With Adoption of iOS 6 Apple gets Fragmented!

21 03 2013

iOS-6-fragmentation-detailed-which-device-gets-whatWe recently wrote about how the launch of the iPhone 5 and the iPad Mini, each having a different form factor than their predecessors provides unique challenges for a QA tester and developers who are trying to keep up with the onslaught of new devices into the market. Android who has been the king of fragmentation due to it’s open OS and overwhelming OEM development has had to deal with this for some time. This is new for Apple while rarely changing it’s form factor since it’s launch of the iPhone in 2007.

But as the devices have changed, so have the operating systems supporting them. With the launch of the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini came a new OS – OS 6. This new OS provided new challenges as it could now be leveraged by carriers and partners to be customized to provide competitiveness and flexibility for their users.

In a recent article entitled “iOS 6 “fragmentation” detailed: which device gets what” the author writes  “‘Fragmentation’ is a word heavily loaded against Android and a term a bit too broad for our liking. It’s true that software updates on Android devices often arrive too late, but this depends on the carrier, it’s also true that some features are available on certain devices and not on others, and on and on, but using the general term fragmentation blurs those issues and writes all Android devices under a common negative denominator.

So far, Apple has been particularly proud of its “non-fragmented” operating system and lineup, but it seems that this concept broke with iOS 6. Hidden in the fine print of iOS 6 new features and updates are some staggering inconsistencies across devices – certain features are reserved for the newer devices and will never allow on older models. If that’s not a perfect example of something begging to be labelled with the same vague word “fragmentation” than we don’t know what is.
The folks from India’s iGyaan.in have penned this brilliant table showcasing just how fragmented Apple’s ecosystem really is after iOS 6, and it’s a joy to behold for the Android fans who finally get a big weapon in their anti-Apple arsenal. We bet you know this, but let’s keep this civil and think about what this means for the ecosystem that Apple is building. “
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Netflix Talks HTML5-based Mobile Testing on Android

19 03 2013

DSC01749In a recent article posted by Amol Ker of Netflix, he shared his struggles with performing device testing of their mobile apps and websites. Since they operated on a hybrid approach using HTML5 based coding. In the article Amol shared the following “when Netflix decided to enter the Android ecosystem, we faced a daunting set of challenges: a) We wanted to release rapidly every 6-8 weeks, b) There were hundreds of Android devices of different shapes, versions, capacities and specifications which need to playback audio and video and c) We wanted to keep the team small and happy. Of course, the seasoned tester in you has to admit that these are the sort of problems you like to wake up to every day and solve. Doing it with a group of other software engineers who are passionate about quality is what made overcoming those challenges even more fun.”

He continues… “To put device diversity in context, we see almost around 1000 different devices streaming Netflix on Android every day. We had to figure out how to categorize these devices in buckets so that we can be reasonably sure that we are releasing something that will work properly on these devices.”

And later mentions “We keep our team lean by focusing our full time employees on building solutions that scale and automation is a key part of this effort. ”

Netflix’ issues are not new and are not specific to Netflix. Anyone looking to test their apps or websites MUST perform real-world, real device testing before release AND after it’s launched to support forthcoming updates. Netflix has chosen a way that works for them that has potential flaws, in that it can easily miss most of the device OS ecosystem if they don’t test on a certain device or platform. And as budgets and efficient-driven teams demand, utlizing mobile test automation software is key to their strategy.

Keynote, with it’s acquisition of DeviceAnywhere has developed several tools to address these issues helping thousands of companies become more efficient and enabling them to centralize their testing efforts while maintaining dispersed, cost-efficient development teams around the world. With DeviceAnywhere Test Planner, QA managers and developers can get free assistance on determining which devices they should test on that will provide them the widest coverage while testing on the lowest number of devices, providing the ultimate in efficiency and planning of any new rollout.

deviceanywhere_device_planner Keynote also offers automated mobile testing with it’s TCE – Automation platform – leveraging the latest HTML5 web-based coding for ease-of-use giving you the flexibility of running the same test across any HTML5-enabled device or tablet. No more need to ship devices around or leverage agent-based systems whereby one does not get a true experience from the consumer’s perspective, resulting in potential pitfalls for the developer and in result potentially affecting revenues.





The Android OS – the Ultimate in Device Fragmentation?

14 03 2013

animoca-androidIn an article posted in 2012 in TechTarget, Kim-Mai Cutler had the chance to interview “Animoca, a Hong Kong mobile app developer that has seen more than 70 million downloads, says it does quality assurance testing with about 400 Android devices. Again, that’s testing with four hundred different phones and tablets for every app they ship!”

She continues .. “The photo above is just a sampling of Animoca’s fleet of Android test units. Yat Siu, who is CEO of Animoca’s parent company Outblaze, snapped and posted it from Outblaze’s headquarters today. In total, Siu says their studio has detected about 600 unique Android devices on their network.

“We haven’t managed to track down all of those devices because, in large part, they are no longer available for sale,” he says. Sad cakes!

