Apps You Won’t Be Testing on iOS Soon

iOS 6 may render some apps obsoleteiOS 6 introduced a whole slew of new built-in features and apps to the iOS community. Unfortunately for developers and testers, those new features may make their market share obsolete. Here are some of the potentially hardest hit areas, according to TechCrunch:

Turn-by-Turn Navigation
The most obvious app makers who will be affected are probably Garmin and TomTom, famous leaders in the space that sell GPS-based navigation apps at a premium. Both have USA navigation apps priced at around $50 on the Apple App store today. … But forget about the big guys: There are a number of startups and free apps that could also be hurt by an improved Maps app.

Payment and Loyalty Programs
The introduction of Apple’s PassBook could be great for consumers, as it has the potential to allow them to aggregate all sorts of “passes” all in one place: That includes stuff like boarding passes, store cards, and movie tickets to start, but there are all sorts of possibilities here to disrupt the larger mobile payments industry, as well as upend a whole bunch of smaller loyalty programs that are emerging on iOS.

Offline Readers and Bookmarks
The new offline reading lists will allow users to cache entire websites rather than just individual links. For users who have to date relied on Instapaper, Pocket, Spool, or other apps to save content for reading during their commutes or when not connected to the Internet, having the same native capability built into iOS could obviate the need for those apps.

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“Arkham City Lockdown” Experiencing Crash Issue

Batman Arkham City Lockdown iOS AppThis seems like yet another instance of insufficient testing. The newest Batman game, “Arkham City Lockdown,” was recently released and while it’s averaging a good star rating, it’s contending with some fairly serious crash issues for some would-be users. Here’s what one of those potential users is experiencing (from TechNewsWorld):

As much as I wanted to play “Batman Arkham City Lockdown,” I couldn’t. Ten times out of 10, the app would crash before I could start playing. I was using a first-gen iPad, which should be a supported device, according to iTunes. Is this a case of inadequate testing? …

I gave it 10 chances, and it crashed 10 times.

I’d get to the point at which I could select a memory slot in which to create a new game, then suddenly my iPad’s wallpaper would be staring back at me again. Maybe if I stuck it out once more I’d succeed on the eleventh try, but if this game always takes nearly a dozen warm-up sessions to actually get in the mood, I can’t imagine myself playing it more than once. …

Am I the only one experiencing this problem? No again. Sorting the reviews on iTunes by “Most Critical,” I see much use of the word “crash.”

Paul, who wrote the TechNewsWorld article, downloaded the app onto his first gen iPad. At first he thought that might be the issue, but if it is, Warner Brothers (who released the app) have some explaining to do. Back to Paul:

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Head to Head App Testing

Head to HeadWhen you’re testing a mobile app, you’re looking for things like functionality, usability and security. You probably form your own opinion of the app and maybe even compare it in your head to other, similar apps – but that’s not an official, reportable part of testing. Well, today we’re going to satisfy that human need to compare things.

Let’s start with PCWorld‘s comparison of mobile search apps from Google, Bing and Yahoo on Android. Here’s what they came up with:

Interface, Tools, and Navigation

Bing’s Beauty
Bing’s appeal is obvious from the moment you launch the app: Its full-screen interface is gorgeous. The app highlights the same image of the day on the desktop version of Bing. A list of search options runs down the screen, allowing you to choose from among images, videos, maps, local, deals, movies, news, shopping, and directions. …

Every Bing screen includes a search query bar at the top. You can enter a query by typing it, or you can press the microphone icon and then enter the query by voice. Bing’s voice recognition software worked flawlessly (as it did on the Google and Yahoo apps as well). Once you begin typing, Bing automatically pushes you to its search page, which displays suggestions as you type. This text-heavy page lacks the visual grace notes that Bing sports on its other pages. …

Overall Bing was most notable for delivering a slick, intuitive mobile search interface.

Favorite interface: Bing. With its mix of beauty and intuitive navigation, Bing looks great and is easy to use, too.

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iPad Still Top Tablet … For Now

IDC Tablet PredictionsThe iPad continues to dominate the tablet market and its sales are still increasing more quarter-over-quarter than Android tablets. But with the increasing number of Android tablets hitting the market and the popularity of the Kindle Fire, IDC projects that Android-based tablets will catch up and overtake iOS’ lead in the next four year. TechCrunch highlights some numbers from the new report:

While Apple will continue to be the single biggest tablet maker on the market, Android, collectively, will continue to hold its own against it, with some notable devices like the Amazon Kindle Fire doing particularly well. But it will not be until 2016 — four years from now — that IDC thinks that Android shipments will outnumber those of iOS.

Even though the Kindle Fire was available only in the U.S. in Q4, IDC says that the $199 device accounted for 16.8 percent of all tablet shipments in Q4 2011, or some 4.7 million units, making it the largest “Android” vendor. …

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#SXSW Apps Tested by uTest

For the second year in a row, uTest will be making an appearance at SXSW, the world-famous music/film/interactive conference in Austin, Texas. Unlike last year – where we spent most of our time eating, drinking and schmoozing with storm troopers – we have some new, big plans in store.

