Apple’s iPhone 5 Camera App Defect Signals Testing

Have you recently taken photos with your iPhone 5 and noticed a purple glare? This has been happening to a lot of mobile users, and Apple doesn’t seem fazed by it. While the purple splotch of light takes away from your photos – Apple says that is just the way the mobile app works. According to CNN.com:

“‘Most small cameras, including those in every generation of iPhone, may exhibit some form of flare at the edge of the frame when capturing an image with out-of-scene light sources,’ the company wrote in the support section of its website. ‘This can happen when a light source is positioned at an angle (usually just outside the field of view) so that it causes a reflection off the surfaces inside the camera module and onto the camera sensor.’”

Apple suggested keeping bright light from shining into photos taken with the phone.”

Camera apps are a big part of mobile devices today. In fact, many people don’t use cameras anymore and rely on their phones. To have to shield your camera from the sun in order to avoid a discoloration is silly. Unfortunately, Apple did not notice this iPhone 5 defect until now, and the camera app is built-in to the phone which is not easy to fix with a simple upgrade. However, it is clear that Apple didn’t want to test in-the-wild or fix their app, so their response was to tell users they are taking photos incorrectly; quite an interesting way to respond to user feedback.

Have you noticed this camera problem with the iPhone 5? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

 

Android App Development on the Rise

A new study by GigaOM Pro suggests that mobile developers are targeting Android at a faster rate than iOS. According to study of 352 app developers, iOS is still the dominate app platform, but when asked which platform developers plan to target in the next year, Android sees a larger percentage growth.

GigaOM App Growth Survey

It could be that developers have already addressed iOS and are now turning more of their attention to the Android ecosystem. Or it could be that the ever growing Android matrix means developers need to focus more of their efforts on the open source platform to keep up with the different OS versions and devices. The sudden surge in Android tablets – which recently saw two new Kindle Nook’s hit the marketing – is likely adding another incentive to focus on Android. Either way, get ready for more Android app testing.

Check out GigaOM for more information.

Mobile Payment Apps Present Major Security Concern

Your wallet is something you never want to lose. However, many people are now using mobile wallet applications for making purchases and money transactions. Opposed to your physical wallet, it is hard to control the security of your mobile wallet. Security breaches happen unexpectedly and quietly. A security attack to your mobile wallet can go unnoticed for quite some time.

According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek who refers to Mobile Payments as the new frontier for criminals:

“Nearly 70 percent of mobile phones aren’t password-protected, according to Sophos, a mobile security vendor. Parents allow children to play with their phones without considering that they may download some bit of malware, says Shirley Inscoe, a senior analyst at Aite Group: ‘They don’t realize the risk they may entail given the data stored on their mobile device.’

Criminals can access a mobile wallet by stealing the handset or by tricking its owner into downloading a piece of malicious code. Malware attacks on U.S. smartphones have risen 18 percent since 2011 and now add up to 15.3 percent of the world total, says mobile security vendor NQ Mobile…

…Banks and mobile-payment providers are scrambling to build—or buy—better defenses.”

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Top Mobile Carriers Worldwide

Wireless CarriersYou know that as part of your in-the-wild testing and mobile matrix coverage you’re supposed to test on different carriers. After all, differ carriers have varying coverage. So if you’re launching a mobile app, what are the most important carriers to focus on?

Obviously you’ll want to look at the region you’re launching in to identify the most important local carriers. But on a global scale, Wireless Intelligence has identified these 20 networks as having the most connections in its most recent annual report.

  1. China Mobile (China): 683 million connections, one country
  2. Vodafone Group (Albania, Australia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, UK): 387 million connections, 22 countries
  3. América Móvil Group (United States, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay): 252 million connections, 18 countries
  4. Bharti Airtel Group (Kenya, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda, Malawi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Niger, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Madagascar, Seychelles, Nigeria, Rwanda, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka): 250 million connections, 20 countries
  5. Telefónica Group (Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Spain, Ireland, UK, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, Slovakia, China): 243.5 million connections, 22 countries

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Apple and Google Apps by Numbers

Apps Apps AppsGoogle recently announced that it passed the 25 billion app downloads mark (impressive since they only passed the 10 billion mark 10 months ago). That announcement coupled with some app figures Apple released when the iPhone 5 was launched inspired Read Write Web to take a look at some important OS numbers.

  • Android is operating on 500 million smartphones
  • 400 million iPhones have been activated (prior to iPhone 5)
  • There are 700,000 apps in the Apple App Store
  • There are 675,000 apps in Android’s Google Play
  • Nearly 30 billion iOS apps have been downloaded
  • Just over 25 billion Android apps have been downloaded
  • 25 billion Android apps equates to 50 apps per device (if my calculations are right, Apple’s number comes out to about 75 apps per iPhone)
  • Between both major operating systems there are around 1,375,000 published apps
  • To reach Google’s new milestone of 25 billion downloaded apps, 46,012,269 apps have been downloaded per day since December

That’s a lot of apps, and a lot of downloads. Make sure your app is in tip-top shape before shipping it off to the app store/market, you don’t want it to get lost in the crowd.

