57% of Developers Interested in Windows Phone

Windows 8Windows 8 has a lot of people excited, and that includes more than half the developers who participated in a recent online survey. VisionMobile collected data from more than 1,500 global mobile developers and found that 57% plan to develop for Windows Phone in the future. Though the platform in attractive, if things don’t get moving soon it all might end up being nothing but talk. From TechCrunch:

Windows phone, say the survey’s authors, “is indeed the new cool,” but “to turn the buzz into developer buy-in at the levels of iOS and Android, actual adoption must follow soon or fall flat.”

One area that’s especially attractive to developers, it seems, is the ease of coding and prototyping apps for Microsoft’s mobile platform, as well as the relatively low cost of development and low learning curve.

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The Challenges of Android UI Design

Android FragmentationAndroid device fragmentation makes developing and testing more challenging, but it also apparently effects how visually appealing Android apps are. According to “prevailing conventional wisdom” among developers, it is easier to make a “highly polished, elegant-looking app” for iOS – and the major reason is simply Android fragmentation. Wired talked to UI/UX designers and app developers from Hipmunk and Karma to find out why iOS apps generally look better than their Android counterparts. From Wired:

When coding for iOS, developers deal with a very limited number of screen resolutions and hardware profiles. But when coding for Android, developers have to resolve a virtually limitless set of device parameters.

“Android devices come in different shapes and sizes, different screen resolutions, different device speeds — and that’s actually a huge hurdle,” Karma app co-founder Lee Linden told Wired. “You need to be testing out something like 20 different phones with different resolutions and different processors, and that definitely makes development slower.”

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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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How Top Android Apps are Tested

Android MatrixWe talk about the testing matrix, well, all the time. It can seem intimidating. And, in fact, that was the complaint from some readers regarding a recent TechCrunch article detailing how a few developers test their Android apps.

Striving to uphold journalistic integrity and remain unbiased, TechCrunch writer Kim-Mai Cutler took the complaints to heart and reached out to more developers to get a fuller picture of Android QA practices. Here’s a snapshot of how four developers with successful apps do their testing (from TechCrunch):

Red Robot Labs (Veteran founding team from EA, Playdom and Crowdstar. More than 3.5 million downloads. They currently have the #27 top-grossing game in the Google Play store.)

Red Robot uses about 12 devices in-house and has a quality assurance team of two people. They then use a U.K.-based company called Testology to get further coverage with 35 handsets.

Pocket Gems (More than 70 million downloads. Newer to Android, but they had two of the top 10 grossing iOS games for all of last year according to Apple’s iTunes Rewind. #35 top-grossing game in Google Play.)

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Picture: The Mobile Testing Web

Are you more of a visual learner who’s having a hard time wrapping their head around the incredibly complex and sprawling mobile testing matrix? Well Adventures in QA recently pointed us in the direction of an amazing “mobile mindmap” that will help you get a handle on it.

Mobile Mindmap

This awesome mindmap is the product of a Mobile Testing Course with Karen Johnson sponsored by the Ministry of Testing (an initiative by The Software Testing Club).

Mobile Employees are Workaholics

Mobile employees are workaholicsHopefully you enjoyed a long weekend with no work whatsoever. But if you work in mobile that probably wasn’t the case. According to a new study by iPass, an enterprise global WI-FI network provider, mobile employees tend to be workaholics. From PCWorld:

Almost two-thirds of mobile employees say they are working 50 to 60 hour-plus weeks, with most working weekends too, according to research. …

Enterprise global Wi-Fi network provider iPass surveyed 1,700 mobile employees at 1,100 enterprises worldwide, and found there was almost a 20 percent increase in a year of mobile workers reporting they were waking up through the night due to stress.

The survey also found that 88 percent of these wireless heads thought cable-free access was “as important to their lives, or almost, as running water and electricity”. Another 95 percent reported significant reductions in their job productivity without wireless access.

Also, 58 percent of mobile workers expressed frustration accessing corporate applications that are not optimised for smartphones and tablets.

Maybe not surprisingly mobile usage is causing “slightly increased friction” in mobile workers’ personal lives with their partners, family and friends. The highest amount of friction was reported in Europe at 38 percent.

Read the full article at PCWorld >>>

How many hours a week do you work? Are there any times when you totally put away all electronic devices?

