCWorld:

Tablet computers will eventually replace laptops, according to nearly half of Americans polled earlier this month.

But don’t panic yet …

Of course, “eventually” is a very long time, and the recent rollout of Amazon’s Kindle Fire and anticipation over the Apple iPad 3 might have survey takers overreaching a bit.

While the Poll Position phone survey of 1,155 registered voters found great enthusiasm for tablet computers, with 46% saying tablets would surpass laptops eventually, 35% said tablets will not replace laptops and 19% had no opinion.

Among younger Americans (18-29 age group), 49% said tablets will not replace the PC and 37% said they will. A higher percentage of men (53%) than women (39%) foresee tablets overtaking laptops.

The tablet market was hot last year and is expected to remain so this year. IDC recently said it expected 2011 worldwide tablet shipments to total more than 63 million units, with Apple selling about 6 in 10 of those. Recent Canalys figures show a total PC market of 356 million units in 2011, minus tablets.

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2012 Preview: Twelve App-Related Questions On The Way To Armageddon

Happy New Year!  Yes, 2012 is upon us and, if you believe the pundits (or the Mayans), we’re all gonna die in about 11 1/2 months. And while that really takes the pressure off of watching your 401k or worrying about global warming, it amps us the urgency to get that killer new app launched.

So with that in mind, here are 12 questions whose  answers will shape the app universe (and thus, the testing landscape) in 2012:

  1. Will we finally find a better way to vet apps than app store ratings?
  2. Is Flash really and truly dead in the mobile app space?
  3. What’s the next big wave in the ever-growing sea of SoLoMo?
  4. Web-enabled TVs:  here or hype?
  5. Will Android keep winning such rapid market share from iOS?
  6. Is this the year the mobile wallet hits the U.S. mainstream?
  7. How will netizens find what they need — search or social?
  8. Can developers finally forget about IE6?  How about IE7?
  9. Will Amazon’s app store plans fly or flop?
  10. Where do tablets go from here?
  11. Which direction will the IPO and VC markets turn?
  12. After watching Uber battle taxis, and AirBnB take on hotels, which mature industry will be next to get disrupted in a big way (fwiw, my money is on medical and education, though the latter may take longer)?

So what’s your take — which of these issues will have the biggest impact on devs, testers and users in 2012?  Put on your fortune telling hat and share your prediction to that question in the comments below.

And happy 2012 to us all. Let’s enjoy this next (last?) year in the apps universe!

Holiday Shopping on Mobile. Even the Elves Need an App for That.

Ho, ho, ho!  Whoa there, Blitzen– wasn’t it just Halloween?  It sure feels that way. After all, I still have two pounds of trick-or-treat candy to pretend I’m not eating.

Unfortunately, my four-year-old has already implored me to take down the skeleton and spiders hanging in the doorway because they’re going to scare away Santa.  So, rather than arguing the salient fact that Santa shimmies down the chimney versus ringing the doorbell, I’ve officially started morphing decor from the marvelous macabre to merry old Saint Nick.  Kids: 1. Mom: 0.

Nonetheless, the fact hasn’t escaped me that we’re two weeks away from Cyber Monday (November 28th), an occasion that online retailers have been planning for months.  Since summer, global brands and independent e-tailers have been testing and re-testing their mobile apps and web sites for functionality, usability, localization glitches and possible bottlenecks in site performance that could jeopardize their revenue potential.

Moreover, the ante has been upped now that the iPad and other tablets have entered the scene.  Online retailers that spent the last few years optimizing their mobile apps and porting them to additional platforms like Android, are now going through the process from scratch with tablets.  Not only are the specs non- standardized, varying significantly by manufacturer, device and network performance like smartphones.

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If An App Drops In The App Store…

Does it make a sound? With more than 500,000 apps in Apple’s app store and more than 200,000 apps in the Android  Market, I’ve often wondered, when a new app drops (and no one is around to hear it), how can it make enough noise to attract users?

Start with focusing on a particular market segment, says ReadWriteWeb. RWW published a very interesting post today to give mobile developers some insight into what they should be thinking about before building their killer app.

The main gist of it was to focus more on whom you’re developing for vs. the functionality of the app. I’m guessing this is the part where testers all over the world want to beat someone up right about now. Of course testers want developers to develop with functionality in mind; however, I do think the article brings up a good point.

Balancing the technical side (functionality) with the business side (target audience) will get you one step closer to having your new app “heard” and raking in the cash.

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Life After Steve Jobs: Has Apple Lost its Core?

I found myself deliberating on something unexpectedly the other night.  I was thinking about buying the iPad–which I’ve wanted for a long time–and it occurred to me: What’s the future of Apple?

Previously, the issue was whether I should I invest in iOS and start the conversion over from a lifetime on Windows.  After all, my dad was a 30-year IBM vet, which put food on the table and paid my tuition.  I grew up seeing mammoth mainframes, punchcards…glowing green DOS.  No Apples of any color in our Big Blue household.

But on this occasion, it wasn’t a question of brand loyalty. It was the obvious: the loss of Steve Jobs.

I still find myself processing his passing both emotionally and practically. I remember how the AP alert popped up on my phone and it literally felt like someone had punched me in the stomach.  I admired him for living authentically, taking billion dollar gambles on ideas, picking himself up after billion dollar failures, and holding steadfast (stubborn?) to his vision.

I’m convinced his near-religious zeal over every minutiae of product design stemmed from the same social ethic that led to Apple’s creation:  to make computers so easy and user-friendly that everyone could benefit from computing’s powerful potential.  Not just the technical, highly-educated and elite. Computers for Everyman.

Attention to detail.  Risk-taking. Singular focus. These are among the core values of the Apple brand. As I considered buying the iPad, I wondered:  Are these values sufficiently infused in Tim Cook and the company DNA to continue on without Steve?  Or will Apple employees slowly lose direction like followers of the North Star left without guide over too many cloudy nights?
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