Mobile App Testing – Ensure the Quality of Your Mobile Application

So you have developed a mobile application and you think its ready for release. You will have probably tested it on an emulator of some kind and possibly a browser or two, and so now you think its time to release it. Before this is done lets consider what state the mobile App is in. The mobile App only ‘appears’ to function correctly at this stage, which to all intensive purposes is a good thing right? but an emulator really only shows you how a real device ‘should’ work when used with your mobile application, it is certainly no guarantee. A web browser can certainly show you what your mobile App will look like on a real device, but there are many factors it cannot show you, for example; the touch screen functionality, CPU difference, memory usage and many more very important areas of functionality. It only takes a slight a small difference in what is ‘expected’ behavior to what is ‘actual’ behavior on a real device.

So once the decision is made to test on a real device, there are some important things to consider:

Which mobile devices do I need?

Lets for example use the most popular for of a mobile application, the iPhone. Currently there are several devices that fit into this category; the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad, and iPod-Touch. In addition there are multiple hardware versions and multiple operating system versions associated with each device. This at first presents a dilemma, but we can rule out older hardware and firmware(operating systems), why is this? well, 99% of users will upgrade to the latest firmware whenever possible to take advantage of bug fixes and new enhanced functionality. Again, you can rule out older versions of hardware, particularly if it is several years old and no longer supports the latest firmware available. Most users of these types of devices will upgrade when their device ‘appears’ out of date. In short, aim to test on the latest hardware and firmware, this in effect gives you a longer period of mobile App longevity.

I can’t afford to buy real devices, what do I do?

Most carriers will offer you the mobile device cheaply if you sign a lengthy contract. This is not really a viable option if you just want to test with it. Most devices can also be bought without a contract, but for an expensive price. Again, this can be expensive, especially using our example of an iPhone App. Teh most cost-effective testing solution is to use an iPhone App testing company to do it for you. They have already made the expensive investment in purchasing the hardware so you don’t have to. A good iPhone App testing company should offer you bundles for testing on multiple devices too.

Should I get a professional App test before release?

As the developer, you are essentially just one set of eyes. It is very important to get a new App tested to some level before its release, as once its out there you can’t do anything about it, until its too late, i.e. you are receiving negative feedback and decreasing sales. You don’t have to hire professional App testers to do the testing, you can get colleagues or friends to help you out. This should at least get some other sets of eyes looking at your App. The advantage of using a professional App testing service however, is they will have experience of a variety of software testing techniques, such as Usability, Functional, Performance testing etc. on many other Apps previously. Their software testers will know where to look for defects within your App and will provide you with an all important degree of confidence which you will only get with a professional App tester.

Which carriers/network providers should I use?

Depending on the country where the software testing is carried out, there will be a limit to which providers can be used. To be honest though, as long as the testing takes into account network specific testing, then the carrier should not matter at all. For example, an App tester will typically test on good, medium and poor signal strengths to test the behavior of your App under these conditions. So, as long as these tests are carried out not only on a wi-fi network but also on a 3G carrier providers network, then it really doesn’t matter.

So to summarize then, you necessarily have to pay out a fortune in order to achieve a level of mobile application testing. With some forethought, you can effectively reduce the amount of real devices you need to test on. You can don’t have to pay a fortune to ensure the quality of your mobile application.

http://www.testing4success.com is a professional Mobile Application Testing company providing highly cost-effective Mobile App Testing services to companies around the globe. Free iPhone App Testing Service available.

Author: James S Clark
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Mobile Payments – Collaboration is the Key

In theory, the concept of mobile payments has a strong business case, given the high market penetration rates of mobile devices, such as cellular phones and PDA?s, in many parts of the world. In addition, mobile operators and financial institutions, through the use of these devices, envision an attractive way to enable their customers to make payments. On the consumer side, users can reap the benefits of convenience, permitting them to buy goods and services from any location.

In principle, a mobile device can be used as a POS (point of sale) tool. Mobile operators and financial institutions consider this concept as the next logical step in making mobile devices a trusted payment device for consumers, acting as a payment instrument supplementing cash, cheque, credit card and debit card.

Currently, financial institutions are rolling out wireless POS capabilities to merchants which are in-turn competing with a consumer?s mobile phone. Several new services have been introduced around the world in which merchants are accepting payments from wireless POS terminals. These wireless POS terminals, for example, allow merchants to offer home delivery services in which payments are presented and accepted upon delivery of goods or services at the consumer?s location.

Wireless POS terminals use the wireless networks of mobile operators to send payment instructions to a merchant acquirer?s payment server. Consequently, wireless POS services are classified as an extension of traditional payment services. Given that in some areas of the world almost everyone will soon own a mobile phone, and most merchant locations offer POS terminals as a form of payment, it is at least conceivable that the mobile device will take over a large part of the retail payment market.

