Where Does Your App Rank? uTest AppGrader

There’s only a few things that can happen when a user downloads your mobile app. Unfortunately, most of them are bad. Here are a few common outcomes:

  • The app crashes
  • The app hangs
  • The app stalls
  • The app works exactly as expected

The point is this: Without proper testing, you’ll never really know how users are experiencing your mobile app. This is particularly true of the Android operating system, with its seemingly countless permutations of devices.

So to help make the mobile app testing process a little less complex, uTest is pleased to launch a new tool that we hope will help you catch some of these problems before your users do. We call it AppGrader, and today we’re launching it as a way to quickly test your Android apps.

What is AppGrader?
AppGrader is a free online tool that can be used to quickly test your mobile application on a variety of common devices. With AppGrader, you can load your application on several devices and get basic reporting about bugs associated with installing, loading and running your application.

Why Does It Matter?
As a proponent of in-the-wild testing, we believe that an application is only properly tested once it has been evaluated by real users, with real devices, in a wide number of locations. AppGrader is a way to provide a taste of in-the-wild testing, by accessing the real devices component (albiet in an automated fashion).

Those who are interested in what AppGrader has to offer will likely appreciate uTest’s full suite of testing services.

What Do You Get?
With AppGrader, you can get a custom score for your application. You’ll also receive a comparison of how well your app works compared to dozens of other popular apps on the same devices. If your app should crash on the device, you can quickly download a crash log to get a deeper look at the problem.

What Devices Does it Cover?
At this point in time, AppGrader is just for Android devices (and yes, we do have plans to launch this service for other mobile operating systems). Devices tested include:

  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus S
  • LG Nitro HD
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab
  • HTC Thunderbolt
  • Sony Ericson Xperia

AppGrader will also evaluate your application on devices across several popular carriers, including AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint.

What Does It Cost?
Only your soul. Just kidding. It’s free.

How Do I Get Started?
To get started, simply fill out a brief form and upload your Android APK. Once your results are ready, you’ll be notified by email within minutes.

So what are you waiting for?

Try AppGrader Today >>>

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

Word on The Street: 75% of Apps Not Tested

There’s an obvious reason why that app you just downloaded doesn’t work: it wasn’t tested! In fact, according to a recent article on The Street, that’s the case for 75% of all mobile applications. As you might imagine, that stat makes us want to grab a rifle and head to the nearest clock tower. Kidding, kidding (sort of).

Lucky for the mobile world, the article also highlights several mobile app testing solutions. Take a look:

A new group of start-ups is hoping to address this problem by developing testing solutions for companies and brands looking to try out their mobile apps in real-world conditions prior to launch.

uTest, based in Southborough, Mass., provides so-called crowd-sourced mobile app testing. Companies ranging from Google (GOOG) and Groupon (GRPN) to small start-ups submit their apps to uTest which are then tested for kinks by its community of over 50,000 professional testers.

uTest offers several types of testing, including functional (ensuring features such as log-in and installation work properly), load and performance testing (making sure the app is prepared for peak usage times) and security testing (keeping the app safe from hackers).

Apps are also tested across a variety of platforms, including iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Symbian, as well as a handful of carriers and geographies to ensure they can perform under different conditions.

“Especially in the Android environment there’s no such thing as a single platform,” said Carlos Montero-Luque, SVP of Engineering at Boston-based Apperian, which helps customers like NetApp (NTAP) and Estee Lauder (EL) distribute and manage their own custom-made mobile apps. “uTest allows us to do more than 90 combinations of different phones, networks, carriers, and versions of the operating system.”

Read the rest >>>

The Biggest Mobile Security Challenge: Apps!

The brilliant bloggers over at uTest (wink, wink) have posted a great interview with security expert Richard Stiennon. Of the many topics discussed was that of mobile security (or lack thereof). Here’s what Richard had to say regarding the biggest mobile threat.

uTest: You’ve said before that mobile will not require its own anti-virus systems. That said, it seems that mobile threats are multiplying by the hour. In your view, what’s the biggest security challenge in terms of mobile?

