10 Apps for Improving Your Health

Looking to improve your health? There’s an app for that – actually several.

A recent post by Doctor Joseph Kim, in Network World, presents a list of the top 10 mobile health and wellness apps:

  1. Pedometer – Start quantifying your level of activity and track how far you walk
  2. Endomondo Sports Tracker - Track your workout progress, heart rate and burned calories
  3. Fitness Buddy – Learn how to exercise properly with the right form, or learn new workouts from a library of more than 1,700 exercises
  4. White Noise Lite – Drown out distracting sounds with white noise so you can sleep soundly
  5. Calorie Counters - There are loads of popular calorie counting apps such as Calorie Counter, Lose It!, MyPlate, and Tap & Track Calorie Counter
  6. Meal Snap - Snap a photo of your meal and find out how many calories are in it
  7. WebMD - This app is a comprehensive health app with features like Symptom Checker
  8. iTriage - Find the nearest hospital or care using this app,  and even check wait times in different emergency rooms
  9. Pill Reminders - This app provides set reminders for remembering to take your pills
  10. My Medical - Keep track of your medical history with this application

What’s your favorite wellness app? Let us know in the comments section.

 

Common Mobile App Mistakes to Avoid

Believe it or not, there are actually mobile app mistakes that don’t involve testing. Radar O’Reilly lists ten of them in this great article. Here are the first three:

Mistake 1. Begin coding immediately

Many fail in the mobile space because they start developing their app as soon as they have an idea. In the extreme case, those with programming skills will actually start coding the app immediately. The first steps, however, should be focused on business and strategy aspects; pixels and design or coding and development come later in the process.

Mistake 2. Ignore competitors and alternatives

One of those business and strategy aspects that many pursuing apps ignore is to identify and use competitor apps. Understanding what competitors do well and where they’ve come up short will provide guidance on what features to develop and how to differentiate an app. Similarly, learning from top apps in app stores or even real-world alternatives, can reveal opportunities for innovation.

Mistake 3. Be purposeless

Wanting a million dollars shouldn’t be the sole motivation for building an app. At the same time, app stores are likely one of the best places to pursue a new venture right now. Ultimately though, it is still a new venture and any new venture comes with a certain amount of risk. Outlining clear short- and long-term goals, that are aspirational yet attainable, will provide a much better foundation for success.

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Reality TV Voting App Crashed By Load

Please Stand ByPeople love reality TV. People also love an underdog story. So it it any wonder that viewing audiences flock to talent contest-esque shows that let them vote for their favorites? This phenomena is nothing new, but what was new a few years ago was the option to text your vote instead of sitting on an old fashioned phone line. What’s the next logical step after text-to-vote? Why, an app of course! Except apps require quite a bit more testing than the time-tested texting network. Unfortunately, a TV company in Britain didn’t take that into account. Here’s what happened (from Paid Content):

When UK commercial TV leader ITV announced it would take voting for its Britain’s Got Talent show via mobile app this May, it was supposed to herald the next step in the premium mobile TV participation phenomenon.

But insufficient testing meant the broadcaster could not process half of votes paid for by mobile users, and ITV had to abandon the app mid-series. In a complaint adjudication published by Ofcom on Monday, ITV said it had lost 51 percent of votes which came in via the mobile app.

A lack of load testing and insufficient network capacity was officially blamed for the blunder. ITV, the television network whose app failed mid-season, point-blank says the app’s creators did not perform enough testing before launch. It also announced that it will have more hands-on involvement with all future app testing (a good approach since it’s ultimately ITV that people will remember when they think of the disappointing app). Here’s their official statement:

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The End of Cash as We Know It?

The following is a guest post on mobile payments from Michelle Ma. Michelle is a marketing specialist and occasional blogger at Fueled, a mobile design company in New York City.

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In today’s world, when you want to buy an iced coffee, they ask you, “cash or credit?” In a few select locations around the country, though, there’s an additional option: mobile payment.

Think of all the hassle that comes along with paying for your purchases in the traditional ways: you fumble around for your wallet, probably deep within the clutter of your purse or pockets, finally reach for it and fumble around some more to find your credit card. If that particular merchant happens to not accept credit, you have to do some additional fumbling for cash (perhaps dropping a few coins along the way). Not to mention the additional time you spend waiting for change.

The Big Players

With this new trend in mobile development, you can buy a drink without taking out your wallet (or even your phone with the Square app). And for merchants, long gone are the hassles of applying and waiting for approval after a lengthy credit check; Square allows small businesses everywhere to get on the credit card bandwagon with their Square Card Reader and Square Register. The card reader is free and connects to any Android, iPhone, or iPad, and all you need for your own professional register is an iPad and the free Square Register app.