The obvious difference is that we’ll be cruising around Austin in the RVIP Lounge, hitting up hotspots, giving rides, singing karaoke (poorly) and playing host to SXSW attendees throughout the week. More to come on that, but you can follow @InTheWildTest for deets on our adventures, and real-time locations if you’re at SXSW..

The other difference is that, instead of just talking about the merits of in-the-wild testing, we decided to show a real-world demonstration. So, over the last 36 hours, we assembled a select group of US-based testers to put the official SXSW mobile apps through their paces. In-the-wild testing means live testers, real devices, imperfect connectivity… basically, true real-world conditions. So we went to work testing SXSW’s official apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry. For iOS and Android, we also included tablet testing, to bring the comparison total to six.

Below are some top-level results (note that each category ranged from 1-5):

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% of Total Bugs 17.7% 18.3% 18% 6.6% 23% 16.4%
Overall Score 4.1 4.0 4.6 4.7 3.8 4.2
Usability & Design 4.2 4.1 4.6 4.8 4.1 4.2
Features & Functionality 4.1 4.1 4.7 4.7 3.2 3.9
Application & Performance 3.3 3.2 3.9 4.0 3.5 3.7

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Of course, these figures only tell part of the story. As the apps were tested in terms of functionality, performance, design, connectivity and other factors, several issues popped up on more than one occasion. Here were a few areas where some notable bugs were uncovered:

  • Incorrect time displays
  • Sync issues with registration and deleted items
  • Crashes on various tablet OS versions
  • Issues with installation
  • Social media integration
  • Issues with rating and uploading photos

It should be noted that despite these issues, the overall reaction from our community was positive for each of these applications. In fact, the overall ratings you see above are substantially higher than the industry norms, so kudos to the respective dev teams.

Anyway, if you’re at SXSW and want to learn more about In-The-Wild Testing, be sure to stop by the RVIP Lounge. If you’re not able to attend, then head on over to inthewildtesting.com.

The Best of the Best iOS Apps

Apple Announces the Top 100 Apps of All TimeIn honor of the 25,000,000,000th (billionth) app download, Apple released a list of the top 100 all-time most downloaded apps. They divided the list into four categories – listing the top 25 most downloaded free and paid apps for iPhone and iPad. It appears that the page has since disappeared from Apple proper and now just redirects to the regular iTunes page, but thanks to the internet the list is not gone forever! Razorianfly has helpfully re-posted the list. Here are the top 10 from each category:

Top Paid iPhone Apps

  1. Angry Birds
  2. Fruit Ninja
  3. Doodle Jump
  4. Cut the Rope
  5. Angry Birds Seasons
  6. Words With Friends
  7. Tiny Wings
  8. Angry Birds Rio
  9. Pocket God
  10. Camera+

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It’s a Bird. It’s a Plane. It’s….an iPad?

Presented without comment:

Racing Games Just Got a Whole Lot Cooler

The thought of using physical game pieces in conjunction with a smartphone/tablet game just got a whole lot cooler!

RC Car + Arduino + iPad from Wannes Vermeulen on Vimeo.

Here’s how it works according to PCWorld:

Using two servo motors, an Arduino Uno microcontroller, the accelerometer data from an iPad, as well as an old Android smartphone for a camera on the car, Vermeulen was able to create what may be the greatest racing video game ever.

Christmas – The Day For Digital Shopping?

Cellphone Christmas TreeSmartphones and tablets were hot ticket items this holiday season – both on wish lists and under the tree. And it looks like one of the main things those happy recipients were doing with their new electronics was … more shopping? According to a report by IMB, sales transactions completed on digital devices on Christmas Day increased by more than 150% over last year! Check it out on TechCrunch:

It looks like consumers in the U.S. were shopping online alongside opening presents this year. According to IBM’s Coremetrics retail data, online sales on Christmas Day grew by 16.4 percent from last year. …

Sales completed from mobile devices grew, reaching 14.4 percent versus 5.3 percent on Christmas Day 2010, representing an increase of 172.9 percent. In terms of specific mobile devices, the iPad led all mobile device traffic to retailers at 7 percent, followed by the iPhone at 6.4 percent and Android at 5 percent.

What are you buying on Christmas Day? Everything you wanted by didn’t get? The report doesn’t mention if those sales numbers include purchases made within app stores/markets, which I assume would see pretty hefty traffic on a day like Christmas. TechCrunch uses the term “retailers” but there’s no further definition. Either way, that’s a drastic increase in only one year!

Read the whole TechCrunch article >>>

B&N Nooks Are For Girls, Samsung Galaxies Are For Boys

Here’s a great infographic from Meltwater Group with some noteworthy breakdowns of tablet statistics:

Tablet Infographic