Feature Article

June 10, 2014

Study: Mobile Isn't Tested on Android Devices Enough

Apple products get a lot of fanfare, but focusing on testing against iOS devices may not always make sense.

That’s one of the key takeaways from a recent white paper by Perfecto Mobile, which looked at data from more than 1,200 companies to determine how mobile apps were being tested and on what devices. It found that while Android is the dominant mobile platform by volume, Apple’s iOS gets a disproportionate amount of testing.

“Despite the latest studies that show Android leading with over 80 percent market share globally and 60 percent in the U.S., our data shows that enterprises actually decide to spend almost 50 percent of their time testing on iOS devices,” the paper noted.

The white paper attributes this to an influence by the mobile app/website target user demographics, usage patterns, preferences and projections, and because iOS emerged earlier with its smartphone ecosystem.

Another trend the research discovered was that device strategies varied by vertical. For instance, Android accounts for more than 80 percent of testing in the Mobile Advertisement segment, but it reaches less than 20 percent within retail companies. While airlines conduct 85 percent of their testing on smartphones, media companies’ tablet testing accounts for just a bit more than 40 percent since media is generally less about mobile than airline data.

“When planning your device strategy it’s important to research your industry/market benchmarks,” the report stressed. “What are your competitors doing? What are the most important use cases? How are your target customers using your apps?”

Supporting legacy devices also should be a higher priority. While iPhone 5S/C and Google Nexus 5 are the fastest growing operating system versions in use, according to the study, the aging Samsung Galaxy S2 continues to be used by many customers. So while it is good to develop for the latest devices, older devices can’t be forgotten.

The most popular Android operating systems by usage were Android 4.0.4, Android 4.3 and Android 4.4.2, the study found, with the main Android OS being tested among enterprises being Android’s Jelly Bean version, with 60 percent testing against it.

Gingerbread and Honeycomb still account for 20 percent of testing among enterprise users, being the lowest common denominator in many cases, with the older Froyo only being tested against by 2 percent of enterprises surveyed, and the newer KitKat version of Android only being tested by 3 percent.

Also of interest, the white paper found that 24 percent of those surveyed were testing against 4” screens, with 22 percent testing against 3.5” and 21 percent testing against the larger 4.8” screens. Only 6 percent tested against 9.7” screens, and 2 percent each tested against 7” or 4” screens. The 4”-4.8” definitely is the sweet spot in general when it comes to mobile testing.

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