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All posts tagged iOS

Mobile Testing Is Different

Mobile Testing or Mobile QA has taught us that the traditional testing approaches and methodologies need tweaking or changing. What worked as a defined process for testing desktop, client-server or web applications didn’t exactly fit mobile.

If you are a tester who is just starting to test on mobile or simply want a fresh perspective (even dare I say it a mobile Developer) then this is for you. Of course, if you are simply interested in the subject feel free to read on as well.

12 Critical Mobile Testing Issues:

  1. Fragmentation: as a tester you may have to support not only Android and IOS but, multiple devices and OS versions. Android especially is a market with hundreds of devices of varying specifications. Screen size, resolution, processors, memory and more all have impact on device performance and behavior. Now factor in that Apple and Google both release new devices at least once a year but, depending on the countries in your market, there may be many Android OEM devices you want or need to support.
  2. Mobile Device Labs: if fragmentation is a problem, this is a solution worth investigating. Some testers have their own devices onsite but for many who don’t have the budget, or want a more expansive solution then SAAS solutions where the tester can connect to live devices thru a web application this delivers nicely. The tester can choose the devices and with some solutions can run both manual or automated test scenarios.
  3. Compliance: mobile testing of apps requires the tester to be fully familiar with the rules of the App Store and Play Store. (Of course there are other stores beyond just Apple and Google) In addition, compliance has grown to include GDPR and Disability support.
  4. App Types: Mobile allows us to create apps of different types and technological base: native apps, mobile web apps, hybrid apps and more recently Progressive Web Apps (PWA). Each of these has their own testing challenges, scenarios and scope.
  5. In-app Purchase: IAP is a niche in E-Commerce where the customer can make purchases from within the app. Examples can be E-books, multimedia, game purchases (allowing the game player to progress in the game faster) and real-world items. IAP has it’s own compliance standards for each store and can be more complex to test that run-of-the-mill E-Commerce.
  6. Alpha / Beta testing: if you are testing an app intended for the App or Play Store then how do you get this into the hands of a small group of alpha or beta testers without publishing the app? Apple allows Developer Account holders to use Testflight to do this and Google has Play Store Alpha / Beta testing. Once these apps are published and distributed to your selected testing group, you can easily publish to the Stores on completion of your test review or roll to a new bug-fix version as needed. In the case of testing features like in-app purchase, the tester needs this option to facilitate test purchases.
  7. Crash Logs and Analytics: mobile testing requires a skilled tester to have a strong familiarity with logs on devices and services that provide crash and user analytics. Crash logs can be accessed from test devices by connecting IOS devices to XCode and Android devices to Android Studio. There are other methods but these often are the fastest when you want to add the critical information to the bug you are reporting. Crash analytics are frequently a SAAS solution that will show the tester frequency of bugs, and which devices or OS version(s) the bug reproduces on. Each provide actionable intelligence at different scales. Crashlytics is one popular example which can be added to your apps.
  8. App Distribution: there are cases where you may not want to publish an app to the App / Play Store or you want to distribute an app for internal or enterprise use. In these cases solutions like HockeyApp, now renamed and revamped as Visual Studio App Center (after being acquired by Microsoft) offer a way to do so. App Center combines several of the other solutions listed here and is cross-device and cross-platform.
  9. Automated Testing: testers will ultimately seek out a framework that enables them to test UI and function, both rapidly and repeatedly. Appium, Protractor and others allow these testing scripts to be run on  real mobile devices. Automated testing on mobile has its own challenges and ROI. There are also cases where this will not work.
  10. UI, UX and User tolerance: these 3 are interconnected facets of the same issue. Ultimately users have a lower tolerance for poor UI or UX and are willing to remove an app that displeases them. Android and IOS have best practises for design and UI frameworks of their own. E.g. Material Design on Android OS. Testers should be aware of the design standards, what are acceptance criteria and be able to identify UI / UX bugs that can compromise the quality of the mobile app.
  11. Reverse compatibility: As mobile OS versions advance with time certain features, SDKs or APIs become deprecated and or out-of-date. Features and functionality that worked in previous versions may then stop working due to these changes. One example was the way IOS handled webview in Native apps; after IOS9 this changed (due to a major overhaul to remove serious bugs). Some developers and companies reduce this overhead by supporting only those OS versions after such a change, others only support the latest version of the OS.
  12. Non-functional testing: mobile apps live and die on their scalability, app performance and transparency if they function on low-spec mobile devices. This type of testing should play a critical part in optimal mobile testing to prevent nasty surprises when your app goes to production.

