Feature Phones Still Dominate World Market

Global Cell Phone BreakdownHere in the U.S. it sure seems like everyone and their mother has a smartphone these days. But when you take a global snapshot of the cellphone market it turns out that only 27% of cell owners are sporting a smartphone, according to a recent study by VisionMobile. TechCrunch does a nice job of summarizing the report and including some great infographics:

With all the talk of iPhone vs. Android these days, it’s easy to forget how the majority of the world’s mobile users still make calls and access data: via feature phones. A recently released report (download) from mobile strategy firm VisionMobile takes a look at today’s mobile marketplace finding that, despite the sharp rise in smartphone shipments over 2010 and 2011, global smartphone penetration (by OS) is at just 27%.

Smartphone adoption varies wildly by region, the report finds. Not surprisingly, those markets where 3G coverage is extensive and subscription plans are “post-paid” (as opposed to pre-paid) see the highest smartphone adoption rates. Meanwhile, in markets dominated by pre-paid subscriptions, the real battle is price. Here, Nokia’s mid-tier Symbian platforms and BlackBerry consumer-targeted models are still holding onto significant market share. However, both platforms are now facing threats from low-cost Android phones, thanks to the latter’s pricing versatility. Android devices today sell for anywhere from $100 to $750 (USD), allowing the phones to compete both on the high-end and the low-end of the pricing spectrum.

In the North American and European markets, smartphone penetration is the highest, with 63% and 51% market share, respectively. In the Asia-Pacific region (19%), Africa/Middle East region (18%) and Latin America (17%), it’s much lower.

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Mobile App Testing: You Know, For Startups

Big news from the front lines of mobile app testing. As of yesterday, early-stage startups in the mobile space now have an easy, affordable way to get their applications tested and reviewed by a team of professional testers.

The service is called uTest Express, and it’s been built for all of the major mobile operating systems, including  iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, WinMo and Symbian. Below are some more details from uTest CMO Matt Johnston, who announced the service yesterday on the uTest Blog.

Express makes it easy to get real-world testing and expert feedback that meets your needs and budget. Oh, did we forget to mention that plans start at only $499? That’s half of what you probably spent on Red Bull and Starbucks while you were building your location-based, freemium, socially-linked, caffeine-free, voice-powered, 3D, virtual reality, highly-addictive, semantic-searching, gaming-layered, hybrid-powered, native app, right?.

For each project, uTest handpicks members of its tester community from North America who best match the testing requirements and have the right mobile devices and operating systems. The customer’s mobile application is then tested professionally on real devices across real carriers, providing real-world testing results and expert feedback that aren’t possible with emulators, simulators or remote access.

At the conclusion of each project, customers receive a list of well-documented bugs, including screenshots and videos with steps to reproduce them. They also receive expert feedback from the testers about the application – including app ratings and feedback for interface design, usability, app performance and more. To learn more about how it works, watch this brief Product Tour.

Here are a few key features of the service:

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Testing the Symbian OS: What You Need To Know

Here to explain the basics for testing apps within the Symbian mobile operating system is uTester Julio Alejandro Tristan. This is the third installment of the “crash course” series, but you can find them all in the uTest Forums (membership required). Enjoy!

Background: Symbian is an open source operation system and software platform designed for smartphones and maintained by Nokia.

Versions of symbian and list of sample devices

  • Series 60 3rd Edition

Examples: Nokia 5320 XpressMusic, Nokia 5630 XpressMusic, Nokia 5730 XpressMusic, Nokia 6210 Navigator, Nokia 6220 Classic, Nokia 6650 fold, Nokia 6710 Navigator, Nokia 6720 Classic, Nokia 6730 Classic, Nokia 6760 Slide, Nokia 6790 Surge, Nokia C5-00, Nokia E5-00, Nokia E52, Nokia E55, Nokia E71, Nokia E72, Nokia E75, Nokia N78, Nokia N79, Nokia N85, Nokia N86 8MP, Nokia N96, Nokia X5, Samsung GT-i8510 (INNOV8), Samsung GT-I7110, Samsung SGH-L870, Nokia C5-00

  • Symbian^1 (Series 60 5th Edition)

Examples: Nokia 5228, Nokia 5230, Nokia 5233, Nokia 5235 , Nokia 5250, Nokia 5530 XpressMusic, Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, Nokia 5800 Navigation Edition, Nokia C5-03, Nokia C6-00, Nokia N97, Nokia N97 mini, Nokia X6 , Samsung i8910 Omnia HD,Sony Ericsson Satio, Sony Ericsson Vivaz, Sony Ericsson Vivaz Pro

  • Symbian^1: For the Japanese market
  • Symbian^3/Symbian^4

Examples: Nokia N8, Nokia C6-01, Nokia C7-00, Nokia E7-00

How can I find the series of my Symbian device?

In order to find the series of your Symbian device you must follow these few steps:

Settings>Phone>Phone mngmt.>About>and then the first line of text says the serie and version of your Symbian OS.

How can I find the firmware version of my Symbian device?

