Apps You Won’t Be Testing on iOS Soon

iOS 6 may render some apps obsoleteiOS 6 introduced a whole slew of new built-in features and apps to the iOS community. Unfortunately for developers and testers, those new features may make their market share obsolete. Here are some of the potentially hardest hit areas, according to TechCrunch:

Turn-by-Turn Navigation
The most obvious app makers who will be affected are probably Garmin and TomTom, famous leaders in the space that sell GPS-based navigation apps at a premium. Both have USA navigation apps priced at around $50 on the Apple App store today. … But forget about the big guys: There are a number of startups and free apps that could also be hurt by an improved Maps app.

Payment and Loyalty Programs
The introduction of Apple’s PassBook could be great for consumers, as it has the potential to allow them to aggregate all sorts of “passes” all in one place: That includes stuff like boarding passes, store cards, and movie tickets to start, but there are all sorts of possibilities here to disrupt the larger mobile payments industry, as well as upend a whole bunch of smaller loyalty programs that are emerging on iOS.

Offline Readers and Bookmarks
The new offline reading lists will allow users to cache entire websites rather than just individual links. For users who have to date relied on Instapaper, Pocket, Spool, or other apps to save content for reading during their commutes or when not connected to the Internet, having the same native capability built into iOS could obviate the need for those apps.

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iPay? iPaid? Apple Testing Mobile Payments

We’re not sure what it’ll be called, but we do know that Apple has signed on with Seattle-based Pirq to offer food and drink daily deals to Bay-area employees. As far as beta testing projects go, it doesn’t get much more exciting than this.

Here are the details via TechCrunch:

The deal with Apple being announced today will see discounts of between 20 percent and 50 percent at nearly 50 venues in Cupertino, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale and Mountain View, and it is Pirq’s jumping-off point for offering a wider service in San Francisco further down the line — within the next 12 months, according to Pirq. To date, the company’s service has only been available in Seattle, where it launched in September 2011.

Pirq’s deal with Apple is partly the result of an existing relationship that both companies have with Passport Unlimited, which has been working with Apple for the past six years offering eating discounts to its employees. Pirq’s chairman, Roger Blier, is the founder and CEO of Passport Unlimited.

Although Pirq was getting ready to announce this news itself today, we actually heard about it first from a tipster at Apple, who got in touch, enthusiastically, to say how great the service was.

As the tipster pointed out, the difference between what Pirq does and what, say, Groupon offers is that Pirq pre-sets the discounts with restaurants and doesn’t require users to pay for the service upfront before redeeming it.

“I just think it’s really cool that our family gets deals like 50% without ever having to buy them like Groupon,” the anonymous tipster noted to me. (A screen shot of how the Apple offering looks is the illustration for this post.)

Read the rest here >>

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.


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!

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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The Best of the Best iOS Apps

Apple Announces the Top 100 Apps of All TimeIn honor of the 25,000,000,000th (billionth) app download, Apple released a list of the top 100 all-time most downloaded apps. They divided the list into four categories – listing the top 25 most downloaded free and paid apps for iPhone and iPad. It appears that the page has since disappeared from Apple proper and now just redirects to the regular iTunes page, but thanks to the internet the list is not gone forever! Razorianfly has helpfully re-posted the list. Here are the top 10 from each category:

Top Paid iPhone Apps

  1. Angry Birds
  2. Fruit Ninja
  3. Doodle Jump
  4. Cut the Rope
  5. Angry Birds Seasons
  6. Words With Friends
  7. Tiny Wings
  8. Angry Birds Rio
  9. Pocket God
  10. Camera+

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Andriod App Downloads Catching Up to iOS

Android catching up to iOSApple got a jump start on the app world when it launched its revolutionary iPhone in 2007. Since then, iOS has maintained its status as top the OS when it comes to app downloads (despite being eclipsed by Android devices). But it’s beginning to lose ground in Europe and experts are predicting Android downloads in the US will overtake iOS within the next month or two. Here’s TechCrunch with more details:

Figures out today from analytics firm Xyologic note that Android now accounts for the majority of downloads in the U.K., Germany and Russia, and predicts that the U.S. will be the next to go Google in either March or April. This is a sea change from months past, when Apple – the early mover in apps – has always dominated in app download activity, despite the fact that it has been trailing other platforms in terms of users.

Xyologic says that this now means that Android is dominating in nine different countries in app downloads, representing a mix of advanced and still-developing markets. In addition to the U.K., Germany and Russia, Android became the dominant platform in Czech Republic, Poland and Portugal in August 2011; it took over in Brazil in October and Spain in November.

In all three markets named today, the gap between Apple and Android is fairly big: the U.K. had 90.9 million app downloads for iOS, with 99.1 million for Android. Germany saw 59.5 million app downloads for iOS and 64.9 million on Android; and Russia had 38.4 million iOS downloads with 41.9 million for Android.

Read more at TechCrunch >>>

On a side note, Apple just passed its 25 billionth app download (worldwide).

Top Apps of 2012 … So Far

AppsForget the other 10 months of the year, THESE are THE apps of 2012! At least, the lists that are starting to pop up would have you think so.

Time put out a list of the “50 Best iPhone Apps 2012.” I can’t tell if they’re in any particular order, but numbers 1-10 are:

  • Find My iPhone
  • ShopSavvy
  • Dragon Go!
  • Weather Underground
  • Kayak
  • GasBuddy
  • Angry Birds
  • MapQuest 4 Mobile
  • Fandango
  • Yelp

Check out the full list at Time >>>

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How Many Apps Do You Have?

iCloudThe average smartphone user has 65 apps on their phone (according to a Flurry estimate). (Even I – who hates clutter, even on my phone – have 40 some-odd apps!) But what if you’re a mobile app tester instead of a casual user? You could easily have five times that average on your phone, especially if you’re like Sarah Perez at TechCrunch, who doesn’t like deleting apps. Even the ones she doesn’t use anymore.

The average smartphone user has 64 mobile apps installed on their mobile device. I’m ahead of the curve. I have around 400. It’s pushing nearly 7 GB of storage. Granted, many of these apps were installed for testing purposes only – they aren’t used daily by any means. But my real problem is that I’m not inclined to remove apps I don’t use. They just sit there on the phone, abandoned, languishing on the back screens. I could delete them, but I don’t. You know…just in case.

But she may have found a solution for her over-crowded phone problem – albeit a work-in-progress type of solution:

The promise of iCloud, as I see it, is that these apps can disappear from the iPhone’s homescreen, but never have to fully disappear from reach. They can be recalled through a simple search. …

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