On top of that, Siu said that the number of handsets from the lower-end Asian manufacturers is also growing rapidly. These are the phone makers that Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop was probably talking about in his famous “burning platform” memo when he said that are Chinese OEMs were “cranking out a device much faster than, as one Nokia employee said only partially in jest, ‘the time that it takes us to polish a PowerPoint presentation.’” If you take those out, the actual number of devices you need to test for is much lower.

But if you want to break into Asian markets, these phones matter and make it especially challenging for Android developers to ensure their apps work on every single Android device. Android fragmentation is a huge issue because developers have to check their work on dozens of devices. Animoca happens to be backed by Intel Capital and IDG-Accel, so it has the resources to buy all of these devices for testing and pay employees to use them.

But imagine the long-tail of developers! Imagine the people who make the roughly 500,000 apps in the Google Play store. Total nightmare.

It puts a real dent in Eric Schmidt’s prediction from six months ago that developers might start going Android first within six months. His deadline is up now and there aren’t signs of this happening. Appcelerator did a survey of 2,100 of its developer clients in March and found that, if anything, interest in Android development is stagnating.

Siu isn’t fazed though. He’s told me in the past that thorough QA testing makes Animoca’s apps retain users better because so many other Android developers do a bad job at it. Unlike iOS users who throw up their hands in frustration, write bad reviews and just leave, Android users tend to be delighted when they find apps that work even if they have a glitch or two.

He adds, “We like fragmentation as users prefer choice. We are not big believers that one size fits all.”

At Keynote, we see this all the time. Our customers tell us of the pain of having to manage libraries of real devices and the vast variety of OS versions even just within Android, let alone iOS, BlackBerry, or Win 8.  Developers who started with one or two devices a few years ago are now up to 20-30 today as seen in this image from another developer – Pocket Gems. They had two of the 10 top-grossing games on iOS last year, according to Apple’s iTunes Rewind.

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And there is no end in sight now with the release of new form factors from Apple such as the iPhone 5 and the iPad Mini. One of our customers – Microsoft’s Windows Live team was able to replace their entire cabinet of devices with the DeviceAnywhere platform. No longer having to check out devices to team members or update devices with different OS’, or manage/maintain separate plans for each device locking them into a 2-year agreement with the carrier. Mark Boyce of Microsoft’s Windows Live deployment team said at the time of the release “Keynote’s DeviceAnywhere solution has saved our department a lot of time and headaches by eliminating most of the tedious, manual tasks associated with our in-house mobile testing process. We no longer have to chase down lost devices and SIMs, dig through boxes of chargers, or even track multiple phone bills and expense reports.”

To learn how you too can benefit from access to real devices from anywhere in the world, eliminating the need to maintain your own library or even having to ship devices around the globe, check out Keynote’s DeviceAnywhere platform and we’ll even get you started with THREE free hours, TODAY!

To read more of Ms. Cutler’s article click here.





Is Apple Dominating the Mobile Enterprise Market?

12 03 2013

Screen Shot 2012-08-10 at 15.19.01In a recent article by Jonny Evans of CITE World, it would appear that Apple is starting to dominate the enterprise marketplace. For years, this was a market long-held by the king of enterprise devices – BlackBerry. However since the iPhone and it’s worldwide acceptance amongst consumers and since organizations have seen an explosion in employees bringing their own devices to work and deploying work-based apps on them it is no shock that it’s dominance would make it’s way into the enterprise. The permeation of the Android device has also made its way into the enterprise, resulting in a battle over the mobile enterprise marketplace.

In the article Mr Evans states “If you believe the latest Appcelerator/IDC survey results, poor security, explosive growth in malware threats, and device fragmentation is costing Google’s Android a place in the mobile enterprise, with Apple scooping up believers in this space.”

As an example, CITE recently discussed how PepsiCo took a chance and gave iPhones to 4,500 hourly employees — and it’s paying off.  Even at Keynote, we have seen an increase in request for iOS devices for testing of internal enterprise apps by our DeviceAnywhere customers.

Mr Evans article continues:

“Times are changing

Appcelerator and IDC surveyed 3,632 Appcelerator Titanium developers in May, asking them about their development priorities. They found that Apple now holds a 16 percent lead over Android when it comes to OS deployment among enterprise users: a huge hike since Q3 2011 when both mobile operating systems were tied. Fifty-three percent of developers say iOS will win in the enterprise, while just 37.5 percent side with Android.

The reasons? According to the survey, these include:

  • The popularity of the iPad
  • Frequent reports of Android malware
  • Enterprise challenges in dealing with Android fragmentation
  • Reports of enterprises re-evaluating widespread Android deployment outside of particular business vertical implementations like Machine-to-Machine (M2M).

When it comes to mobile at least, this is translating into an Apple-dominated ecosystem. “Apple iOS device activations still account for more than twice the number of Android activations in the enterprise when it comes to overall platform activations,” says the latest report from Good Technology. iOS accounted for 70.8 percent, Android was 28.3 percent and Windows Phone 7 was 0.9 percent, the research claims.”

