More Companies Plan to Create Custom Apps

Mobile apps In late November, InformationWeek released the results of its 2013 Mobile Application Development survey. After talking to 688 business tech people, InformationWeek sees a continuing trend toward companies building custom mobile presences (including native apps and web) and an uptick in support for Android tablets. Here are some of the results:

  • 41% already have a custom app and plan on creating more
  • 24% don’t have an app but have plans to create one in the next year
  • 85% feel native apps are better than web apps
  • 78% have chosen Android phones as their preferred platform
  • 73% are developing for iPads and iPhones
  • 68% are considering apps optimized for Android tablets (a 15% increase over last year)
  • 28% are supporting Windows Phone
  • 10% are still betting on Blackberry 10

The world just keeps trending toward mobile! Keep on testing!

44% of Enterprise Companies Have a Mobile Strategy

Enterprises embracing mobile strategiesThe Enterprise Mobility Exchange has been talking to enterprise level companies for the past few months to see where they stand in terms of mobile strategy and commitment. After talking to major players at companies like Google, GE, Coca-Cola and T-Mobile, the organization has put out an official report titled “The Global State of Enterprise Mobility: A Look at the Past, Present & Future.”

Here are some teaser stats. These numbers certain get our interest:

  • Mobile Apps look set to be the top investment among Enterprise Mobility and IT Practitioners in 2014. (47.6%)
  • 44% of respondents currently have a mobility strategy in their business, while a further 20% are at phase 3 of implementation
  •  70% of respondents cited increased productivity as the main reason behind their mobile solution investments
  • Change management issues is the greatest challenge for 40% of practitioner respondents when implementing a mobility strategy
  • Almost a quarter of respondents have financial resources of up to $250,000 to spend on mobility solutions in the next 18 months
  • Security solutions are a bigger priority for organisations in  the future, with an expected growth of 20% from 2013  to 2014

Looks like enterprises are finally getting on board with this mobile trend! (Though they still have a long way to go.)

Mobile a Big Player in Black Friday Sales

The Thanksgiving and Black Friday online shopping frenzy have just come to an end and, again, the trending confirmed another record-breaking year in online sales.

This past weekend, traffic and sales via online shopping crushed last year’s numbers with total sales marked at $3 billion, a 19.7% growth compared to the same period last year. This data came from IBM’s Benchmark Reports and covers over 800 merchant websites.

This report also shows a consistent growth of online shopping traffic and sales on Black Friday from mobile devices which accounted for 39% of all online traffic and 21.8% of all online sales. The chart below shows how smartphones performed against tablets in traffic, sales, conversion rate, and average order value:

IMB Black Friday Mobile chart 2013

While smartphones drove more online traffic than tablets did, tablets generated twice the sales for online merchants with a 3x conversion rate and +15% average order value. It proves that customers still prefer a larger view when doing online shopping since they cannot physically touch or try the products.

Adobe, which analyzed 400 million visits over 2,000 shopping sites, compared the two most popular mobile operating systems (as reported by Yahoo!):

Of the $3 billion online sales, $417 million was done on iPads and $126 million on iPhones, while users spent $106 million in purchasing with Android phones and $42 million with Android tablets.

The Mobile Commerce Index of Branding Brand, a leading mobile commerce platform for online retailers, also indicates that retailers who have optimized their sites and apps for mobile devices have shown a more significant growth in traffic (+75%), sales (+186%), and average order value (+22%) on Black Friday, compared to the same time last year.

Given the fact that online shopping will continue to grow while mobile becomes more popular, online retailers should thoroughly assessment their e-commerce sites and apps to make sure users can shop in a mobile-friendly environment and check out successfully.

Home Automation Calls for More Testing

Revolv Home AutomationLast week I asked where apps should go next. If you haven’t cast you vote, feel free to add your 2 cents. Of those who already voted, 21% said appliances and 7% voted for somewhere completely new and uncharted. That segment of the population will be pleased with TechCrunch’s Gift Guide for the Home Automation Enthusiast.

