Issues with Apple’s Passbook

Apple PassbookMaps on iOS 6 certainly got a lot of flack, but Erica Ogg of Gigaom felt like the new Passbook feature was also rushed to production. Here’s Erica’s list of why she feels Passbook still has a ways to go:

Setting up Passbook involves many more steps than you would think.
Why is it necessary to download one app just to use another app?

The implementation of notifications is odd.
A notification appeared on my screen from United with my flight time. It stayed there all day, even to a certain point after the flight. It wasn’t clickable and nothing I did would make it go away.

What happened to the location-aware notification advertised?
The way Apple described it, when my iPhone 5′s GPS detected I was near the airport the pass would pop up on my screen so I wouldn’t have to go searching for it.

Using the app more than once breaks the experience.
The link to the App Store within Passbook? It completely disappeared. And there’s nothing that tells me how to find it.

Brightness doesn’t correspond to the setting for the whole phone.
Passbook passes still display with the brightness of a thousand suns (or so).

It doesn’t appear to be designed for the iPhone 5 screen.
Passbook appears on the iPhone 5 screen the way the apps whose developers have not yet modified their apps for the new 4-inch screen do.

Read Erica’s full article at Gigaom >>>

For Apple’s history of not releasing products until “they just work” it sure seems like they rushed iOS 6 and some of its hallmark features.

Mobile App Shopping Increases Among Younger Shoppers

No need to clip or print coupons anymore – or even go to the store for that matter. The increasing popularity of mobile app shopping is drastically changing the retail space. In fact, many users are making in-app purchases instead of shopping all together.

A recent Econsultancy survey covered by TechCrunch broke down the adoption of mobile shopping by age group. Unsurprisingly the 18-34 age group ranked highest in both mobile shopping purchases and mobile shopping price comparisons. Here are two of the charts, see the full post here:

 

 

 

10 Things to Know About BlackBerry 10

Blackberry 10

While it may seem like Android and iOS have such a lead that no other operating systems have chance of catching them, don’t count the others out just yet. Research in Motion is getting ready to launch its new platform version, and it has some pretty interesting features in the works.

Blackberry 10 was originally supposed to hit the market sometime this year, but the launch date has been pushed to early next year. Despite the delay, RIM discussed the new platform version at a recent Blackberry Jam event. Here’s what you need to know about the newest offering:

  • Blackberry is jumping on the touchscreen band wagon. Only select devices will still sport physicalkeyboards
  • Some BB 10 devices will be  entirely gesture based – without a button or key in sight
  • The ability to jump back and forth between apps with Blackberry’s “Flow” feature
  • One central location (the “Blackberry Hub”) that manages all your communications – from emails to Facebook messages to notifications.
  • Its own app store called App World (which already promises social media apps from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and LinkedIn)
  • Reported easy porting for Android apps
  • A feature called Blackberry Balance will help BYOD users keep their personal and professional apps and data separate
  • Blackberry Enterprise Service 10 (BES 10) is geared toward enterprise customers and will allow organizations to control mobile device management, security, infrastructure and app management from one central location. Supported devices include BB 10, BB 7m BB Playbook tables and iOS and Android devices.
  • Auto-complete will function across multiple languages (even within the same message)
  • Standby to find out which carriers will get BB 10

It’s fairly clear that RIM is aiming to take back its dominate position among business users and company-supplied phones. With features like BES 10 and Blackberry Balance, the OS has a good shot.

Thought BB 10 is looming on the horizon, RIM has stated that it has no plans to stop supporting and updating BB 7 (which is a good thing, since it’s not clear yet if BB 7 users will be able to update their existing devices to 10). What this means for developers and testers is that – like the fragmentation involved with other operating systems – Blackberry will have two major, very different platform versions that will need custom apps. You still have a few more months to get ready, so start working!

Mobile App Testing – An Interview with uTest’s Matt Johnston

Greetings, uTest Nation and its followers, I’m back to serve in my role as the guy who does that thing that we don’t like to do too much of around here at blog central – talk about ourselves.

