The numbers that suggest users are forsaking desktops and laptops in favor of spending time on mobile devices keep rolling in. From smartphones on-the-go, to tablets while at home, consumers are turning more and more to their smaller devices. This year, users in the US are
expected to spend more media time on mobile than on computers, eMarketer predicts. From eMarketer:
US adults will spend 43.6% of their overall media time with digital this year, including 19.4% on mobile—compared to 19.2% on laptops and PCs. Time spent with mobile phones and tablets, excluding voice calls, has risen from 13.4% of all media time last year, and has nearly tripled since 2011.
The mobile number might be inching up because of increasing instances of multitasking. Users may be watching TV, but they’re more likely to also be using a mobile device at the same time these days. When calculating time spent on devices, eMarketer takes both activities into account individually.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, social networking and video consumption are the two biggest activities driving the rise of mobile use.
The shift from desktop to mobile, whether smartphone or tablet, is happening across a variety of activities, including social networking and digital video viewing. And tablets are key to the trend. As social networking and video reach plateaus in terms of share of total desktop time (around 29% and 18%, respectively), these activities are growing more quickly on smartphones, and especially tablets. The share of all tablet time spent with video, for example, will nearly double this year, from 10% to 19%.
Read the full report at eMarketer >>>
Interestingly, video and social media consumption is also growing in traditional online formats, though at a slower pace. It likely won’t be long until smartphone and tablet use surpass online access entirely in these fields.
Mobile app related jobs score big on this infographic about IT Jobs from Staff:
iPhone users are pretty faithful updaters whenever a new OS version is released. On top of that, they are typically quick to buy the newest hardware. From Gazelle:
Of the 881 respondents Gazelle heard from in a recent survey about the upcoming iPhone launch … an overwhelming 85% tell us they are likely or very likely to buy the new iPhone when it’s available.
With iOS 7 set to hit the masses soon, developers (and the testers working with them) have a lot to do to make sure apps are optimized for the latest Apple offering. Here’s a video that highlights seven key changes you’ll want to be aware of. (For more information on these tips, download the free companion eBook.)
Who doesn’t love stats? They’re neat, easy to consume, interesting, hopefully factual and great for blowing your mind, disappointing you or wowing your friends. They might even come in handy at a trivia night.
Whether you’re a stat lover or not, as a mobile app tester it would help to have any idea of what the broader mobile world looks like. Popular devices, OSes, browsers, carriers; popular mobile activities; usage patterns; these can all help you be a better tester by giving you an idea of what end users really want and do with their apps.
mobiThinking has gathered all these mobile-centric stats, studies and reports and put them in one handy location. The inspiration behind the Global Mobile Statistics 2013 Home, according to mobiThinking, is to help set the record straight in this world of poorly-researched shocker stats.
In the past three years, we have gone from a smattering of mobile statistics to an abundance of useful information. But there’s still a long way to go, there are still huge gaps in our knowledge, some countries enjoy a proliferation of data sources, while others have little or none; and the quality of statistics varies incredibly. As telecoms regulators and industry associations start to collect and share meaningful data, things will only get better.
An unfortunate side effect of the media’s recent surge of enthusiasm for mobile in the past year is a tendency to highlight data of dubious quality (often when better is available), and/or widespread misunderstanding, misreporting and failure to qualify figures they have cherry-picked. This isn’t just misleading and confusing, it’s damaging. If brands are persuaded by hype to divert funds into niche, ill-thought-through mobile projects and then get burnt, the whole mobile business suffers.
This mobile stats compendium – which is regularly updated – hopefully goes some way to putting right some of the sins of the last few years. But please remember that even the best quality independent statistics are speculative to some degree – stats are not facts.
Divided into easy-to-navigate sections and with helpful tags that denote new additions, mobiThinking puts this knowledge at your finger tips. Section E is all about Mobile Apps, App Stores, Pricing and Failure Rates – many of the subtopics in this section are flagged as ‘new.’ There are also sections on Mobile Subscribers, Handset Makers and Operators; Mobile Web; Consumer Mobile Behavior; M-Payments, -Ticketing, -Commerce, -Coupons, -etc. and a lot more.
Know the trends and stats so you can be a better tester.
*A note about the title of this post: I know that this isn’t really all the mobile stats ever, but it sure is a lot of them all in one place. If you know of a recent study that isn’t included on mobiThinking’s list, feel free to share it in the comments below!
It seems like just about everyone has a cellphone these days, many of those being smartphones. With such seemingly wide-spread proliferation people have been whispering for years that the market for smartphone growth in the US will be tapped out soon. Recent numbers showing declining rates of network activations seem to hint at the same issue. According to a study by Chetan Sharma, new network connections hit an all time low earlier this year. From the Chetan Sharma study:
For the quarter, the market added a paltry 139K new connections, a decline of 95% from Q2 2012. It was the lowest net-adds quarter in the US mobile history (barring the early days of tepid growth).
According to a Gigaom article, the growing trend of emerging tech and the Internet of Things was expected to accelerate the rise of new connections again, but they haven’t created actual demand to meet the hype quite yet. Most of the “new” connections are actually pre-existing customers from somewhere else.
Creating new mobile subscribers has become increasingly difficult for carriers in recent years the mobile phone proliferate across society, but operators were hoping to keep the market humming along by connecting tablets, cameras, cars, farm equipment and every manner of object in the emerging internet of things. With the exception of tablets, that’s clearly not happening. …
Sharma estimates that 90 percent of all carrier subscriber gains are customers they’ve taken from another carrier, either from each other or from one of the smaller carriers. The remaining 10 percent are all that’s left for actual mobile industry growth. The industry is approaching a stalemate, where individual carriers are making small gains, but overall the number of pieces on the board remain unchanged.