RS: Apps, apps, apps. VPNs, firewalls, and carrier filtering are going to impede network based attacks. Containing and vetting applications is the biggest security challenge for the platform vendors.

Read the entire interview here >>>

Testing Success

You may have heard that uTest (the people who write this blog) just announced a $17mm Series D round of financing. We’re pretty excited. The press release included some great graphics showing the growth of uTest and the incredible explosion of testing that’s taken place since the company was founded (technically in late 2007, but we’ll just go ahead and call it 2008). These graphs not only detail one company’s growth, they reflect the current environment of mobile app testing and the growing trend of testing in the wild with a crowdsourced company. I thought the Mobile App Testing community might be interested.

uTest-App-Released-Per-Quarter-App-Type

uTest-Total-Apps-Released-Per-Quarter

uTest-Total-Bugs-UX-Issues-Security-Defects-Discovered

Those are some pretty steep curves! Hopefully the trend keeps going – and I’m saying that because an upward trend is good for testing in general, not just because I’d like my company to keep succeeding (though having a job is nice).

Thanks for allowing a little bit of self-indulgence. If you’d like to read more about uTest’s Series D and what it means for the company’s future check out the official blog post from uTest CEO Doron Reuveni.

How Etsy Tests for Mobile

Here’s a great quote from Etsy test architect Noah Sussman on how the company handles the challnege of mobile testing:

uTest: Does the introduction of mobile, social media or location-based functionality make testing more difficult for a company like Etsy? What are some of the specific challenges that come with these variables?

Noah Sussman: Automated test tools for the mobile Web are less mature and so working with them incurs a high research and development cost. Of course that’s part of the fun, because we get to help invent the future by figuring how to leverage new tools like GorillaPhone and Kif.

Social media integration just means hitting a bunch of external APIs that you don’t control. It can be frustrating when a test fails and you can’t immediately fix it, but that’s a lot better than not knowing that an external service has gone down. Nagios is a great tool for these kinds of automated checks.

Read the full interview here >>>

Michael Bolton on Mobile App Testing

From my interview on the uTest blog:

“Certainly there’s a great deal of extra complexity to be dealt with in the mobile space, when we look at the number of different systems and functions through which a given bit of data passes, or the enormous number of platforms on which people want to run apps.  Before Windows came along to abstract the hardware, there were drivers for each video card, each printer, each mouse, each network card times each operating system.  But then each application program came with special drivers to talk to each kind of hardware.  Developing and supporting all that stuff was completely nuts.

Since there’s a perception of lots of opportunity and lots of money in the mobile space, there’s a gold rush and lots of people are heading for the Klondike. Now there are competing mobile OSs, times all those versions of those OSs, times all those handsets and tablets and mobile browser versions and interconnecting apps and services.  So in a way, we’re back to the late 80s and early 1990s, back in the DOS days, when I first got involved with programming and support and testing.  Hey you kids, get out of my yard!”

Read the rest >>>

Mobile Application Testing: The Big Picture

Generally speaking, discussions of mobile app testing tend to focus on very specific tasks, challenges and solutions. As a result, it’s somewhat rare to find a high-level analysis of the Big Picture – which is why a recent article in the SD Times caught our immediate attention.

Written by Alex Handy, The Growing Options for Mobile Testing covers exactly that – the growing number of solutions being employed by mobile app developers across the globe. Spanning mobile options like FoneMonkey 5 and uTest’s crowdsourced testing teams, the article is a must-read for anyone remotely involved with mobile app testing (pardon the pun).

Let’s take a look at some key excerpts:

With so many new requirements coming along with mobile testing, the somewhat mundane world of QA is now inundated with new ideas, approaches and tools. Gorilla Logic recently released version 5 of FoneMonkey, its open-source functional testing tool. uTest is pushing crowdsourced testing regimes. Selenium can now be tweaked to work in mobile browsers, thanks to a browser plug-in model introduced in version 2.0.