Mobile testing - infographic

The Warptest POV

Mobile testing shares as much as it doesn’t to other platforms we test on. The biggest issue is perhaps how rapidly the mobile landscape changes. As processors, GPUs shrink and battery life grows, screens lose their bezel, handsets lose earphone jacks or data / charging cables change their connectors. Meanwhile, wireless charging is becoming mainstream and of course camera resolution increase. Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality impact the capabilities, functionalities and spec of mobile devices.

Mobile testing has to evolve as rapidly as the devices we test on.

This post is a sampler or taste-test. The solutions listed are not exclusive, each exist in a competitive ecosystem which mobile testers need to be continually learning about. Some solutions are offered by Apple and Google, others by 3rd parties or Microsoft. Hopefully this is a starting point that wets your appetite for exploration. I’m always happy to hear from you about alternatives and learn something new.

Some of what I have written about will get their own, more detailed posts or Vlogs so keep watching this space.

Windows on Mobile Is an Interesting Concept But …

Windows on Mobile is not just a concept anymore. Microsoft’s Windows Phone continued to lose market share, thru benign indifference, continued poor marketing or a management decision to allow it to slowly decline to be ultimately be replaced by what?

Windows on Mobile - Bryan

Microsoft did not want to allow a vacuum to develop in the interim. Did Windows on Mobile became the go-to strategy by default?

What Is This Windows on Mobile of Which You Speak?

If Microsoft couldn’t get us on their devices, they were damn sure going to get us on their cloud, SAAS and apps. There was a vision, where any smartphone on any platform would be a Microsoft phone. Regardless if your phone ran Android or IOS, you would be using Office365, OneDrive, Skype, Edge and other Microsoft services for personal and business use. Your phone would sync seamlessly with your desktop / laptop device and even allow you to continue your browsing session from mobile on your desktop PC.

Your Contacts, Calendar and other critical work and play information would work with Microsoft services. All these instead of Google or Apple services. Windows on Mobile is platform agnostic, service based and dominantly Microsoft driven. All with the same user and login details that you use to access your PC.

The use case was for everyone, home users, education, business and more. Using familiar tools and services, no matter where you are and what device you are using. No learning curve, just connect devices to the Microsoft account and keep on working.

The attraction of being able to choose what services and apps are at the core of your device and be able to remove the redundant ones has big appeal to many users. There was even talk in the past of Android phones coming pre-installed with Microsoft services and apps and not the Google equivalents.

SPOILER ALERT: every time you buy an Android phone or tablet, the big winner? Surprise, It’s Microsoft.

A Forbes article from 2015 explains the details of how Microsoft holds a slew of patents for Android which is a golden goose in licensing fees.

There had been a rumor in 2016 that Microsoft was interested in purchasing Cyanogen, back before they shuttered and open sourced the code. The anticipated strategy was to provide an Android ROM with all your Microsoft apps and services bundled.

Still the business strategists at Redmond knew better than to have one plan. Even before this, Microsoft has become the uncrowned king of cross-platform apps. Jump forward to 2018 and your Android smartphone’s best launcher is made by Microsoft, you can use Edge on Android which works with Cortana. All this and more.

Windows on Mobile - All the Android Microsoft apps

The Warptest POV

The idea of Windows on Mobile is an interesting one. Especially if you are a COO or IT Manager and you want your employees to have access to your Microsoft services outside the office.

Most Android device owners chose the OS and their phone specifically for Google Apps and services and are skeptical about replacing Chrome with Edge, Google Apps with Office and so on.

There is certainly a substantial section of Android owners who are happy to have both Google and Microsoft services running on their phone as needed. When Microsoft and Nokia were getting into bed together, the Nokia X family of devices were floated as Android out-of-the-box with Microsoft services installed. Microsoft cancelled these phones 5 months after acquiring Nokia though.

The idea appeals to many ex-Windows Phone owners who opted to leave the platform for Android but want to retain some of their comfort zone and don’t want to move away from these services and apps.

The fact is that Microsoft doesn’t need Windows on Mobile except as a way of retaining and onboarding more users to their apps, services and cloud, regardless of OS.

In a nutshell, Microsoft is providing an answer for Android & IOS users who want a Windows on Mobile solution, whether exclusively or not. All this may just be a stopgap solution that allows Windows Mobile to die gracefully while Microsoft work on their rumored, disruptive folding mobile device that finally delivers a true Windows 10 Mobile experience.

