Most Popular Smartphones in the Work Place

Most desired SmartphoneOn Monday we posted about CNET’s Friday Poll that asked readers who they thought was the top mobile manufacturer. Samsung came out on top of that informal survey … and according at a slightly more official survey conducted by Sophos the preference for an Android device wasn’t a fluke.

Sophos’ survey polled 500 people last year and focused on smartphones in the workplace. Here’s what they asked:

  • What phone OS does your company supply you with?
  • What phone OS do you WISH your company supplied you with?
  • Would you put up with more security on your personal smartphone if you could access work data?

The responses show that Blackberry is still on top when it comes to work issued phones, being in the hands of 37% of the respondents. 22% said they use work supplied iPhones and 20% are using Androids.

When it comes to what OS workers WISH their company supplied, Android pulled almost half of the vote. From Sophos:

When we asked you what smartphone you wished your company supplied you with, a whopping 41% said you wanted a smartphone running Google Android. Less than a third coveted Apple iPhone.

I found this a little surprising. True, you do have more flexibility with Android when compared to the iPhone. But the Google Play Android marketplace is currently more prone to malware; Google currently don’t police it as stringently as Apple manages its app store.

And finally, most pollees said they wouldn’t have a problem uping the security on their personal phones, but 28% would want their company to foot the monthly phone bills if that were the case.

 

uTest’s AppGrader in TechCrunch

A few days back we highlighted uTest’s launch of AppGrader for Android. How would the tech world react? Judging from a recently TechCrunch article, we’d say rather favorably. Here are a few excerpts from Sarah Perez’s latest piece, which included some interesting facts and figures about the Android ecosystem:

uTest, a company known for providing a variety of testing solutions for desktop, web and mobile, is launching a new solution designed to grade mobile apps’ performance under real-world conditions, and then compare the app’s rating with that of its competition. The solution, for obvious reasons (i.e., desperate need) is arriving first on Android, with an iOS version to follow soon. The app testing process takes just a few minutes, the company claims, and will then return a report grading the app on a scale of 1 to 100.

In addition to the score, the report also details any issues discovered during the app download, installation and basic usage. To provide more context, the AppGrader report, as it’s called, also compares the app’s grade to those of the most popular applications in the Android Market Google Play store that are found in the same app store category.

Although all mobile developers could benefit from more testing tools, there’s more of need to address the Android developer base first. On Android, developers don’t just have to deal with an incredible number of device types in the wild, they’re also constantly challenged by OS fragmentation, too. According to Google’s own statistics, only 4.9% of users are running the latest version of Android (Ice Cream Sandwich), 3.3% are stuck on the version just prior (Honeycomb) while 64.4% are on Gingerbread, which was first released back in December 2010. The remaining 27.4% are running versions that are even older, if you can believe it.

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Who’s the Top Smartphone Manufacturer? The People Vote

Which mobile manufacturer came out on top?The iPhone is the number one selling unit. More Android devices are being activated than any other phone. Samsung is crushing it. You can find headlines and articles supporting every one of those statements. You can also find headlines and articles saying the exact opposite of every one of those statements.

The point is, it’s difficult to really tell who is at the top of the mobile devices pack. Stats are always changing and most major companies don’t actually release their numbers – so it’s all speculation anyway. So instead of trying to do it the official way with sales figures and  market monitoring let’s take the pulse of the people.

CNET’s Friday Poll last week asked readers “Who’s the Top Smartphone Maker?” The options were: Apple, Samsung, Motorola, HTC or Other. More than 1,700 people voted. In the end, Samsung won out with 45% of the vote with Apple pulling in second with 31%. As far as “Others” go, I saw a few shout-outs for Blackberry, Nokia and Sony in the comments section. Get more information at CNET.

Which manufacturer do YOU think puts out a superior product? Let us know in the comments!

Steve Wozniak Loves His Windows Phone

Steve Wozniak – yes, that Steve Wozniak – went on the record recently about how much he enjoys the Windows Phone operating system, saying that, ‘”Every screen is much more beautiful than the same apps on Android and iPhone.” Yeah, we couldn’t believe it either.

Here’s more from the TheVerge.com:

He’s so impressed by it, in fact, that he defines the experience of using a Windows Phone as feeling like you’re “with a friend not a tool.” In his mind, navigating Android is a much more cumbersome experience, to the point where he sees “no contest” between that OS and Windows Phone — Microsoft’s software is much more to his liking. He even goes on to say that iOS is “more awkward” in its interactions than the Lumia phone he’s presently using, though his favorite smartphone still remains the iPhone. The deficit of third-party apps for WP is something he acknowledges as holding that platform back.

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Side By Side Android Comparisons

Many AndroidsEver wonder just how many different Android supporting phones are out there? With more than one manufacturer it’s hard to keep all the names straight, let alone all their corresponding stats. Well, here’s a few sites to help you get a handle on the Android hardware world.

Wikipedia has a page titled “Comparison of Android Devices” that lists phones from Acer, HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony, Sony Ericsson and “other manufactures.” For each phone featured the page details its name, release date, Android version, display details, inputs, networks, connectivity, CPU/GPU/Chipset, capacities, camera details and any special features or notes. More than 100 phones are listed. It is Wikipedia though, so don’t consider this an end-all-be-all list. Or, as our Direct of Sales Engineering Chris Monroe (who helpfully pointed out the sites for today’s post), puts it, “I know Wikipedia is not always the most accurate and up to date site [but] the page has an excellent breakdown most if not all devices that support the Android OS.”