And ANOTHER App Store! This Time it’s Gamefly

Gamefly goes mobileIn February I wrote about Mozilla’s plans to launch a cross-platform app store. Two weeks ago I wrote about Facebook’s new app center. And here we are again, with another new app store announcement. I’m beginning to feel like a broken record.

This time Gamefly, the video game subscription company, is throwing its hat in the ring. Not only is the company planning on producing Android and iOS apps, it will also create its own gaming app hub for Android. From the Gamefly press release (via engadget):

GameFly, Inc., the leading video game service, announced today its plans to begin publishing mobile games for the iOS and Android platforms, as well as launching the independent GameFly GameStore for Android later this fall. …

GameFly will also expand its mission to be the top resource for all gaming needs, offering expertly curated Android games in the GameFly GameStore with thousands of the best games and daily deals. With its large social network for gamers, game discovery will also be made easier via friend recommendations, and ratings and reviews from fellow gamers.

“GameFly is dedicated to giving consumers the best user experience possible, and to be their single destination for console, PC and mobile gaming needs,” said Sean Spector, GameFly co-founder and SVP of Business Development and Content. “We plan to be a leading player in mobile games by launching our retail GameStore for Android.”

Read the full press release at engadget>>>

Get Ready to Test Some Windows Phone Apps

Windows Phone Developers SummitSure, you probably spend most of your testing time with Android and iOS apps, but if Microsoft has its way that will be changing soon. A month from today Microsoft will be hosting a developer summit – just another way the company hopes to encourage mobile app developers to pick up the WP OS. Here’s some details from CNET:

Microsoft is serious about closing the gap separating its Windows Phone application Marketplace from Android’s Google Play and iPhone’s App Store. The San Francisco location couldn’t be a better spot to tap into Silicon Valley’s software-development mojo.

It isn’t that the Redmond giant hasn’t tended its app garden, which it had to restart from scratch after plowing under its previous Windows Mobile platform. In fact, Microsoft has been actively seeking top app shops and independent coders before ever announcing its first Windows phone.

The Windows Phone Marketplace has been seeing steady growth and some big milestones over the past few months. At last count it had 80,000 apps (compared to 30,000 a year ago). And according to CNET, this is likely just the tip of the iceberg.

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Developers Not Trading Ice Cream Sandwich for Jelly Bean

Jelly BeansTesters, are you excited for Android 5, aka Jelly Bean, that is rumored to be hitting devices this fall? Well, don’t hold your breath, because developers aren’t. According to an article in PCWorld (via InfoWorld), developers are excited about Jelly Bean, but they’re not holding off production or deferring schedules for the new OS version. From PCWorld:

Android developers at this week’s AnDevCon developer conference were too busy dealing with current releases like Android 4 “Ice Cream Sandwich” to stall their development efforts for yet another OS upgrade. “You have to deal with what’s available now,” said Chris Morris, a developer for the Weather Channel.

“Jelly Bean” does sound interesting, said Michael Luongo, a developer specializing in media-sharing application at TechSmith. He’s been building “Ice Cream Sandwich” applications for about six months. “Everybody I think wants to monetize [their application] now,” so news of a possible new Android version isn’t derailing current efforts.

Developers David Mathisen, of Allegiance Software, and Teresa Jiminez Arreola, of France Telecom R&D, had similar sentiments. Neither wants to hold off and wait for Android’s next upgrade. “I want to make sure that everybody can use our app that has an Android phone,” Mathisen said.

Read the full article at PCWorld >>>

Jelly Bean is rumored to include Chrome browser integration, better enterprise security and better power management. While those features will undoubtedly excited developers when Android 5 is released, they aren’t at the top of mind for the time being. So you’re just going to have to keep snacking on Ice Cream Sandwish, Gingerbread and Honeycomb for a bit longer testers.

Picture This: Android Fragmentation Across 4K Devices

You know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words? Well in the case of Android fragmentation – a subject discussed at great length here and on the uTest blog – a picture is worth a few thousand devices.

The image you’re seeing is a data chart of thousands of separate device models encountered by the dev team at OpenSignalMaps over the course of a six month period. It may not be a flashy infographic, but it’s one of the best visuals I’ve seen to convey the challenge of Android hardware fragmentation. Here with more details on the chart (and on Android fragmentation in general) is arstechnica:

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