The rumored Microsoft “Andromeda” folding mobile tablet

Where do you stand on Windows on Mobile? Are you ready for an Android smartphone devoid of Google services or are you rooting for Andromeda?

Either way, Windows on Mobile offers a competitive push to Google & Apple. What are they going to do with it?

Apple WWDC 2017 Kicked Off Today…

Today Apple launched their annual conference and here are a few major announcements that should excite anyone. I’m usually the first person to be unimpressed by Apple but heck the sheer volume of news is overwhelming.

WWDC 2017 Hot News

ARkit: a series of APIs for Augmented Reality on IOS. Apple demonstrated marker-less spatial awareness on stage. The APIs will have Unity support.

Revamped App Store : this is touted as the biggest revamp of the Store in 9 years.

IOS 11: this is being launched in beta for Devs who sign up for it. The OS has a slew of new and improved features including a mode to detect when you are driving for safety.

WWDC 2017 - IOS 11 feature list

New iMacs built for VR: Apple returns to the glory days of iMacs with powerhouse machines that are designed with spec to support VR. These iMacs are not the candy colored, plastic bubble desktops from the late 90’s. The design is not a lot different from last Apple desktops but it’s what’s inside that counts.

Mac OS High Sierra with Metal for VR built-in: hardware is important but the OS has to provide for the performance demands of VR.

XCode 9 announces over-your-LAN run / install / test /debug to your IOS devices wirelessly.

WWDC 2017 - Xcode wireless development

The Warptest POV

  • ARKit – does their markerless demo spell the end for AR trackers? If so, are Apple going to let it die a natural death or will they decide to restrict IOS AR apps to their APIs?
  • App Store revampbesides the App Store currently being a colossal pain for app discovery, how will these changes impact App Ranking. If there is something new to learn here, then the quickest studies will get a leg up on app rankings.
  • IOS 11 – the list of features is extensive but can I yell “finally” over driving mode and screen recording? Even though this is unquestionably a Beta release, expect the usual fear, angst and loathing as fanboi’s fight overtaxed servers, download and then cry foul at Beta meaning buggy.
  • iMacs with VR support & Metal for VR on Mac OS High SierraThis apparently needs a high-end Graphics card connected to the iMac / MacBook by cable to Thunderbolt port. Conclusion: Kludgy design for Apple but this might be the only way they could have delivered in time for WWDC.


In a nutshell, these are just some of the highlights. If you are a Mac or iPhone owner or developer then you should be reading up on what’s coming. I’m not going to grant Apple that they have finally innovated under Tim Cook but WWDC 2017 is going to shake things up and that’s good for Apple and good stimulus for competition.

Update: with the announcement that Apple have added screen splitting, drag and drop and “welcome to the 21st century” a File Explorer app, IOS 11 gets one step closer to Windows.

That’s fine, homage is the greatest admission that your competition got it right.

Game On.

ZCast Launched To Much Fanfare…

… and by fanfare I mean that ZCast rocketed to number 1 on Product Hunt within hours and was everywhere in the blogosphere. If ever there was a definition of going viral this was it.

To the uninformed, this seemed like an incredibly cool app with an idea reduced to elegant simplicity of design and implementation that just went stratospheric.

The truth is a crack team of incredibly talented people ploughed an amazing amount of effort, intellect and creativity into making this happen.

Disclosure: I’m friends with one or two people at ZCast.

What Is ZCast?

You can find the whole history of ZULA the startup right here. Back to this link later.

ZCast is an app that democratizes podcasting and allows your audience to interact thru Twitter. Podcasting some are asking, what’s that not in technobabble?

Podcasting is simply live broadcast, yes your voice shared with anyone who cares to “tune in”. In this case it’s done thru ZCast’s elegantly designed iOS or Web app.

So got a computer with a web browser? Got an iPhone? Either will do, you are ready to broadcast your thoughts, opinions and expertise.

The thing is, up until now podcasting just seemed like one of those things you needed technical know-how, a fancy microphone and setup to do. It wasn’t something open to everyone. Presto change, now it is.

ZCast - web app

Image from the ZCast web application (cropped)

ZCast - iOS app

Image courtesy of the ZCast iOS app store images

The strength of ZCast is you sign in with your Twitter account, click a button and you are talking to whoever will listen. How do you know whether anyone is listening? First, you get to see who is checked in and listening but also and here’s the kicker: you don’t need a switchboard or phones for people to call in, they can comment thru voice or chat. All you need to do is start talking.