Well, not really. I’m actually here to share an excellent interview that STP‘s Rich Hand conducted with uTest’s Chief Marketing Officer Matt Johnston. In the interview, Hand and Johnston discuss ways in which the current burgeoning app economy has elevated the game for the way enterprise businesses conduct mobile app testing. Johnston also describes the importance of testing mobile apps in the wild and what it means for QA professionals.

The interview comes just a few weeks ahead of Johnston’s Mobile-themed keynote at the annual STP conference in Miami.

Listen to the interview today and look for more updates on uTest’s busy fall conference schedule in the coming weeks!

 

9 Reasons Why Nobody Wants Your Mobile App & How To Fix It

No one is downloading your app and you don’t know why. In addition to overlooking mobile app testing, there are a lot of other common mistakes developers make, causing their apps to sink to the bottom of the app store. This guest post is written by Jimmy Wentz, a budding freelance tech writer. Jimmy writes regularly about O2 and the latest developments in the tech, mobile and gaming world. In this guest post, Jimmy highlights the 9 reasons why noone likes your app, and provides best practices for fixing it. 

A recent Gartner Inc. report estimates that, as of this year (2012) global app downloads will surpass 45.6 billion. Around 90% of this will be from downloads of free apps while premium (paid for) apps will round up the rest of the pie chart with 5 billion.

And with the Galaxy S3, Iphone 5, and “new-kid-on-the-block” Nokia Lumia 920 recently hitting the market (not counting the plethora of tablets already available), we can only expect these numbers to grow even further. This is a truly golden age for the mobile app industry.

So how’s your app doing?

If your app is kicking “Angry Birds” in the butt in terms of popularity or is being touted as the next “Instagram” then congratulations! You obviously know what you are doing. But what if you don’t know what you are doing? And the only thing you have to show for yourself is an app that’s been sitting around in the app store / market for quite some time now. Wallowing in sad virtual dust. If you feel that your app is not getting the attention it deserves, then it may help to look at these top 9 reasons why people don’t want to download or use your mobile app, and tips on what you can do better.

9. Your App Is NOT User Friendly

The Problem: Your mobile app is not designed for human beings. It takes 10 agonizing steps to accomplish anything on your app where less insane apps only make you take one or two to do the same thing.

How to Fix It: Familiarize yourself with the best practices in mobile user experience. Websites like SmashingMagazine and uxbooth are great places to start learning the principles of good User Experience to help you create more usable apps. If you still can’t get it right, hire a professional User Experience (UX) designer to do the job.

8. Your App is Ridiculously Over-Price

The Problem: Your app costs an arm and a leg (and my liver

How to Fix It: Yes, you spent a lot of time and energy creating your mobile app. You can even say you “invested” in it, hiring programmers and designers and all. But ponder upon the fact that most paid apps nowadays range anywhere from 0.99 USD to 4.99 USD. If your users cannot see the value of spending that much money on your app then it will all be for naught.

Consider a “Freemium” strategy, where you have a “free” or “lite” version to get new users hooked, and then offer a more advanced version for those willing to pay more for the added functionalities/ features.

7. Your App Store Description Sucks

The Problem: Whoever wrote-up the product description and other marketing content did a terrible job describing the app. Worse, there is no description at all!

How to Fix It: You’ve only got precious few seconds to convince people to download your app. A distinctive and eye-catching app icon will grab people’s attention immediately and make you stand out from the rest.

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A Side-By-Side Nook Comparison

Barnes & Noble now has four versions of it’s e-reader/table Nook on the market. The Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight is the same thing as the original Nook but with a brighter screen. But the recent releases of the Nook HD and Nook HD+ brought a world of differences to the Nook family. A world a differences that will call for extra testing. Let’s take a side-by-side look at the three B&N tablets courtesy of engadget:

Nook Comparison

The dimension, resolution and pixel density differences will undoubtedly be the biggest challenges for developers and testers trying to make sure apps work flawlessly on all three Nooks.

Test Drive uTest Apphance

ApphanceLast month we launched uTest Apphance, a new mobile quality tool that makes it easy for mobile app developers to understand how their apps are working across a wide range of mobile devices, carriers and locations. Since then, the response has been incredible. Hundreds of customers have already signed up for Apphance, and each day we’re delivering mobile developers incredible amounts of information about crashes and bugs.

