As little as 10 years ago, the only compatibility concern faced by companies delivering web content was browser compatibility. Back then, desktop browsers accounted for over 99% of worldwide Internet usage at the time.
Then mobile took off. By October 2016, Internet usage by mobile devices surpassed that of desktops and today in the US 63% of traffic and 51% of time online is generated via mobile devices.
Obviously, whether you are delivering a native iOS or Android app or just making your website mobile friendly it is imperative that mobile device compatibility be considered.
What is it? Mobile device compatibility testing assesses how well your website or mobile app displays on various mobile devices and mobile device operating systems.
Why do it? Half of your website traffic, and ALL of your mobile app traffic will come from a mobile device. While there are only two major mobile device ecosystems (iOS and Android), there are many relevant OS variations, and a large number of different physical devices in use, representing different processors, storage capacities, screen sizes, cellular plans, add-on apps, etc.
How to do it? The short answer is to let Beta Breakers do it for you! But even in our hands, it’s not quite as cut-and-dried as browser compatibility testing, where we have easy access to 95+ percent of the browsers your users are going to use. Mobile devices are widely varied and infinitely numerous. There is no way to test them all and even stocking an inventory of just the latest popular devices is expensive and requires a lot of maintenance. Look at the accompanying infographic (courtesy of http://gs.statcounter.com) that shows market share for each major device manufacturer, and keep in mind that each of those vendors markets many distinct models.
One answer to this problem is to use emulators – software that mimics the behavior of the phones. There are emulators for just about every device on the market and for a subscription fee, one could access those emulators and perform testing. Other companies maintain mobile device farms where hundreds of physical devices are available to access over the Internet, allowing a user to load software onto, and manipulate, an actual real device. Each of these options has its benefits, but they also have drawbacks, mainly that the testing is one more step removed from what actual users would be doing.
Beta Breakers rarely uses emulators (except when creating automated tests), occasionally uses device farms, but strongly prefers testing on in-house physical devices. Even with the added expense, testing on real devices in-hand allows us to provide the best feedback, without the added variables of emulator software or the lag of the Internet. Doing our testing this way provides the most accurate and useful test results.
So now we’ve circled back to our original recommendation – let Beta Breakers do your mobile compatibility testing for you! We already have the devices and the testing know-how, no need for you to incur a lot of unnecessary expense and headache. Give us your application specs and a URL (or app) and we’ll take it from there!