And yet, there are still gaps in the testing regime, said Ed Schwarz, vice president of engineering at Gorilla Logic. “Supporting device-based testing, as opposed to just simulator-based testing, continues to be a hole,” he said. “Even with our tool-automating tests, the device-based testing is pretty complicated. The provisioning for that can be complicated.

“A lot of our customers are not happy with only simulator-based testing. [Device-based testing] requires going old-school. You can’t virtualize the platform the way you can on the desktop. You have to have a test lab where you walk in and find a bank of 20 or 30 devices, and a lot of the provisioning is ad hoc by the development team, to cover different versions of the OS and devices.”

The lesson here is worth repeating: Despite the enormous improvements in virtualization, it remains incomplete, and there still exists a very real need for “in-the-wild” testing. Our very own Matt Johnston explains this “evolution”:

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Testing iPad Apps – Lessons From a Mobile App Tester

Here with the latest installment in our mobile app testing “crash course” series is David Honeyball, who’ll discuss the basics for testing iPad applications. You can read the complete series in the uTest Forums (membership required, but it’s free). Enjoy!

The Apple iPad has become one of the most sought after devices on the market in the last year. Companies have since then created and released thousands of applications for the iPad. Due to this, more and more companies are now looking for skilled testers to help to test those applications to make sure they run smoothly. The rise of the iPad has shown that we need to keep up with the times in technology.

This course and its sections will cater for the following aspects:

  • Checking your iPad settings
  • Installing applications to the iPad for testing
  • Testing techniques on the iPad

Checking your iPad Settings:

Checking your iPad Settings: There are a number of settings you can check on your Apple iPad by entering the ‘Settings’ icon. Of these settings, the main ones can be split into General, WI-FI and Mail, Contacts and Calendars. Additionally you should know how to obtain your UDID which will be needed for projects.

Settings Icon:

  • Settings>General – Clicking on About menu item brings up information for iPad
  • Settings>Mail, Contacts, Calendar – Set up Email addresses in this setting on the iPad

Finding UDID for your iPad:

  • Launch iTunes on your computer and connect your iPad to your computer via your USB connection
  • Select your iPad from the list of devices
  • Click on the summary tab
  • Click ‘Serial Number’ located next to the picture of your phone
  • You should see the word ‘Identifier’ and an alphanumeric string
  • Make a note of this alphanumeric string as this is the UDID for your iPad

Installing applications to the iPad for testing:

Installing applications to the iPad for testing: This course is split into various sections in order to show you how to install applications to your iPad:

Equipment needed before starting:

  • A computer with the latest version of iTunes installed
  • An Apple iPad
  • A USB connector cable for the iPad

Step 1: Open iTunes on your personal Computer:

If you have iTunes installed on your computer then click the icon in your desktop or programs to open this application:

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Mobile App Testing: You Know, For Startups

Big news from the front lines of mobile app testing. As of yesterday, early-stage startups in the mobile space now have an easy, affordable way to get their applications tested and reviewed by a team of professional testers.

The service is called uTest Express, and it’s been built for all of the major mobile operating systems, including  iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, WinMo and Symbian. Below are some more details from uTest CMO Matt Johnston, who announced the service yesterday on the uTest Blog.

Express makes it easy to get real-world testing and expert feedback that meets your needs and budget. Oh, did we forget to mention that plans start at only $499? That’s half of what you probably spent on Red Bull and Starbucks while you were building your location-based, freemium, socially-linked, caffeine-free, voice-powered, 3D, virtual reality, highly-addictive, semantic-searching, gaming-layered, hybrid-powered, native app, right?.

For each project, uTest handpicks members of its tester community from North America who best match the testing requirements and have the right mobile devices and operating systems. The customer’s mobile application is then tested professionally on real devices across real carriers, providing real-world testing results and expert feedback that aren’t possible with emulators, simulators or remote access.

At the conclusion of each project, customers receive a list of well-documented bugs, including screenshots and videos with steps to reproduce them. They also receive expert feedback from the testers about the application – including app ratings and feedback for interface design, usability, app performance and more. To learn more about how it works, watch this brief Product Tour.

Here are a few key features of the service:

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