Still, as we’ve talked to our customers about Apphance, some of them have asked us to share with them a working example – an app where they could kick the tires and get to know how Apphance works.

We think that trying out Apphance should be as easy as possible. That’s why we’re pleased to announce new Apphance demo apps for iOS and Android (available in Github). These “Hello World” apps are basic projects that already have Apphance installed and ready to go.

Learn more and watch tutorial videos at the Software Testing Blog >>>

Government Keeping an Eye on Mobile App Landscape

Government watches mobile landscapeDepartments of the US Government have been taking steps to keep an eye on the consumer mobile space. Their goal is to ensure this new field keeps the public’s interest in mind as it continues to advance. Let’s take a look at what’s been happening lately.

FCC and Mobile Broadband

The Federal Communications Commission has been monitoring land-line broadband connections and speed for a few years. Now, the Commission is looking to include mobile broadband speeds into its annual “Measuring Broadband America” report. This step is part of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan which is an attempt to “improve the availability of information for consumers about their broadband service.” Several major wireless carriers and CTIA (the wireless association) have already agreed to work with FCC to measure and report speeds.  The Commission is also looking to include citizen research groups in the effort and held an open meeting on this topic last week. Read more about the FCC’s plan in their press release posted by engadget.

Commerce Department and Mobile App Privacy

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (a branch of the Commerce Department) has been gathering a group of privacy advocates and mobile app stakeholders to discuss the current state and future of mobile data and consumer privacy. This series of meetings is intended to give the two groups a chance for discussion, to work out details and set vague parameters that will help guide a future mobile app code of conduct the NTIA hopes to create. From PCWorld:

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Survey Shows Developers are Confident in Native

 A few weeks ago Facebook’s Mark Zukerburg openly admitted that focusing too much on HTML5 was a mistake, and that the company will now be all-in on native development. Now, a recent survey as covered by Ryan King of Gigaom, shows that developers strongly agree. In fact, two-thirds of developers believe that Facebook in its current state could get pushed aside by a startup with a mobile-first focus.

But that’s not all the study found. The study also showed that developers are not happy with HTML5:

“The developers also expressed their disappointment with many of the features in HTML5. Developers said they were neutral to disappointed with HTML5′s monetization (83.4 percent), security (81.8 percent), fragmentation (75.4 percent), performance (72.4 percent), timeliness of updates (67.9 percent), user experience (62 percent) and distribution control (60.3 percent). Developers were only positive on HTML5′s cross-development capabilities (83.4 percent) and immediate updates (81.8 percent).”

It looks like HTML5 is becoming more of a burden than an “easy to build and maintain” app type. So what does the future hold? The study also mentioned that developers predict by 2015 they’ll be writing a lot of mobile apps for devices even beyond smartphones and tablets. Some of their predictions included native apps for televisions, cars, game consoles, Google Glass, and foldable screens. If the native-focus continues to grow , and the places native apps exist continues to grow; we may be moving towards a native-reliant world.

What are your thoughts on the native vs. HTML5 debate? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

 

Developer “Must-Knows” About iOS 6 App Store Ratings

Developers depend on App Store ratings for the success of their applications. When updates are made to App Stores, it can really throw off development teams. The iOS 6 update has caused a panic about changes to the Apple App Store, with many dev teams claiming that the updated App Store rates apps differently.

An article by Darrell Etherington in TechCrunch explains that it is not the app store rankings that have changed, but rather the app store functions like Search, etc.:

“….the evidence actually points to there being no or minimal changes to the actual algorithm governing rankings, and instead any changes are due more to other shifts, like the way search works and how the top charts are set up.

‘If the algorithm had indeed been changed to a system based on anything other than the velocity of downloads, the repercussions would have been obvious and fast,’ he explained in an email. ‘If the algorithm were based purely on sessions then Facebook would not be dislodged. We can already see that a good amount of apps are resuming their positions after the initial drop in rank. So the message is simple, carry on as normal and understand as best you can the App Store dynamics.’

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