Nokia ——————– *#0000#
Samsung —————- *#9999# or *#1234#
Sony-Ericsson ———– Right, *, Left, Left, *, Left (Using D-Pad)

Application testing:

Here are some issues to check when you are facing a Symbian application test:

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Want to Write for MobileAppTesting.com?

MobileAppTesting.com is on the prowl for contributing writers – but not just any writers. We’re looking for writers with a passion for the world of mobile applications; who follow the industry’s latest trends and developments. Maybe even writers who have developed or tested any application or two. Does this sound like you?

A little background: We launched mobileapptesting.com as a gathering place for all things mobile. The site was designed to encourage collaboration and information sharing among mobile app designers, developers and testing professionals – and that’s where YOU come in.

As a contributing writer, you would be responsible for producing content in any of the following areas:

  • Hard-earned lessons for entrepreneurs, techies and investors who want to create world-class mobile apps
  • Overcoming obstacles unique to developing and testing apps for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Symbian
  • Breaking news and product reviews (for apps, devices, networks and more) from top bloggers and journalists on the front lines of the mobile app explosion
  • Interviews with mobile leaders, offering insights from across the worlds of mobile app marketing, design, development and testing
  • How-to articles for mobile application testers and developers

What’s in it for you?
This is your chance to become a recognized thought-leader in the rapidly expanding field of mobile applications. There are currently very few people blogging about this subject (despite an enormous demand for information) so there’s never been a better time to stake your claim as an expert.

Are you up for it? If so, send your submissions, ideas or questions to mikeb@utest.com.

Mobile App Developers: Too Reliant on Beta Testing?

Safe to say that mobile app development has greatly outpaced mobile app testing over the last few years. In other words, while the applications, platforms and operating systems have seen tremendous advances, the same cannot be said of mobile testing methodologies.

Case in point: The majority of mobile app developers are still overwhelmingly reliant on internal beta testing.

Here with proof is VisionMobile, who recently published a fascinating report on the mobile app ecosystem. A must-read for anyone – and I mean anyone – involved with mobile applications (i.e. developing, marketing, sales, etc.) the report should serve to demonstrate that mobile app testing has a long way to go before it’s fully matured. Here’s the key excerpt:

Internal beta testing is the most popular technique used by the vast majority (nearly 70 percent) of respondents, with beta testing with users and peer reviewing the next most popular techniques. Only 20 percent of respondents use focus groups or research of their own. Overall, North American developers are somewhat more sophisticated in their application planning, with 97 percent using beta testing as a standard part of application development and with broader use of a portfolio of planning techniques as well.

Yet, small development firms have limited means today to beta test and peer review their applications with a crosssection of representative users. Given the hundreds of thousands of mobile apps, we believe that efficient
(crowd-sourced) testing of apps in a global market of users is considerably under-utilized. This presents an opportunity for the few solution providers in this segment – Mob4Hire and uTest.com, for example – but also for network operators, who can generate a channel for testing applications with end users, and provide an open feedback support system back to developers.

Other interesting findings included:

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Mobile OS and Application Platforms

The mobile industry is being increasing cluttered with jargon, says Anuj Gupta, our latest guest blogger for mobileapptesting.com. In this post, Anuj clears the air with an essential primer for anyone remotely involved in the mobile testing space, including discussions on the most popular operating systems and application platforms for iPhone, Blackberry, Windows mobile and more.

Mobile devices are evolving into increasingly sophisticated general purpose computers and this has led to the development of a variety of platforms and operating systems in the mobile space. Today, the operating system lying inside your mobile device is equally important as the device manufacturer (OEM). The various features, GUI, processing speed, and most importantly, the applications available for your device will depend greatly on the underlying OS.

Unfortunately, industry jargon has cluttered our understanding of this emerging technology. It is my intention to clear the air on a few of these misunderstandings. Here goes….

Manufacturers launch devices based on various user segments, and giving rise to a number of Mobile OS and Application platforms. A mobile OS manages the hardware and software resources of a mobile device, similar to that of a computer OS. Some OS platforms cover the entire range of the software stack, while others may only include the lower levels (typically the kernel and middleware layers) and rely on additional software platforms to provide a user interface framework.

Today’s phones are expected to run a growing range of software such as internet browsers, navigation packages, games and music/video players. Application platforms are supposed to provide a ground for them.  Application platforms are built over lower-level kernel operating systems (OS) such as Rex, Linux or compact real-time OS’s such as Nucleus. Software running on the device accesses platform resources through a set of application programming interfaces or APIs. Application development platforms, such as Brew, Symbian UIQ, Android, LIMO, ALP, Qtopia or WIPI provide programming resources for native and Java applications.

Mobile developers typically develop for multiple platforms to maximize their available market. This can be a difficult and time-consuming task as multiple platforms use different API calls for common OS operations and accessing OS resources such as accessing memory and files.

There is a variety of both the OS and the application platforms in the market. Obviously, some are more dominant than others. Here is a list of major mobile operating systems and Application platforms.

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