The Warptest POV

Simple, elegant and clever. Comparisons to Meerkat or Periscope aside, anyone feeling introverted will have a lot less hassle ZCasting than they will going on livestreaming video. Probably I should have just ZCast this post, but I’m holding on for a bit. What for? ZCast is undoubtedly working on the ability to record your podcasts and publish them. This is an app that I predict will become an ecosystem in its own right. They have stated that they will be releasing an Android version and I expect them, like many others to leap on the Windows10 Universal App bandwagon at some point.

Enough about that, back to the link above, Hillel Fuld ZCast’s CMO shared their journey and very honestly, some ups and downs on the way. After reading it, you’ll probably realize what I did.

This is THE case study for startups who want to build up to a successful product launch. This is a story of really hard work but it’s also a story of how to build your momentum to success. As you’ll have read in this blog several times, I respect anyone who views sharing as empowerment.

 My hat’s off to Hillel, Farhana, Raz and all the team. One thing is for sure, ZCast gets a gold clad Warptest recommendation.

ZCast - Warptested

Get out there and get ZCasting folks and let me know what you think.

The Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard …

The Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard has arrived and today I unboxed it and took it for a test drive. It retails for $99 on the Microsoft US Store, uses Bluetooth and can pair with two devices on iOS, Android or Windows devices.

Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard - dimensions

The link above also had updated drivers for connecting the keyboard to Windows 10 (32 and 64 bit).


The Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard is all about a perfect marriage of design and function and this starts with the box. Gone are the days of excessive boxing. Microsoft has designed the box with a Surface ethos, the box and the keyboard close magnetically.

Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard - box closed

Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard - box open

Once opened, the instructions are on the inside face. Ikea et al, see these instructions and learn. One day all instructions will be this way.

The keyboard works simply and elegantly, open is on and closed is off. It’s light, portable and the tactile response of the keys is as good as the keyboard on a Lenovo Yoga or Asus laptop. Folded it’s probably slimmer than the wallet in your pocket.

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The Warptest POV

The Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard is elegant in its design, sturdy yet sleek. It’s made for one thing and one thing only, for the road warriors, those urban commuters for whom space is a premium when travelling but those who need a physical keyboard.

Every single person who tried this today fell in love with it on first touch. I have thick fingers and so my concern was obviously this wasn’t going to work for me. I may never be a violinist with my hands but I can make this keyboard sing.

One of my testing team took the phone in the photos above, my Lumia 820 and walked thru our offices while I typed all the way to the front door of our offices, about 35 to 40 meters and was amazed to report my typing kept coming thru. Now I doubt I’ll ever need a use case like that but it was impressive.

If you need a portable keyboard, then the Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard is the one for you. Of course, no kickstand on your iPad, Android, or other device. You’ll need more than two hands or some kind of MacGyver solution.


This ad has nothing to do with this post but hey, kickstands.

I’ll be doing a follow-up when the Lumia 950XL arrives with its kickstand case.

So if the plane, train or bus is how you get from A to B and you need to just keep on typing, then go checkout the Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard and let me know what YOU think.

Microsoft Cross Platform …

3 Words that didn’t necessarily come together in past years and yet over the last couple of years, the dominant player in all things cross platform has been Microsoft.

Windows Phone Microsoft Apps
Google Play Store (Android) Microsoft Apps
Apple iOS Microsoft Apps

Microsoft had already become a major app developer for iOS and Android, not just on Windows Phone. Since then Skype, the full Office suite (including Outlook) has landed on both platforms, OneNote, Bing search, OneDrive and others, and today Microsoft announced two more high-impact cross-platform apps: –

  1. Cortana, Microsoft’s personal assistant (already on Windows Phone and soon to be on Windows 10) will arrive on Android and iOS later this year.
  2. Windows 10 will come with the Phone Companion App which will allow your smartphone (iOS, Android or Windows Phone) to work seamlessly with Windows 10.

The various reports explain that Cortana will not have the full feature set available on Windows Phone for now.

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Are Microsoft Giving Away The Farm?

Some Microsoft users are acting shocked over the apparent desire at Redmond to take all that is unique on Windows Phone, Office, Windows or Visual Studio and deliver it wrapped in a pretty bow onto iOS and Android.

There is a feeling that any of the added value (especially) that Windows Phone had with Cortana et al is drastically diminished.

Firstly, everything that is happening is in keeping with Microsoft’s mission statement and ambitions. I was writing about this predicted trend back in 2012/13 here and here. In fact some might state that this agenda prompted Cyanogen to actively embrace Microsoft services on their already unique Android.

