Quarterly, I release a digital market report, that highlights trends, usage of devices and desktop browsers as well as predictions for the following quarter.
What I've found over the past 2 quarters, is that the market is becoming more fragmented than ever, creating huge implication on mobile application developers and testers.
Important Market Events
During last quarter, Apple and Google released 2 major operating systems on to the market - iOS11 and Android Oreo (8.0).
Compared to previous releases like iOS10 and iOS9, Apple is seeing a dramatic reduction in the adoption of the new platform as well as iPhone8/iPhone 8+ purchases. In addition, iOS11 is suffering from significant quality-related issues around battery drain, performance and functionality that has already driven Apple to release an immediate patch release, and 2 other patches (11.0.2, 11.0.3), with another beta version maturing toward a 2 nd patch release (11.1).
On Android, Google has released Android Oreo to Pixel and Nexus devices - though most vendors are still lagging. This release is also exhibiting significant defects around networking, battery drain, and other functional-related issues.
Android Oreo Appears to Be Disabling Mobile Data on Some Pixel and Nexus Devices, Fix in the Works
With these 2 latest OS versions slowly ramping up and requiring a lot of R&D attention from the mobile application vendors, the previous releases of both iOS and Android demand continuous support since most users are still using them.
Application Development Implications
If we come to understand the key implications on the mobile market for the recent trends, we can see the following:
- iOS & Android markets are increasingly fragmenting - the iOS platform is now divided into 3 major iOS versions (9.3.5, 10.3.3, iOS11.x). Testing and development need to accommodate this complexity and ensure that existing test code can still be executed across these 3 platforms and that new features implemented are well supported at least on the latest 2 iOS families. Similarly, Android Oreo, as the future platform for major brands like Samsung and other key OEMs, needs to be well tested already by application vendors to identify gaps in advance. To do so, teams must include either a Pixel or a Nexus device in their test lab from an Android perspective.
- Test automation maintenance is expected to grow - the above point of 3 OS versions for iOS, as well as Android platform fragmentation, necessitates a structured strategy that can meet the application testing requirements, e.g. iPhone X that will be launched in November 2017, introduces FaceID recognition instead of today's Fingerprint authentication that is used by iPhone 8 and below devices. Automation code will have to be adjusted to support the specific device/OS/feature complexities.
- Test execution intelligence - as a common practice, teams ought to be on top of their test suites data, from a test suite sizing perspective, execution length, test duplicates and other data management aspects. Especially with the growing trend of fragmentation and complexity in automating more, teams should have a way of injecting intelligence into their suites either throughout executions or post executions, and drive data-driven decisions that can help optimize the overall testing activities throughout their pipelines.
With the above challenges in mind, now's the right time to provide a planning tool that can guide application teams for mobile and web, on what to include in their current and future cycles, how to optimize their testing strategy and be prepared for Q4 and beyond.
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