What You Need To Know To Test For Windows 10 Technical Preview

As Windows 10 becomes a reality, testing this software application is a priority. As a major upgrade to the current version, this application boasts a number of improvements and new features. Although Windows 10 is built on the same platform to be cohesive among PCs, tablets and phones, mobile app testing can be viewed as a standalone process.

A Few Things To Know About Testing Windows 10:

  • You must join the Windows Insider Program.
  • Your mobile device must be registered to receive builds through over the air updates.
  • Each new build will be distributed automatically after they are validated by Microsoft and used internally.
  • Any suggestions or bug reports must be sent via the Windows Feedback app, which is a built-in feature.
  • All updates will be continuous until the final build.
  • Mobile devices can be rolled back to the previous OS whenever you want.
  • Microsoft only supports phones for the preview that has a recovery image available. The Windows Phone Recovery Tool will restore image if needed.
  • There are limited devices on the first build: Lumia 630, 635, 636, 638, 730 and 830.

Features To Look For When Testing:

  • Start image should have a full-size, customizable background.
  • Interactive notifications such as images for maps, or dismissing an alarm.
  • The photos should be aggregated based on local and OneDrive photos.
  • Three rows of quick actions.
  • Enhanced speech-to-text with automatic punctuation, and distinctions between certain numbers and words that sound alike but are spelled differently.

In future builds, there will be universal apps in Word, Excel and PowerPoint but they are not in the first build release. Additionally, Mail and Calendar Universal Apps, and IP-based messaging from Skype will be directly integrated into Messaging. Cortina also looks different in the initial testing and is only available in the US and in English.

Issues That Have Already Been Identified

With every introduction of a new app, there are glitches. Here are a few that have been identified and workable solutions:

  • Wi-Fi settings don’t roam after upgrade.

Solution: Manually set Wi-Fi settings on Windows 10

  • VPN not available.

Solution: Will be included in future build.

  • Additional language keyboards absent and unable to install on US builds

Solution: Reopen Windows Insider app. Reselect Insider Fast/Slow.

  • Photo app fails when attaching to an email, OneNote, or Facebook.

Solution: Try again.

  • Lock screen picture will sometimes fail.

Solution: Try again.

  • Cellular data not working while roaming.

Solution: Turn off and on again

  • APNs in recovery images may fall out of date.

Solution: Record specific APN settings on phone before using Windows Mobile Recovery Tool. Set phone manually when restored.

  • Bluetooth headset usage when playing video will have low frame rate.

Solution: Used wired headset for listening to audio when playing videos.

These are just a few things you should know when testing the Windows 10 Technical Preview on a mobile device. There are always risks involved in testing, including bugs that may prevent access to core features and functionality. The support for additional phones will increase with each build, with an announcement on the new devices that have been added to the list. To speak with other testers and help in solving problems to make this release a success, the Windows Insider Community Forum is available.

It’s no secret that Windows 10 won’t fix every current issue, but it does have the promise of an enticing code that will close the existing application gap and advance testing to offer the same applications regardless of OS and phone.

Allaire W

Windows Phone Success Depends On App Quality

WP8It might not have the marketshare of Android or the cult following of iOS, but the Windows Phone OS is slowly gaining traction – by quickly adding new apps.

In fact, according to Microsoft, their Windows Phone Store now features more than 300,000 apps and games as of late last week. Two months ago, that number stood at 255,000 apps. A month later, 270,000. The interesting aspect of this milestone, as Softpedia also notes, is not so much the number of apps, but the rate in which they were added:

This milestone is much more important given the fact that it was achieved during summer, when usually developers should be away on holiday. It’s also important to note that Windows Phone Store gained more than 30,000 apps in just three weeks, which means that by the end of the year, there’s a high chance it will reach 4-500,000 apps.

For mobile app developers, there may be no time like the present to establish a presence in Windows Phone Store. Though a distant third in terms of OS marketshare (at 3.4% compared to Android’s 52.1% and iOS’ 41.3%), it’s obvious that the ecosystem still has room to grow.

But while the quantity of apps makes headlines, it’s the quality of apps that will ultimately determine the operating system’s success and longevity. If the data is accurate, it appears as though this point has not been lost on Windows Phone developers.

Back in July of 2013 – shortly after Applause began crawling the Windows Phone Store – we conducted a brief study on the highest rated apps within each app store. What we found was that, among the top three, Windows Phone apps generally received much higher ratings compared to its iOS and Android counterparts. Here’s an abridged version of the results at the time:

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Microsoft to Offer Windows Phone Kill-Switch

securityIn effort to combat mobile phone theft (and to mitigate the damage it can cause) Microsoft recently announced that it would be adding “kill-switch” deterrents to their Windows Phone mobile operating system.