The other site Chris came across is actually a lot of fun to play with. Android Phones Arena gives you a device breakdown by year. The main page offers a synopsis of what was going on in the world of Android during a particular year for 2008-2012. Once you select a year you see a nicely laid out chart that includes an image of each device followed by the state of its creation, manufacturer, release date, network, carriers, price, OS version, screen size, screen res, touchscreen and keyboard details, processor, memory, memory slot info, camera details, battery information, color availability, dimensions, weight and whether or not it included Wi-Fi, bluetooth, GPS and  compass capabilities. But what makes this site particularly fun to play around with is the ability to filter the devices not only by year, but by phones that are “available,” “confirmed” or just “rumored.” And as long as the site keeps being updated it’d be the perfect window shopping tool!

So there you go! They may not be perfect collections of all the talked-about, currently available and discontinued Androids out there but these two sites at least give you a good starting point. Have fun!

Apps You Can’t Test (On Windows Phone)

It’s no secret that the vast majority of apps exist in within the app stores of iOS and Android. It’s somewhat of a secret, however, that most of the major apps are also available in the Windows Phone marketplace. Not all, but most. To help get this point across, CNET.com recently posted the following chart:

As a WP7 user, I should point out that Google Maps is available (I have it on my device) and that Gmail can be synched with the Linked Inbox. The one that kills me is Pandora.There’s no excuse for that. Anyway….

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uTest Infographic: Which Android Devices Rock Apps

Do you play 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

Head to Head App Testing

Head to HeadWhen you’re testing a mobile app, you’re looking for things like functionality, usability and security. You probably form your own opinion of the app and maybe even compare it in your head to other, similar apps – but that’s not an official, reportable part of testing. Well, today we’re going to satisfy that human need to compare things.

Let’s start with PCWorld‘s comparison of mobile search apps from Google, Bing and Yahoo on Android. Here’s what they came up with:

Interface, Tools, and Navigation

Bing’s Beauty
Bing’s appeal is obvious from the moment you launch the app: Its full-screen interface is gorgeous. The app highlights the same image of the day on the desktop version of Bing. A list of search options runs down the screen, allowing you to choose from among images, videos, maps, local, deals, movies, news, shopping, and directions. …

Every Bing screen includes a search query bar at the top. You can enter a query by typing it, or you can press the microphone icon and then enter the query by voice. Bing’s voice recognition software worked flawlessly (as it did on the Google and Yahoo apps as well). Once you begin typing, Bing automatically pushes you to its search page, which displays suggestions as you type. This text-heavy page lacks the visual grace notes that Bing sports on its other pages. …

Overall Bing was most notable for delivering a slick, intuitive mobile search interface.

Favorite interface: Bing. With its mix of beauty and intuitive navigation, Bing looks great and is easy to use, too.

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What Do You Think of Custom UIs?

Let the debate beginThe debate about the benefits and challenges of custom UIs isn’t a new or revolutionary topic. On the plus side, they let users have more personalized control over what their phone looks like. On the down side, different UIs make it difficult for developers to anticipate how an app will function for any given user. There have been steps taken – like making a certain set of keys or icons mandatory on all UIs – to make things a little more uniform, but the larger question remains. Are custom skins worth the trouble they cause? As testers, I want to know what you think about this issue. I’m also curious about issues you’ve encountered while testing with a customized device. Any good stories to share with us in the comments?

To get your mind going, here’s Bonnie Cha of CNet with her two cents and a look at how a few different operating systems handle the issue:

It’s an issue that comes up most often with Android because of all the custom skins. Unless they’re offering a pure Google experience device, manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Motorola, and HTC are free to skin their smartphones and tablets with their personalized versions of Android. On the one hand, there’s value in the openness of Android, as it gives companies the opportunity to innovate and hopefully make the OS better.

I also understand why manufacturers do it. With limitations on what you can do with hardware design and specs, tweaking the software is an easy way to differentiate oneself from the competition.

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Devs Turned Off By Android Fragmentation

Developers losing interest in AndroidRemember that “deeper look at Android fragmentation” from a few days ago? Well, it’s looking like that fragmentation is beginning to cost Android some developer interest. According to a survey conducted by Appcelerator and IDC during January and February interest in developing for Android is slipping (at least among the 2,200 survey respondents). From TechNewsWorld:

Results show that interest in Android phone app development fell by nearly five percentage points over the past quarter to about 79 percent. Interest in Android tablets fell just over 2 percent to about 66 percent.

Meanwhile, iOS remains the leading platform for devs, with 89 percent of respondents to the survey saying they were very interested in developing for the iPhone and 88 percent wanting to create apps for the iPad. …

“Fragmentation is a major issue for Android, and so is commerce friction,” said Simon Khalaf, president and CEO of Flurry Analytics. “Developers are shying away from [the OS] because of these two [factors].” …

Although iOS remains the leading target for devs and HTML 5 is gaining strength, devs fleeing Android are not necessarily gravitating toward either of these two, Appcelerator’s King stated.

“We didn’t see additional growth in iOS interest, and it’s not towards HTML 5, so perhaps [the movement is] just away from Android,” he speculated. Appcelerator believes that a move away from Android could benefit Windows Phone 7 and floundering BlackBerry maker Research In Motion.

However, Flurry Analytics’ Khalaf believes iOS and Amazon, with its Kindle Fire, will benefit from the developers fleeing Android.

“Amazon has solved fragmentation and doing commerce for Android and is attracting developers, and Appl doesn’t suffer from that [fragmentation] issue,” Khalaf said.

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