No one should be surprised about Microsoft making these moves to be a strong presence on every layer of consumer and business technology: frontend (Web, Mobile and Desktop), Productivity, Cloud Storage and Apps (OneDrive and Azure).

Now factor in a word that keeps cropping up on this blog ecosystem: Microsoft Cross Platform is about creating an ecosystem that is not limited by platform, device or Operating System.

The Warptest POV

Nutshell, I’m strongly in favor of this philosophy. As a testing professional, cross platform can be a nightmare to support. More browsers, more operating systems and versions can make for endless test cycles but looking beyond testing, Microsoft is competing across the board by building this ecosystem.

Apple continues with their gated community philosophy and Google continues to compete by restricting their services and apps from Microsoft consumers wherever possible. Microsoft has become a champion of Open Source with .Net, plans Universal Apps for Windows 10 ported from iOS and Android.

The real added value of Cortana on iOS and Android is not just the presence of Microsoft search, service or app on those devices: the Microsoft Band, Redmond’s smartwatch is the only fully cross platform device of its kind on the market and with Cortana integration this makes it a more attractive option for consumers looking for a smartwatch with apps, “AI” and phone integration.

Microsoft BUILD conference also paid strong attention to the anticipated stronger integration between Cortana and apps. It seems that Microsoft Cross Platform is about total coverage.

So to the people feeling like Microsoft gave away the farm, I suggest that someone in Redmond’s strategic business department is an avid reader of Sun Tzu’s Art of War.

What do you think?

Windows Phone Had A Big Splash At BUILD 2015…

…As mentioned in my previous post, Microsoft blew the crowd at BUILD2105 away by announcing that the Universal App concept would include bringing iOS and Android apps aboard Windows Phone.

Many speculators on the subject had feared the worst that Microsoft would opt for a kludge solution: running an Android emulator or VM even to allow native Android apps to run on Windows Phone.

Instead Microsoft included iOS and Android apps by allowing Developers to recompile their code as Universal apps, on all Windows 10 devices.

Means, Motive and Opportunity…

How is Microsoft planning to do this?

Windows Phone as part of Universal Windows Platform

The Universal Windows Platform layout with thanks to Microsoft Blogs

Microsoft’s vision for Windows 10 across devices allows iOS and Android apps in through Project Astoria (Java/C++) and Project Islandwood (Objective C/C++); these are the Universal Windows Platform Bridge toolkits for reusing existing codes from these mobile platforms with small code changes.

Islandwood already has a signup for interested Developers and cites importing XCode into Visual Studio whilst Astoria mentions publishing and earning via the Windows Store.

This is a much more elegant solution than the other option but, where does it leave the existing, dedicated Windows Developers, especially those working with the Windows Phone SDK?

Whilst the graphic (top left) shows that development on Windows Platform of Universal apps (Windows 8, 10 and even classic 32 bit apps) persists one has to think about this strategy.

Windows Phone and Windows 8 suffered from certain big ticket apps either not investing in the platform or deciding not to maintain their Windows Phone versions. Microsoft would annually announce deals made to bring some of these apps onto Windows Phone but Smartphone platforms live or die based on app parity.

It is a hard sell for teens to adopt Windows Phone with apps like Snapchat who not only refuse to develop a Windows Phone app but actively and aggressively block 3rd party apps. That said, over the last months whilst several apps (e.g. some US Banks apps) were pulled from the Windows Store there had been some very interesting apps released. One example is the Marc Cuban funded Cyberdust a Snapchat killer that released supporting iOS, Android and Windows Phone. IMHO this was a startup getting it right and I know of several others who are moving to Windows Phone in fields like social video chat, livestreaming and others.

The truth is that the app parity situation is not as cut and dried as many would have us believe.

In addition, Microsoft have opted for three major strategies of late:

  1. The Microsoft Lumia phones released have been designed to target lower pricetags. There has been no talk of a high-end flagship Windows Phone of late. This seems to be a strategy designed to flood the market with a greater number of low end devices.
  2. Much of the unique value proposition of Windows Phone was in Cortana and Office on mobile. Office is already fully cross-platform and Cortana seems to be heading for Android if not iOS too.
  3. Microsoft has leveraged itself as a major app developer for iOS and Android, and not just Windows Phone; in some cases these are apps not yet developed for Windows Phone e.g. Office Delve and PowerBI Mobile.

You can compare for yourself: –

Microsoft apps on Windows Phone

Microsoft apps on Android

Microsoft apps on iOS

The picture is a confusing one and it leads one to wonder what Windows Phone developers took away from BUILD2015.

