New droids are coming, and they could be exactly what consumers are looking for. No, we don't mean BB-8 from the upcoming "Star Wars" film. We're referencing the three new Android devices that are hitting the market: the Motorola Droid Turbo 2, the Droid Maxx 2, the Blackberry Priv and the LG V10.
These smartphones introduce a number of hardware and software features and capabilities that mobile app developers and testers should keep an eye on.
Droid Turbo 2 and Droid Maxx 2
Motorola's newest smartphones, the Droid Turbo 2 and the Droid Maxx 2 are Verizon's flagship devices this holiday season. According to Computerworld, the Droid Turbo 2 is similar to the Moto X Pure Edition, but with a slew of interesting features for users. Boasting a "shatter-proof display" and a screen size of 5.4 inches, this new smartphone varies slightly from its relatives. Developers and testers should take note that the size is a bit smaller than other popular Android devices, as this could impact the visibility and viewability of apps.
Meanwhile, the Maxx 2 is considered a "lower-end model" of the internationally released Moto X from months back, Computerworld reported. The performance specifications are particularly important for mobile app developers, as getting newer apps to run smoothly on less-expensive hardware could require a few extra rounds of performance testing.
Both devices have some additional quirks that everyone should pay attention to. First, the battery life, according to Computerworld, is 48 hours long. Taking advantage of that extended time could prove useful for mobile app developers looking to optimize experiences on the new smartphones. Second, and most importantly, both of the devices will support Android 5.1.1. If testers forget to recognize this, apps could struggle on the old operating system.
The former king of enterprise mobility, Blackberry, is trying to take its throne back, but this time, it's with an Android-based smartphone. This device could pose a particular challenge in mobile app testing environments, as it features a long-lost hardware component: a physical keyboard.
The Blackberry Priv allows users to move the screen upward, revealing a keyboard underneath. Mobile app testing is incredibly important with this new device, as no other currently supported Android smartphone on the American market boasts that capability. Developers must consider how the Priv functions if users switch back and forth between touchscreen keyboards and physical ones. Additionally, the device might behave differently with the physical pad open, and as such, it must be put through rigorous testing processes to accommodate for the numerous ways to interact with the device.
Furthermore, Forbes reported that the Priv has a 2K AMOLED display with 540ppi, and it slightly curves similar to Samsung's Galaxy Edge. That said, the user interface does not extend to the curve. This means that the Priv requires a different set of testing processes.
Lastly, on the software front, mobile app developers should pay attention to the "device search" capabilities, ensuring that their mobile app supports this useful feature. The same considerations should be given to the Productivity Tab, which lives on the edge of the display and allows users to quickly access their favorite apps.
As if the other devices didn't introduce enough variables into mobile testing equation, LG's V10 has a smaller screen above its 5.7-inch display, according to CBS News. This hardware feature provides users with a special area to read notifications or quickly access tools and settings, which mobile app developers should take advantage of. The screen is always on, however, so it's important to balance usefulness with feature support, as no one wants a battery-draining app.
There's always new devices to consider, but prioritizing testing for the Droids, Priv, and V10 should be on everyone's list as the holiday buying season comes around.