In May, Emergence Capital Partners released a visual landscape of the mobile business app world. The chart included about 90 companies across 4+ industries and a handful of app types. Six months later, ECP has updated it’s snapshot of business mobile apps – which now includes 150 companies producing apps. The most noticeable uptick has been in healthcare and real estate. And so many productivity apps have been created that the chart now divides that category into five sub-categories.
By now it’s pretty clear that apps aren’t just for smartphones and tablets. They’re in cars, on smart TVs, in watches and fitness trackers, on appliances, in glasses, you name it. And these apps all need testing, just like a traditional “mobile” app. As a consumer or a tester, where are you most excited to see apps expanding to? Vote in our poll and start a discussion in the comments section!
If you want to voice your opinion more deeply, check out GigaOms in-depth wearable tech survey.
An important part of mobile app testing is making sure the app works correctly and looks good on a range of devices. With varying screen sizes, resolutions, processors and storage these days, apps can function drastically different from device to device. In the wild testing is a great way to make sure an app works well in the real world, but knowing the devices you need to target and how they differ is also helpful.
With that in mind, here’s a side by side comparisons of three smaller tablets that are hot these days: From Gigaom:
Not all of these differences matter when it comes to testing mobile apps – sorry, but the color or weight of your tablet doesn’t make a difference – but things like screen size, storage, operating system and even camera resolution in some cases should be considered when you’re developing and testing a mobile app.
GigaOM Mobilze 2013 recently took place and produced a lot of great conversations. Here’s a video of Eugene Wei, Head of Product at Flipboard, Adam Medros, VP of Global Product at TripAdvisor and Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen, Head of Mobile at Dropbox, discussing apps in an increasingly connected world.
Android and iOS have been duking it out for years now. iPhone reigned supreme for a while, then Android made some headway and has more or less been considered the top seller since then – but the iPhone is never far behind.
The numbers change every quarter (and sometimes depending on your source) but most companies take the safe – and smart – route and develop apps for both major operating systems. A new report, however, suggests that there are two areas where iOS is still dominating.
Numbers released by Good Technology, a company that specializes in mobile workflows, shows that iOS is by far the top tablet OS and that Apple’s operating system is being favored by companies developing custom business apps. From All Things D:
On the tablet side, iOS continues to account for nine in 10 device activations.
But, perhaps more importantly, more than 95 percent of custom apps developed by businesses are written for Apple devices. The number of such apps rose more than 42 percent from the prior quarter, as businesses start to incorporate devices more heavily into their workflow.
“We see especially robust internal development activity focused on tablet applications and business transformation,” Good Technology CEO Christy Wyatt said in an email interview.
Many larger companies, the same ones who would have the money and resources to develop custom apps for their employees, have famously been slow to adopt mobile. With that in mind, it could be that these companies are starting with iOS because it is an easier platform to deal with (don’t make me mention the Android matrix again) and a surge in Android counterpart apps could be on the horizon.
As far as tablets go, the Kindle Fire has been making a decent showing (and could gain even more ground with the introduction of its HDX line), but no Android-based tablet has really given the iPad a run for its money to date. Until then, iPads will continue to dominate tablet activations, which might also be steering companies toward iOS.
Mashable has a nice series called Ask A Dev. While most installments are development-centric, earlier this month they had a video about how developers and testers can best work together. Enjoy!
There are a number of reasons to consider creating an app. Some hope to make money off of an inventive new game while others want to use their own mobile app as a business tool. Whether you already have an idea for the greatest app ever or you are considering dangling your toes in the ocean of mobile app creation, here are some simple steps to getting started.
1. Make Sure Your App Exists for a Compelling Reason
The number of apps for sale in Apple’s app store alone soared past one million last year. This means that originality is going to be pretty hard to come by. The chances are that even if your app is neat and unique, there will be several other similar applications competing with you.
Because of the fierce competition out there, your app will have to have a significant reason to exist. It must either be vastly superior in design and usability or offer an important feature that the consumer can’t live without.
For businesses considering making a special app for marketing purposes, it is equally key to decide on the purpose of the app. “If the goal is just outreach and exposure,” writes Business Insider, “an app is unlikely to be the answer.” Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and others already exist with “significant mobile reach” as a tool for engaging an online audience.
But there are also numerous cases where an app will improve the efficiency of business operations or work to keep customers happy. Many mobile apps offer special deals and coupons to bring shoppers into stores. Some help companies to go paperless. Still others improve the customer experience. Chipotle’s mobile app, for example, was created by Blue Rocket and allows customers to order before arriving at the store to decrease long lunch lines.
2. Decide on the Right Route
After you have brainstormed and decided that your app will serve a real need and is worth developing, it is time to make an important choice between outsourcing and attempting a DIY project.
For companies, there may be some benefits to assigning app creation to an in-house team. If you have people who possess the aptitude and the willingness to start a long process of learning, then creating your own app in-house can be a great tool for knowing your product better and being able to more readily perform updates in the future.
However, this process will also take longer as it involves training and a steep learning curve. For businesses who want a guarantee of professionalism and timely delivery, then it is probably best to contract the project out to a full-time developer.
Working on your own can prove much less expensive that hiring a third party and is a great opportunity to learn new skills. However, hiring a professional developer can produce the final product you envision and easily work out any bugs in a matter of a few weeks. So this is an important decision to make while moving towards app development.
With these initial steps in mind, you or your company will be ready to discuss app development and decide on the best way to proceed for your knowledge base, time available, budget and expectations.
Jessica Socheski is a freelance writer who enjoys researching new technology. You can connect with her on Twitter.
This video shows you just how cool and interactive a mobile shopping app’s UI can be. Just another reason you shouldn’t simply shrink your traditional website to fit mobile.
If you’re a mobile tester, you’ll also notice all the moving bits and pieces that can go horribly wrong and render the app useless. Let this be a reminder to you that mobile can be very cool and engaging, but it also requires a lot of testing across a range of devices.
What you need to be on the look out for – as a mobile app developer OR tester – to make sure mobile apps are compliant with FTC guidelines.
Tablets usage statistics are often combined with smartphones, but the sale and adoption rates of tablets alone has seen tremendous growth over the past few years. According to Natasha Lomas, of TechCrunch, Forrester has put out a new forecast for the global tablet market, which predicts tablet sales will continue to grow with a projected annual growth rate of 25.6% between 2012 and 2017:
“Forrester predicts tablets will exceed a worldwide installed base of 905 million in five years’ time, with annual projected sales of 381.23 million in 2017.
…Tablets represent “the most successful branch” of today’s fragmented computer market, according to Forrester, both by penetration rates and diversity of competition within the category. In the future, it’s expecting tablets to power new types of “collaborative computing” behaviour — involving the use of multiple slates or “tablet-like devices” that support multi-user interaction.”
And as tablet sales continue to grow so too will tablet fragmentation, says Lomas:
“...The report also notes that the tablet market is fragmenting across a variety of form factors, OSes, connectivity and accessories — something Forrester expects to continue, as it says ‘buyers don’t hold uniform preferences on tablet sizes’. In other words, it’s horses for courses where slates are concerned.
So, while many potential tablet buyers (61% of surveyed consumers) gravitate towards “traditional” tablets (i.e. those with screens between 8.9 to 10.1 inches), Forrester notes that smaller slates (7 to 7.9 inches) have a preference share of around 16%. And very large tablets (10.1 inches+) were of interest to a still relatively sizeable 11%. And a full 12% of surveyed consumers didn’t know which size slate to buy yet.”