App dev on Android has increased significantly, study shows

Business applications require more rigorous testing than consumer apps

The amount of time mobile application developers spent testing on Android devices has increased significantly over the last year, a study has found.

The Metrics Report Europe from DeviceAnywhere, a provider of online access to over 2,000 mobile handsets as testing platforms for app developers, showed that the percentage of time spent testing on Android out of all smartphone testing time had risen to 4.9 percent in the second quarter of 2010, up from just one percent in the third quarter of 2009.

The report is based on data from more than 350,000 testing hours from the DeviceAnywhere Test Center, which is used by 10,000 active testers, and provides access to over 24 carrier networks as well as the handsets.

The time on Android has showed a steadily increasing trend, unlike other operating systems. For example, percentage of usage for Android was 2.1 percent in the first quarter of 2010, whereas for the BlackBerry OS, which was 18.4 percent of usage in the third quarter of 2009, the percentage of time peaked to 29 percent in the first quarter of 2010, but then dipped to 19.9 percent in the next quarter.

In addition, Symbian, which had the most usage, had fallen from 70.2 percent in the third quarter of 2009 to 64.2 percent in the second quarter of 2010, and usage of Microsoft Windows Mobile fluctuated from 8.5 percent in the third quarter of 2009, to 5.3 percent in the first quarter of 2010, to seven percent in the second quarter of 2010. Even testing on iPhone OS fluctuated, from 1.8 percent, to 1.3 percent to 3.5 percent for the same periods.

Meanwhile, DeviceAnywhere said that it is seeing a new wave of enterprise application development, rather than just consumer applications - the company's original market.

"As all-IP work environments provide the ability to access the same applications on any device, there is a growing demand from enterprises for ways to harness on-the-go access to communications and collaboration apps across multiple platforms," said Leila Modarres, vice-president of marketing at DeviceAnywhere.

"From our experience, the challenges of application testing for the enterprise are much more involved. Enterprises are working on more complex and critical internal and external applications that support all kinds of devices. Even when they develop around one platform, the applications' integration with the backend still needs to be thoroughly tested and monitored," Modarres added.

She also believes that cloud computing is increasing the need for more thorough testing of enterprise applications across different platforms, and that the requirement for support also grows, because "cloud applications will manifest themselves in different ways in different web browsers, browser versions, running on different operating systems and different hardware."

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Anh Nguyen

Computerworld UK
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