According to Computerworld, Microsoft will have the new system will be in place by July 2015, meeting a deadline they set for themselves last year in conjunction with CTIA, an international nonprofit membership organization that has represented the wireless communications industry since 1984.

According to CTIA’s “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment,” willing signees pledge to offer a minimum of four theft-deterrent features, ranging from remote-wiping capabilities to a device kill-switch.

“Today, we are able to confirm that we will meet these commitments before the CTIA goal of July 2015,” Fred Humphries, an executive in Microsoft’s U.S. government affairs group, declared late last week in a blog post.

Of note, Microsoft actually signed the agreement two months ago, along with Google, Apple, Samsung, HTC, AT&T, and Verizon. Humphries’ comments on the matter were made immediately following the release of new data illustrating that anti-theft tools have dramatically reduced smartphone-related crime.

According to U.S. law enforcement authorities, iPhone theft has decreased considerably in New York City and San Francisco since September 2013, coinciding with the release of Apple’s iOS 7. The iOS 7 upgrade provided owners with a kill-switch that would enable them to lock lost or stolen iPhones and iPads, or even to completely wipe their devices remotely.

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Video: Prepare for Windows 8.1 Changes

Microsoft is working on the newest version of its mobile OS: Windows 8.1. The update is reported to include a lot of changes and won’t be released for a few months, but Microsoft has released an emulator to help teams start preparing their apps for the change.

WinBeta has been playing around with the emulator to discover some of the new features.

Windows Phones 8.1 includes support for “Universal Apps” – consisting of tools to build apps for both Windows Store and Windows Phone Store. Support for a 3rd-party text messaging client is also indicated in this build, along with a “Battery Power Sense” tool which presumably helps you monitor battery life and get the most out of it. …

Other features we have to look forward to, but are not available in this build, are the Siri-like voice assistant app and the new notification/action center. Microsoft has already said that Windows Phone 8.1 will be made available to any device currently running Windows Phone 8.

They also produced a video to show off some of the changes. Start accounting for these changes so you can begin testing as soon as Windows 8.1 becomes available.

Top 7 Reasons Windows Phone Apps are Rejected

Windows Phone App StoreNothing is more frustrating than working on a great new app, submitting it to the app store for approval and receiving a rejection notice. What did you do wrong? Why was your app rejected? You likely got an explanation with the rejection notice, but it might be vague and unhelpful. You can scour the web for best practices, but what better place to get app development do’s and don’ts than straight from the people responsible for approving or rejecting your app?

A recent post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog gathered members of the Windows Phone Store Certification and Policy team to share the most common reasons Windows Phone apps are rejected. Here are the top seven reasons apps are rejected (from most common to least common).

Incorrect app screenshots
Your app screenshots should not include any emulator chrome, frame rate counters, or debug information. They should not be altered or be transparent. Also, photos of your app running on a device or the emulator are not substitutes for a screenshot taken with the emulator.

Missing information to test the app
Many apps require login credentials to run. If your app requires an existing account, make sure you create a test account that can be used by the certification team during testing. Don’t forget to include the account credentials in the Certification notes in your Dev Center submission.

App crashes
This requirement is simply to verify that your app doesn’t crash during certification testing. As you know, if your app crashes in release mode, it just goes away without any user prompt. Certification will reject your app if it “unexpectedly terminates” during testing.

Incorrect icons and tile images
Developers sometimes forget to replace default icons and tile images in an app created from a Visual Studio template.

Incorrect use of the Back button
The Back button behavior is narrowly defined. The Back button should:

– Close the app only if the app is on the main page
– Go to the previous page only if not on the main page
– Close an open dialog
– Close the soft keyboard

Insufficient localization information
For each of the languages your app supports, you must provide a localized app description. This is the description entered as part of your Dev Center submission. Certification testing also verifies that your app displays properly for each of the languages your app supports.

Lack of support for both light and dark phone themes
This requirement ensures your app displays properly in both light and dark themes. You can switch between themes on your phone.

These mistakes touch on a few key areas, from simple attention to detail and testing usability on a Windows Phone with someone who is familiar with the OS’s UI standards to understanding the importance of thorough localization testing and being able to collect in-depth crash reports while testing your app.

For tips on avoiding these common mistakes, read the Windows Phone Developer Blog >>>

Windows Phone Creates Brand Name Web Apps

Windows Phone Web AppsSince some major brand names are still not committing to developing Windows Phone apps, Microsoft was decided to take matters into its own hands.