Beyond Square, many other companies have launched their own forms of mobile payment, from the ubiquitous Google Wallet to eBay’s PayPal. An increasing number of credit card businesses and financial giants are trying their hand at e-payments, but the irony in this is that the more different forms of payment that exist, the less likely merchants would be willing to convert to mobile payment. Without a universally accepted format, both consumers and merchants will be slow to convert, especially since cash and/or credit are readily accepted everywhere.

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Video: How Facebook Develops Mobile Apps

The new direction Facebook is taking is further proof that the tech world is focused on mobile app development. As covered by Alex Williams of TechCrunch, Facebook’s Peter Deng recently spoke about the company’s new mission to focus on mobile development. In the video below – from the stage at the TechCrunch CrunchUp yesterday – Deng says, “It’s a start of a new journey for us… we’re set up to shift very quickly on mobile, now.” Throughout the clip Deng emphasizes that smartphones are now the most important personal computing devices we own. Check out the video below:

Ice Cream Sandwich Finally Gains Market Share

Android's Ice Cream SandwichGingerbread has been the dominate Android platform for a while now, retaining its title through the releases of Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean. But the ranks are shifting and interestingly it’s not because of the latest release – Jelly Bean. Instead, it looks like things are beginning to pick up for Ice Cream Sandwich.

In June, (when uTest published 8 Tips for Android App Testing) this is what the Android platform usage stats looked like:

Gingerbread: 64%
Froyo: 19%
Ice Cream Sandwich: 7%
Eclair: 5%

But now, Ice Cream Sandwich has jumped a whopping 9 percentage points and to claim 16% of all Android share. The share shift dropped Gingerbread down to 60%, dipped Froyo to 15.5% and (finally) left Eclair far behind with only 4%.

As far as Android’s newest confection, Jelly Bean is sitting at a measly .8% – but that’s sure to change as more devices get the roll out. Besides, it took Ice Cream Sandwich awhile to gain traction.

Are Android or iOS Apps Easier to Test?

Mobile apps are a big deal, and by 2015 IDC predicts that 182.7 billion mobile apps will be downloaded. This makes testing apps early on to identify technical, design and functional challenges that much more crucial.

One of the biggest testing challenges is testing apps across platforms. Apps on both Android and iOs devices need to be tested differently, and both present very different challenges. In this webinar, Mobile Test Expert Elena Houser, presents mobile app testing best practice tips – and breaks down the major differences between testing for Android or iOs. Check out the presentation below:

A Famous Hacker Talks Mobile Security

Mobile security is a hot topic – and not just on this blog. Prior to the recent 2012 Blackhat event, ComputerWorld interviewed Kevin Mitnick, one of the most notorius hackers security professioanls of all-time. Here is a short clip:

Do you believe exploiting NFC vulnerabilities, such as when people pay with their smartphones, have the potential to be goldmines for malicious attackers?

Mitnick: NFC vulnerabilities require physical access to the device, which requires being near the target. Malicious attackers will try to gain remote control of the device instead of having to risk being close to the target. Also, attackers will likely send 100 emails with malicious links to your organization (see KnowBe4.com) instead of attempting to get near the victim. Without any additional security controls with VPN access, smartphones are the easiest way to infiltrate an organization remotely. As such, layers of security are a must! That’s why I believe that zCore IPS adds value as a layer of protection against malicious attackers.

In regard to joining Zimperium’s team, you said, “Mobile devices are the new target-rich environment. Based on lessons learned in the early days of the personal computer, businesses should adopt a proactive approach to mobile security so they don’t repeat the same mistakes that resulted in billions of dollars in economic loss.” What do you think are the biggest security threats on the horizon for mobile devices?

Mitnick: We can see the same issues affecting the computing world. For example, smartphone updates are not rolled out in a timely fashion and the existing users remain exposed.

If you have a horse in the mobile security race, you’d be wise to read the rest of this interview.

Learn iOS App Testing

iOS DevicesInterested in testing iOS apps but don’t know where to start? Or maybe you’re developing an iOS app and are afraid you’ll overlook something vital. Well fear not! uTest has two, yes two, different ways to help you get acquainted with the ins and outs of iOS app testing.

Start by reading The Essential Guide to iOS Testing. This whitepaper will walk you through:

  • The different aspects of the iOS matrix to consider (there’s more to cover than you’d think)
  • iOS app problem areas – from tricky UI features to common App Store rejection reasons
  • Tips that will save you time before you even start testing
  • Tools to help you cover everything that needs to be done

So before you send an app to the App Store for review take a look at our Essential Guide to make sure you’re not missing something important or wasting time.

If you’re looking for a more interactive form of learning, check out our up-coming Introduction to iOS Testing webinar. Amy Klatt, a gold rated uTester, will be leading webinar attendees through the steps of:

  • Setting up your device for testing and properly installing and handling a test app
  • A walk-through on capturing logs and useful screenshots
  • How to report useful, successful bugs

The Introduction to iOS Testing webinar will be on Wednesday, August 8 at 1PM (Eastern).

There you go, two resources to get you well on your way to comprehensive, successful iOS app testing!