But while things are slowing down, Sharma doesn’t think we’re quite near the end yet. There will always be room for at least some growth while smartphones still exist.
There has been some speculation in the market that the smartphone growth in the US market is over. In the US, roughly 240M subscribers have 335M mobile subscriptions. Out of those 240 subs, roughly 145M have smartphones (many of them have two or more). These days newborns get an iPhone on their arrival as a welcome gift, but if we take out the 0-5 age group, we are left with 293M potential subs. This means the potential market for smartphones at this point in time is 148M subs who don’t have a smartphone (obviously, there will always be folks who just don’t want any wireless phone – smartphone or otherwise but the size of that group is shrinking). Add to the upgrade cycle which averages between 18-20 months in the US, the market for smartphone growth remains pretty healthy.
The global market is even more fertile.
And other connected devices might eventually start effecting mobile connection numbers in one way or another. While consumers originally favored WiFi tablets, they’re starting to embrace tablets with data plans – especially if the can tie that new device to their existing data plan used for a smartphone. Gigaom noted this trend with cars as well, pointing out that people seem to prefer interacting with their smartcars via phones rather than a brand new OS and network connection. Here are some interesting notes about shared data plans from Sharma:
- Shared data plans launched by Verizon and AT&T saw positive results. The tablet and other device attachment rate has gone up by 60%.
- Shared data plans are working so well for AT&T that most of its postpaid growth is coming from tablets. In the last 4 quarters, postpaid tablets accounted for over 72% of the net-adds.
- Shared data plans moved tablet session based consumers to postpaid tablet plans with more predictable revenue stream. The $10 surcharge for every device is still an inhibitor for many consumers. Over time, we expect this fee to go away to bring in many more consumers experience data services across devices other than their smartphones.
The need for connections is there, it’s just a matter of figuring out what and how users want to consume.
A (kind of) oldie but a goodie. James Bach lectures about software testing – his thoughts, skills you need to develop and general great advice.
Mobile app security (or lack thereof) is a big concern these days – for both developers and end users. But while the end user is somewhat at the mercy of the hackers, developers actually have steps they can take to mitigate the risk of a security breach. Among those steps, developing a hybrid app instead of a native app.
Awhile back, NetworkWorld.com ran a nice guest post by Michelle Drolet, founder of Towerwall, on some effective tips for testing the security of mobile apps. It’s a great read if you have the time, but the real interesting piece of content had to do with the future of hybrid apps. Take a look:
Companies are increasingly opting for the hybrid approach so they can cover a wide range of platforms, but also leverage the hardware capabilities of different mobile devices. Gartner analysts suggest that more than 50% of deployed apps will be hybrid by 2016. [Also see: "What enterprise mobile apps can learn from mobile games"]
As you may imagine, each type of app requires specific testing. In each case you’ll need to consider how to protect data as it travels across mobile networks. There’s always a split between what is actually deployed to the mobile device, and the central processing or data storage that’s deployed to a server. There’s a range of software out there designed to assist your IT department in testing an app’s security.
To cover all the bases and ensure effective penetration testing is carried out, your best option is to engage a third-party organization with the right expertise. They will put your app to the test, approaching it as a real attacker would — with no regard for how the system is intended to be used, just a determination to breach it.
Nothing is a bigger turn off than an app that drains the battery. Once users peg the offending app, it’s sure to be deleted. Rajat Harlalka wrote a guest post for The Next Web highlighting the biggest power sucking offenders – and the best way to avoid making this dire misstep.
Here are the biggest battery drainers:
1. The Display. According to a research paper the display of a mobile device is capable of consuming 45-50% of the system’s power in some cases. Luckily, display and image brightness levels can give you some workarounds to avoid this issue.
2. Network Interfaces. Research from the National University of Singapore found that “wireless data communication represents roughly 40 percent of energy consumption in mobile devices when the display is on, and roughly 70 percent of energy consumption when the device display is switched off.”
To limit the power used by network interfaces, Rajat recommends taking a second look at how, why and how often devices are connecting to servers. Limiting the connections is a logical way to limit excessive power consumption. This goes double for GPS and location based services – consider whether user location data is absolutely necessary to your app.
3. Mobile ads. A subset of Network Interfaces, I think mobile ads deserve their own paragraph, especially since this blog is all about mobile app testing. A study put out by researchers are UC Berkeley and Microsoft Research found that mobile ads “consume 65 percent of an app’s total communication energy, or 23 percent of an app’s total energy.” If an app seems to be draining a lot of battery power, consider if there are more ads than usual or if they change often.
4. Too much pressure on CPU. Not paying attention to CPU is as major no-no. Boost battery life by focusing processing power only where it’s necessary. Rajat highlights six specific things you can consider to decrease the pressure.
Pay special attention to this one: “It is important for developers to understand the hardware configuration of their target device. For example, when designing audio-video applications, choose the format and codec type that is hardware assisted. Substantial CPU load savings can be realized by developers who utilize hardware accelerated codec’s solutions rather than software based alternatives.”
We don’t live in a one-dimensional mobile world, there are a lot of different devices to consider. Understanding how they all (or at least a few) work can help you avoid an issue down the line.
5. Unnecessary Hardware. “Smartphones contain several other components such as a camera, accelerometer, various sensors, etc. When accessing device hardware, you should ensure that your software has failover parameters which turn off the peripheral after period of inactivity. Turning off Bluetooth, GPS and other features when they are not in use is an easy way to save battery life in your app.”
Read Rajat’s full article on The Next Web >>>
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.