To fill the gaps in its Windows Phone App Store, Microsoft is repackaging brand websites into pinnable web apps. These packed web apps will make it easier for Windows Phone users to find the “app” like they would a native app, rather than searching in a browser.

Microsoft is going after some big names in this move – Crate & Barrel, Petsmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, 1-800-Flowers and many more – in hopes of encouraging these brands to develop native Windows Phone apps. From The Verge:

Microsoft is taking a new approach to its lack of Windows Phone apps. The software maker has started publishing Windows Phone apps for websites like Lowe’s, TMZ, and J.Crew that are simply the mobile version of the sites packaged into a Windows Phone app. In a move that ZDNet notes is part of Microsoft’s WebApps team, there’s over 40 web apps published that are designed to look like Windows Phone apps.

A Microsoft spokesperson has confirmed the apps are published by the company, noting that they’re not designed to replace native apps.

I hope the websites Microsoft is pulling from have been optimized for mobile!

Don Norman Weighs in on Mobile Design and Usability

Mobile Design and UsabilityGetting to pick an expert’s brain is always exciting and insightful. We do it on a monthly basis on the uTest Software Testing Blog as part of our Testing the Limits series (this month we spoke to four experts – the board members of the newly founded International Society for Software Testing). Recently the folks over at GigaOm got to sit down with design guru Don Norman.

The man who wrote “the bible for design thinking and technology” and went so far as to say that bad design is downright dangerous has some interesting things to say about today’s technology and design. Here’s a snippet of the GigaOm interview:

Android. I think that the Android phones and Apple iOS phones are remarkably similar. There’s very little difference. The main difference is what religion you subscribe to: Do you subscribe to the religion of Apple or the religion of Google? Actually, I think Android in many ways is a copy of the Apple iPhone.

Apple has always exerted tremendous control over what you can do with their products. They control the hardware and the software and they are restrictive about the kind of apps that can run on it. Apple developers have a horrible time because they submit their app to Apple, Apple takes a long time and says ‘no,’ and it’s hard to figure out why they said ‘no.’

I don’t use the Apple phones because I don’t like the restrictive dictatorial policies Apple has instituted, so I went to Android because it’s more open. As a result of the openness, though, there’s a bit more chaos. Different apps work in different ways and are maybe not as reliable, but I still prefer the openness of Android. The truth is I use an iPad and I use an (iPod) Touch and I use an Android phone. But they’re all the same.

And just to get your a bit more worked up, here’s Don’s response when asked about Windows Phone:

I think Microsoft has sort of been left out of this battle. People forget they exist. I think that the Windows 8 for phones is really a better system than either the iPhone or the Android. I’m very impressed with what Microsoft has done. It’ll take them a few tries to get it right. Now it’s on version 2 — and version 3 is always Microsoft’s hotspot. And I think the new Surface tablets and new phones — they did not copy Android, they did not copy iPhone. They started over again. They understand discoverability. They understand some of these design principles and they use them.

There’s a lot more to this great interview discussing design and mobile (and a few other things). Be sure to read the whole thing at GigaOM >>>

Mobile Quality Tool Apphance Gets an Upgrade

Last month, uTest introduced a brand new UI for Apphance, a mobile quality tool that makes it easy for mobile app developers to understand how their apps are working across a wide range of mobile devices, carriers and locations. After making so many improvements to the UI, we’re ready to turn our attention to the other half of the Apphance software stack – the SDKs. Today we’re launching a new and improved version of the iOS SDK, version 1.8.8, that adds several features and enhancements our users have been asking for. Let’s take a look at a few of the big ones:

Two-Finger Swipe Bug Reporting

One of Apphance’s coolest features is in-app bug reporting. You simply shake the device and Apphance responds by taking a screenshot and allowing the user to write a complete bug report right on the device itself. Our customers love this feature because it allows them to see bugs in the same context as they were discovered, along with important details and information about the device and app state.

While most users prefer to trigger bug reports by shaking the device, some of our customers have asked us for an alternative. Many of them use the accelerometer for other purposes, or they’re developing fitness apps where the device is always in motion. With this new update, we’re introducing an alternative (and optional) bug reporting approach that relies on swiping your fingers upwards from the lower corners of the screen.

Instructions for changing the bug reporting mechanism are available in the Apphance help topics. By default, Apphance will still trigger bug reports using the accelerometer, but switching to the two-finger swipe method can be accomplished by adding just two lines of code.

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