Poll: How Up-To-Date is Your Mobile OS?

Last week, we learned that anyone who currently runs the Windows Phone 7 OS will not be able to upgrade to Windows Phone 8. This includes everyone who bought the flashy new Nokia Lumia 900 phones over the last two months.

Anyway, this made me wonder, how many people always have the latest mobile operating system? To find out, I thought I would run an informal poll.

[poll id="3"]

Thoughts? Let us hear it in the comment section.

Which Mobile OS Do Developers Like Most?

After the conclusion of this year’s Apple WWDC conference, Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray released the results of an informal survey he performed among conference attendees who were also iOS developers. In it, he asked them what their plans were for developing on different platforms, including Apple’s own OS X. The results were surprising.

iOS developers love iOS (of course), and as recently as 2008, 50% of them were also OS X developers. But today, that percentage has dropped to 7%, and most iOS developers are now actively developing for other platforms instead (including the iPad). This makes a lot of sense – the skillset for developing a mobile application has become more and more specialized, and the developers who can do that well may not have the skills or interest in developing for a desktop platform.

But the data holds other clues as well. For example, almost half of iOS developers also develop for Android. And even though all the developers think iOS is the best platform for monetization (they were attending WWDC after all), 40% of them thought Android was the platform with the greatest potential for future growth. By the way, that question included iOS as an option as well, meaning that 40% of iOS developers attending WWDC actually thought Android was going to grow faster than iOS.

What other platforms did these developers think would have any chance of growing in the coming years? The only other one that made the list was Windows Phone 7 with 9% of respondents. That’s small, but interesting. Microsoft could have something good on their hands.

More details from Fortune and Macrumors.

Apps for YouTube, Yelp on Windows Phone 7

From MobileTechWorld.com:

It should come as no surprise that Microsoft has already started to populated the yet unreleased Windows Phone 7 Marketplace with a couple of third-party applications alongside some in-house apps. I already saw this 2 days ago when I was at the Microsoft Campus for some WP7 development work but Justin Angel from Vertigo Software actually decided to take a screenshot of the Zune software and post it on Twitter a couple of hours ago. As you can see in the shot above Microsoft has already released the in-house applications that we saw in the Channel9 video this week and a few third-party apps are already up for grabs. (like Yelp, Hexic etc) Interestingly there’s a YouTube extension to the Music & Video hub which should make everybody happy. WP7 users will apparently be able to directly access Youtube hosted videos via the Zune Hub.

As we noted a few weeks back, Microsoft has been rather aggressive in luring mobile app developers from the iPhone’s and Android’s of the world, and it appears as though this initiative is beginning to pay off.

Needless to say, we’ll be watching the next stages of Windows Phone 7 testing with great interest. What other apps will make their way onto this mobile OS? Is it too little, too late for Microsoft to make inroads in the mobile world?

Stay tuned.

Microsoft Lures Mobile Developers – Testers Next?

Loyalty doesn’t have to be something you earn. Sometimes, it’s easier just to pay for it. The Miami Heat proved this last week (with LeBron James) and now Microsoft hopes to do the same (with mobile developers). In today’s article from PCWorld, we learn that Microsoft is offering cash incentives to developers who build apps for its upcoming Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system.

The question for us then becomes: If they are successful in luring developers with cash and perks, how will this affect their need for mobile application testers? I think you know the answer to that.

Of course, testing will be one of many concerns for Microsoft as they play “catch-up” with Apple, Google and others. Daniel Ionescu explains:

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There’s No App Like Home (Firefox Home)

MobileCrunch picked up the news that Firefox Home – what they call the “almost-a-browser” –  is now awaiting App Store approval. That’s great, you’re thinking, but what the heck is an “almost-a-browser”? Here’s Simon Chester with an explanation:

Well, rather than just being a Safari replacement, Firefox Home acts as a bridge between your desktop version of Firefox and your iPhone. This is crucial, as apps that duplicate functionality of native iOS apps without adding anything new are a no-no in the App Store approval process.

It uses the Firefox Sync extension to sync your (desktop) Firefox bookmarks and history with your iPhone, and – more interestingly – will allow you to slide tabs open in Firefox over to your iPhone, much like Google’s Chrome-to-Phone functionality in Android 2.2.

You can search for and view any of the pages in your desktop bookmarks or history, as well as view the tabs open on your desktop copy of Firefox, right on your iPhone. Once you’ve found the page you’re after, you can view it either in Safari (an Apple-friendly move), or from within Firefox Home (which may upset Apple). You can also send the links via email.

Make sense? If not, and you’re one of those “visual” learners, here’s a video demonstration:

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Mobile OS and Application Platforms

The mobile industry is being increasing cluttered with jargon, says Anuj Gupta, our latest guest blogger for mobileapptesting.com. In this post, Anuj clears the air with an essential primer for anyone remotely involved in the mobile testing space, including discussions on the most popular operating systems and application platforms for iPhone, Blackberry, Windows mobile and more.

Mobile devices are evolving into increasingly sophisticated general purpose computers and this has led to the development of a variety of platforms and operating systems in the mobile space. Today, the operating system lying inside your mobile device is equally important as the device manufacturer (OEM). The various features, GUI, processing speed, and most importantly, the applications available for your device will depend greatly on the underlying OS.

Unfortunately, industry jargon has cluttered our understanding of this emerging technology. It is my intention to clear the air on a few of these misunderstandings. Here goes….

Manufacturers launch devices based on various user segments, and giving rise to a number of Mobile OS and Application platforms. A mobile OS manages the hardware and software resources of a mobile device, similar to that of a computer OS. Some OS platforms cover the entire range of the software stack, while others may only include the lower levels (typically the kernel and middleware layers) and rely on additional software platforms to provide a user interface framework.

Today’s phones are expected to run a growing range of software such as internet browsers, navigation packages, games and music/video players. Application platforms are supposed to provide a ground for them.  Application platforms are built over lower-level kernel operating systems (OS) such as Rex, Linux or compact real-time OS’s such as Nucleus. Software running on the device accesses platform resources through a set of application programming interfaces or APIs. Application development platforms, such as Brew, Symbian UIQ, Android, LIMO, ALP, Qtopia or WIPI provide programming resources for native and Java applications.

Mobile developers typically develop for multiple platforms to maximize their available market. This can be a difficult and time-consuming task as multiple platforms use different API calls for common OS operations and accessing OS resources such as accessing memory and files.

There is a variety of both the OS and the application platforms in the market. Obviously, some are more dominant than others. Here is a list of major mobile operating systems and Application platforms.

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Together at Last: Firefox and Android

Exciting news from the mobile front yesterday, as developer Vladimir Vukićević announced that a more usable “pre-alpha” build of Firefox for Android (aka Fennec) is now available to a “broader set of people.” As you would expect from a project in such an early stage, there a number of bugs and other issues that still need to be resolved. Vladimir acknowledges as much in the post, offering a number of specific examples. Here are few of them (verbatim):

  • It will likely not eat your phone, but bugs might cause your phone to stop responding, requiring a reboot.
  • Memory usage of this build isn’t great — in many ways it’s a debug build, and we haven’t really done a lot of optimization yet.  This could cause some problems with large pages, especially on low memory devices like the Droid.
  • You’ll see the app exit and relaunch on first start, as well as on add-on installs; this is a quirk of our install process, and we’re working to get rid of it.
  • You can’t open links from other apps using Fennec; we should have this for the next build.
  • This build requires Android 2.0 or above, and likely an OpenGL ES 2.0 capable device.

For more on this development – including how you can install and test the build yourself – go read the entire post.

Happy mobile testing!