Mobile Ads Get Two Thumbs Up (for accidental clicks)

No, I’m not interested in switching car insurance, I just have fat thumbs. Chances are, as a smartphone user, you have accidentally clicked on a mobile ad. This scenario was the subject of a recent Ad Age study, which found that most mobile ad clicks are indeed false positives. Take a look:

Consumers don’t appear to be turned off by mobile ads, according to a survey of nearly 10,000 people by Pew Research Center and The Economist Group. Half of tablet and smartphone users notice ads when they’re getting news on their mobile device. Of that amount, roughly 15% click on ads. “People notice ads on mobile devices and may be even more likely to click on them than they are to click on other digital ads,” the report states. A recent Ad Age study, in stark contrast, found that less than 1% of people click on digital ads regardless of the viewing platform.

But tech pros say the result may be less a measure of the quality of the ads than the size of users’ thumbs.“False positives, namely clumsy digits, are the real culprits here,” says Jonathan Rick, a digital communications consultant based in Washington, D.C. This will become less of a problem for frustrated smartphone owners as screen sizes continue to get bigger, he says. Others say the digital ad world doesn’t make it easy to avoid ads either. Mark Spoonauer, editor-in-chief at LaptopMag.com, says many mobile ads are designed so that the window-shuttering “X” button is so small, it makes the ad more difficult to vanquish. “I’ve seen many people accidentally click on ads in an effort to get rid of them,” he says.

Plus, the line between mobile marketing and entertainment is becoming blurred, experts say. “It’s difficult for users to tell the difference between ads and content on small devices,” says technology analyst Jeff Kagan. Facebook and Twitter both have personalized “sponsored” stories, which are effectively advertising by another name. Zynga, which makes apps like Angry Birds and Words with Friends, also has sponsored stories. Mobile advertising is expected to reach hit $20 billion by 2015 from $2 billion currently, says Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm, making up 40% of all online ads.

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Jolla Aims to Challenge iOS and Android

Nokia n9 Runs MeeGoNokia/Intel’s MeeGo operating system is taking another go at cracking the mobile market. Jolla, a mobile startup, is looking to launch its first device running MeeGo later this year. Jolla’s CEO Jussi Hurmola (formerly of Nokia) hopes the new OS will give Apple and Google a run for its mobile money.

The new devices featuring the Linux-based system haven’t been debuted yet, but Jussi recently spoke to Gigaom about what the market can expect from Jolla and why the company thinks it has a chance of making a splash.

So when’s that phone coming and what will it look like?
Hurmola:
We’re going to announce the smartphone later this year. When we announce it, we’ll also say when you can buy it. We’re setting up an ecosystem. You can’t do a smartphone without supporting developers, services, navigation — we are setting all that up.

It’s MeeGo with our own interface, and nice new features and functionality. We can talk about these when we come out with the product, but we want to get away from that [standard user experience of] opening and closing applications. That is a five-year-old design pattern and user experience. We want to go further. They’re pretty individualistic machines these days, smartphones. We want to be the phone that handles messaging, calendars and so on in an inclusive way, so you can have concepts like the family in the device.

We’re also talking about using the MeeGo software in other devices — not just Jolla. We want to make as big a wave as possible.

Fragmentation is a big issue with Android’s different form factors. How are you going to avoid the same problem?
One interesting thing about MeeGo is it supported multiple categories of devices, from car dashboards to smartphones and laptops. We feel that’s important for us, and we’ve been playing with our UI in different devices from TVs to featurephones, and are trying to make the framework and UI components scalable. We can enable physical variation while making it easy for developers to write Qt QML native apps. We understand developers need a stable platform and the smartphone will represent the default form of Jolla’s MeeGo-based platform.

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NFL Feeling the Heat: First the Refs, Now Their Mobile Strategy

An update to a mobile app should always be a good thing. That “Install Update” notification on your phone usually signifies that developers have added new fixes or features to make an app better – not worse. However, this wasn’t really the case for the NFL 12′ app.

When the NFL 12′ update released, the criticism began to flood in.  The updated app took some big steps backwards in terms of speed and cost. Zuri Berry of Boston.com reviewed the updated app herself:

“I think everybody is done complaining about the NFL’s impasse with the referees now that there has been a labor resolution. The zebras returned for Thursday night’s football game, and harmony was restored on the playing field.

But not in cyberspace. The complaints are still streaming in from the NFL’s mobile app (iOS, Android)…

….Basically, if you want to check scores from games with NFL ’12, anticipate a 5-minute delay or more. In tests on Sunday on the iPad, the app was clearly behind its competitors (the ESPN ScoreCenter for one).

But what’s more, and what has really angered reviewers in Apple’s app store, is the charges to watch video content after it was free in the app’s previous incarnation. Now the NFL charges mobile users $1.99 a week or $9.99 a season to see highlights, its “Fantasy Live” show, or NFL.com’s live look-in show for Thursday night football (not to be confused with any game action). This is completely separate from the “NFL Game Rewind” packages, which allow customers to watch full games a day after they air. There’s a separate app for that.”

Ironically, the app is available for free on your mobile browser. Having a free web app and a $1.99 native app just doesn’t seem to add up.

In addition, the speed issues the NFL is experiencing could be traced to a load issue or could be attributed to an actual bug. The only way to figure out what is causing the lag, is to put the app through some functional and load testing. Hopefully the NFL will be releasing an “update to the update” sooner than later – although, it will be hard to recover from all the App Store criticism.

Do you use the NFL 12’ app? Share your thoughts in the comments section.