Since wireless POS implementations are an extension of current payment infrastructures, users still need to use a credit or debit card to make purchases. The convenience associated with current wireless POS methods have to do with the fact that these terminals are brought to the location of the purchase. For example, in a restaurant environment with the user paying for their bill via debit card from their seat, or for their groceries which have been delivered to their front door.

Mobile devices enable the use of numerous services, services that do not need card readers, personal computers, and modem combinations or a merchant?s wireline POS terminal. Nowadays, mobile devices have an embedded chip that can be used to store information and provide secure authorization and identification.

The Need for Interoperability

But to make these services available to the majority of mobile users, mobile payment service providers need to roll out services that offer interoperability. There have been numerous mobile payment pilots conducted that enable mobile devices to be used as a payment option, some of which have advanced into full mobile payment services (e.g. PayPal, PayBox, MovilPago). To date, we?ve discovered that the key to providing a successful mobile payment service has to do with the benefits it gives the end user and the end user’s customers: convenience, security, and freedom being a few key elements.

Though the industry has a long way to go before mobile devices will become a consumer?s payment instrument of choice, to ensure the stability of a viable mobile payments infrastructure, collaboration is the key.

Both mobile operators and financial institutions have tried, with little success, to implement their own individual pilot projects. Both parties have encountered numerous difficulties. Mobile operators, for example, because of their extensive existing customer base, technical know-how and billing comprehension, seemed the most likely candidates to provide mobile payment services. However, problems associated with risk management and the collaboration of numerous providers needed to accomplish interoperability have arisen. Financial insitutions on the other hand are confronted with a limited number of users and high infrastructure costs. To remedy these problems, mobile operators and financial institutions have begun collaborating to jointly offer mobile payment services to their customers. For instance, leading Dutch direct bank ING/Postbank Nederland, has partnered with the Netherlands number three mobile carrier Telfort, to offer users mobile access to the bank?s retail applications and link user bank accounts to Telfort?s prepaid service top-up capabilities for account recharging. In this case, the fact that these two entities are taking advantage of their natural symbiosis is a big step in the right direction.

Right now there are four entities needed to make a payment via credit card (acquirers, issuers, merchants and consumers) to make a payment via mobile device, there are five (mobile operators, acquires, issuer, merchant and consumers). As a result, the ideal business model includes the cooperation between mobile operators, financial institutions, technology suppliers and industry associations to create a certain amount of standardization which will ensure the successful implementation of a strong mobile payments infrastructure.

Still, numerous issues, including limited functionality available through the current generation of networks as well as a lack of standards to name a few, are still hampering the efforts being carried out by these industry players. In addition, questions regarding successful revenue generating business models also remain.

Conclusion

As mentioned earlier, cell phone and PDA penetration rates are higher then they’ve ever been, with forecasted growth rates showing exponential increases in consumer adoption. Accordingly, industry focus should be centered around the business side. Right now it is not feasible for a mobile operator or a financial institution to role out competing services on a proprietary model that does not include interoperability. Mobile operators and financial institutions must work together to implement mobile payment services that marry a consumer?s bank account with their mobile subscription. Offering payment services should not be seen as a competitive advantage, but rather as a necessity which will drive the success of the rollout of mobile commerce.

Today we see several initiatives taking place including the creation of various industry associations designed to address the different issues associated with the mobile industry. With these activities underway-mobile operators and financial institutions are beginning to work together to roll out new payment services. Pre-paid top up, for example, is the first real commercial mobile payment application that is being introduced into several markets. Financial institutions and mobile operators are collaborating to enabling mobile subscribers to electronically pay for their pre-paid wireless accounts using several banking channels such as telephone banking, Internet banking, and ATM and mobile banking, completely automating the ?top-up? experience using SMS (Short Message Service).

Currently, payment instruments are stored in virtual wallets residing either on the mobile device or centralized on the open network service platform. Consumers register for the service through their financial institution, mobile operator or service provider, depending on how the service is setup. The registration is necessary to link the consumer?s subscription data with their financial information and provision the mobile device for the service. Future methods may see users using their mobile device as a way to simply access their bank accounts, whereby the mobile operator?s function will be simply to transport the data. In addition, smart cards issued by financial institutions may begin to become more prevalent.

As mobile services and infrastructures evolve we will begin to see the true notion of mobile payment instruments living up to the hype of ?anytime, anywhere payments.? Soon, mobile payments will become an integral part of consumer lifestyles, replacing the payment instruments we have hidden in our wallets today. It is clear, that the co-operation between mobile operators and financial institutions is needed to build a viable mobile payments offering. It is also clear that the next logical payments industry step is to provide consumers with the ability to make payments for goods and services on their mobile devices. The only true concept of ?anytime anywhere payments? is conceivable through access via a mobile device. ‘Where there’s a wireless, there’s a way’ and the key to the success of the industry is as simple as giving consumers what they want.

Author: Torbjorn Zetterlund
Article Source: EzineArticles.com