The guide includes Nest’s thermostat and security system, a smart light bulb from Phillips, internet connected outlets, speaker options and a few other things.

The important thing to remember as more and more of these smart devices, gadgets, appliances and doodads hit the shelves is that the apps that accompany and control them need thorough testing. As homes become more automated, testing in-the-wild will become even more important to ensure devices and apps don’t interfere with each other.

This is uncharted territory and instead of jumping in blind companies need to invest in heavy testing. If they don’t, users will lose faith in home automation devices and the budding industry could fail. Users don’t want something that doesn’t work. Don’t let them down testers.

Poll: Where Should Apps Go Next?

Wearable techBy 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!

[poll id=”7″]

If you want to voice your opinion more deeply, check out GigaOms in-depth wearable tech survey.



Smartphones Account for 55% of Mobile Phones Sold in Q3

New numbers released by Ericsson show that smartphones have tipped the scales and now account for the majority of mobile handsets sold worldwide. In Q3, smartphones accounted for 55% of handsets sold.

Despite the rise in handset sales, smartphones still only account for 25-30% of mobile phone subscriptions. Ericsson’s experts expect to see that number grow quickly. By 2019, the company expects 5.6 billion of the predicted 9.3 billion mobile subscriptions to be tied to smartphones.

Douglas Gilstrap, Senior Vice President and Head of Strategy at Ericsson, says: “The rapid pace of smartphone uptake has been phenomenal and is set to continue. It took more than five years to reach the first billion smartphone subscriptions, but it will take less than two to hit the 2 billion mark1. Between now and 2019, smartphone subscriptions will triple.

Traffic from  smartphones is also expect to grow 10x in the next six years.

Smartphone Subscriptions - Ericsson

FDA Announces Guidance for Mobile Medical Apps

FDA Mobile Medical App GuidanceBig news for medical app developers and testers: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released it’s official, final guidance regarding mobile medial apps.

Because not all medical apps have a life or death baring on users lives, the FDA has decided to take a “enforcement discretion” approach – meaning that while this official guidance exists and should be followed for the most part, it won’t be fully enforced for all medical related apps. (Please note that I am in no way a lawyer and if you’re concerned about the effect this will have on your app you should talk to a professional.)

Still, with some medical mobile apps being so intricately tied to user health – and the healthcare they receive – it’s important for the FDA to pay attention. From the FDA press release:

Mobile apps have the potential to transform health care by allowing doctors to diagnose patients with potentially life-threatening conditions outside of traditional health care settings, help consumers manage their own health and wellness, and also gain access to useful information whenever and wherever they need it. …

“Some mobile apps carry minimal risks to consumer or patients, but others can carry significant risks if they do not operate correctly. The FDA’s tailored policy protects patients while encouraging innovation,” said Jeffrey Shuren, M.D., J.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

The FDA is careful to point out that they don’t regulate the use or distribution of smartphones or mobile apps. But there are some cases they will be paying attention to, specifically ones that move apps out of the world of causal use and into the realm of legitimate medical device. From the press release:

The FDA is focusing its oversight on mobile medical apps that:

– are intended to be used as an accessory to a regulated medical device – for example, an application that allows a health care professional to make a specific diagnosis by viewing a medical image from a picture archiving and communication system (PACS) on a smartphone or a mobile tablet; or
– transform a mobile platform into a regulated medical device – for example, an application that turns a smartphone into an electrocardiography (ECG) machine to detect abnormal heart rhythms or determine if a patient is experiencing a heart attack.

Mobile medical apps that undergo FDA review will be assessed using the same regulatory standards and risk-based approach that the agency applies to other medical devices.

If you develop or test medical mobile apps, give the press release and/or FDA guidance a read. Part of being a good tester is being thorough, so it’s crucial that you stay up to date with big developments like this.