Time will tell if Microsoft’s Windows 8 platform takes off as they attempt to extend their enterprise dominance with Windows to mobile.

To read more of the article from CITE go here

 





The BYOD Challenge and BlackBerry’s Answer

7 03 2013

risky-byodBYOD has presented many challenges specifically to the enterprise. Enterprises have a new challenge of managing employee devices that contain external (personal) applications combined with an organizations internal system. Many times an internal CRM app can cause conflicts with outside apps, causing them to not function properly or making them susceptible to security breaches. This puts pressure on IT teams to constantly troubleshoot new issues so that workers can maintain efficiency. While it remains risky (see infograph), employees continue to push the boundaries forcing their organizations to be more efficient and in return making them more effective employees.

Recently, BlackBerry launched their newest device, the Z10 which includes the ability to run enterprise apps and personal apps on the same device while protecting the enterprise’ network at the same time.  Called, “BlackBerry Balance” – it is a feature aimed at corporate users who want to keep their work and personal lives separate – on their phone. It allows users to store apps and data on two distinct profiles – Work and Personal. Users can easily switch between the two profiles and users who bring their device to office can easily format the Work profile when they switch jobs without having to change any setting in the personal one. This is an interesting attempt at trying to address this issue as BlackBerry fights to maintain relevance in the enterprise marketplace.

In addition, the introduction of BYOD has increased existing pain points for internal IT teams and increased the need for solid mobile app performance. IT teams are challenged with meeting the needs of the enterprise and integrating internal systems with personal devices that could have conflicting programming. The ability to testing enterprise applications on real devices to determine bugs and conflicts becomes critical.





No End in Sight to Device Fragmentation for Mobile Developers

5 03 2013

fragmentation_200Fragmentation has always been a difficult issue, but new complexities have been introduced with the proliferation of mobile devices. Many companies are challenged with figuring out how to monetize mobile assets for all types of devices in a cost-effective and efficient way.

Although there has been a reduction of mobile OS’, the number of device types for Android and iOS is increasing. With Android being an open platform for developers, it introduces inherent differences in the functionality and performance of each device. For iOS, while there is less platform fragmentation, the introduction of the iPhone5 presented a new difference in form factor (screen size) from its previous models, adding to the complexities of fragmentation.

This device diversity creates a steep challenge to stay ahead of the curve in the today’s mobile market. Not addressing these issues can mean the difference between a successful mobile launch and wasted resources for broken applications.

Testing is critical and choosing the right devices is essential. To maximize your device coverage in the most efficient way check out the free Device Planner by Keynote’s DeviceAnywhere platform. With it, you can target the right devices and platforms for your mobile apps, websites,  or services.





Aricent Supports a Tier 1 UK Operator Utilizing Keynote’s DeviceAnywhere Platform for Automated Mobile Testing

4 03 2013

aricent_logo-774095Aricent Group, a global innovation and technology services company, working closely with Keynote, has developed a flexible, best-of-breed testing environment for a Tier 1 mobile network operator in the UK. This operator and other companies can now have complete visibility into how their applications and services run – in this case ten different real mobile devices running over 1,350 test cases, with growth expectations to top 3,200 test cases in the near future.

The Keynote-Aricent partnership has succeeded in removing the time-consuming process of manually testing each software update, or each new device, therefore reducing human error. By creating an automated testing environment to the operator’s specifications, testing is done by simply pressing a button.  Furthermore, the automation process clearly demonstrates the impact of different software upgrades and new features in order to create the highest level of service and quality.

Keynote’s DeviceAnywhere cloud-based platform allows companies to test mobile apps, websites and services on devices remotely – regardless of location or time – enabling operators to speed up their delivery without compromising on quality or reliability and therefore mitigating risk.

“By working with Keynote, we are able to help our customers take their services and devices to market with unprecedented speed and quality. Their solution was a natural complement to our existing network testing infrastructure.” said Adrian Luker, program manager at Aricent. “Our customers need to be completely aware of the experience they are providing for the end user. Even the smallest update can have a huge impact, and we need to know what the impact is, before it happens. Having this superior insight into what consumers will be experiencing, means that changes can happen quickly, and we can be confident that end users will see improvements, rather than be inconvenienced. This is tremendously important in reducing risk for our customers when launching any update.”

“The mobile market is highly competitive, and with smartphones making mobile Internet access increasingly prominent, the service an operator provides – in terms of updates, applications and maintenance – must be a seamless experience” said Vik Chaudhary, vice president of product management and corporate development at Keynote. “Delivering top quality service for consumers should be the highest priority for all customers, including operators, and we are delighted to be working with Aricent to deliver this. Mobile performance and functional proficiency can no longer be a guessing game, and companies need to understand exactly what customers are, and will be experiencing, in order to fully tap into these revenue streams.”

For the full release, click here