The Warptest POV

After speaking to several Windows Phone Developers there are those who feel disgruntled after their strong commitment to development in Windows Phone SDK. They don’t necessarily see the ROI of continuing to work with the SDK when they can just write Android or iOS apps and then recompile them as Universal Apps. In a nutshell they stuck with Microsoft through the challenging times of Windows 8 and now one of them told me he felt “thrown under the bus for the greater good…”

The truth is that Microsoft needs to keep the faith with its existing Developer community as much as it needs to entice users with apps that are on iOS and Android (and their developers) but the question is how?

The challenge is not just marketing to individual developers but StartUps and Enterprise companies with apps too. These apps won’t just need recompiling but maintaining after the fact.

Terry Myerson of Microsoft discusses some of the challenges here but it takes one of the biggest Windows Phone developers, Rudy Huyn on his blog to explain why Windows Phone Devs shouldn’t feel that the ground has shifted under them.

In a nutshell, Project Astoria and Islandwood are not seamless and many of the APIs used in iOS and Android will need serious effort to work on Windows Phone. This is only the beginning of the journey and if anything, Windows Phone Developers just became a much more valuable asset in getting this done and as Huyn states, Developers are no longer Windows Phone Devs.. they are Windows Devs.

Ultimately, In the Game of Phones who is winning and who is losing? Users will benefit and so will the Developers and the App creators: Startups, individuals or Enterprise will end up with Universal Apps across a complete ecosystem.

The one factor unmentioned is what Tim Cook and Larry Page feel about this development?

Especially the notoriously draconian Apple and Google who doesn’t miss a chance to continue feuding with Microsoft (more often than not) when it comes to mobile.

So between all this and the fact that Windows Continuum for Phones will require new hardware, we can expect more new apps and almost certainly new, high-end Windows Phones from Microsoft.

In the Game of Phones nothing ever rests and Microsoft may have just won the crown if they invest in their Dev Community building and evangelism even more. Now, it’s time to do the same for the consumers to show why Windows Phone is worthy of them.


Microsoft Universal Apps…

… The concept of one app developed and working cross-platform: phone, tablet, desktop is something of a Holy Grail and Microsoft delivered on this promise last year.

With Microsoft Universal Apps a Windows Phone user is able to install the same app on their Windows 8 laptop / desktop.

Not all apps have released Universal App versions yet but many have.

Microsoft Universal Apps - Skype for Windows Phone

Microsoft Universal Apps - Windows 8 Store

Note the Universal App symbols for Skype and eBay in both screen captures.

Was this Just An Iteration?

When you are Agile you start to see iterations in everything but last week Microsoft released major news at the Connect (): event which made me think Redmond has a firm grasp of Agile process.


Microsoft Universal Apps - News Summary

Yes those are the faces of amazement because besides the obvious fact that Microsoft made its flagship core technology Open Source cross-platform and allowed non-commercial users to develop for free, Visual Studio just iterated into a platform you can develop apps for Android and iOS on.

In one flavor or another Visual Studio supports development for just about all the main platforms mobile, desktop and server.

The Warptest POV

If you are still singing the “Microsoft is doomed” song I suggest you go sit in the corner with your blankie and suck your thumb because that’s about as serious as anyone is going to take you now.

This is the biggest news in the development arena I can think of in recent years and in doing so Microsoft Universal Apps iterated outwards, fulfilling their potential.

Universal App no longer just means an App for all Windows devices, it may just mean an App that is truly universal. An App built across all devices and Operating Systems and developed in Visual Studio to boot. This could be the end of the Developers Grail Quest …


Microsoft Universal Apps - the holy grail

Microsoft Universal Apps - Visual Studio

The hard decision that many Start-ups have to make about which platform to develop for first seemingly just vanished in a puff of smoke.

So if this news excites you (and it should) then you can find the .NET Core 5 code here on Github that’s right, Microsoft really gets it, they are using Github for this.

So if you are a developer get excited and get cracking because the news here only scratches the surface.


Of The Several Windows Phone Conversations I Had Recently…

… The conversations ran the gamut of “Windows Phone has no apps…” to even “Microsoft doesn’t make a smartphone, come on”.

The phrase that best applies after demonstrating the phone and apps was suspension of disbelief.

Windows Phone - Morpheus

With this in mind I decided to list these apps here, you might recognize a few of them from iOS and Android too…

Yes, these apps are on Windows Phone too…

My constraints on this task were: –

  • Look primarily at branded apps i.e. apps created by the same company or brand.
  • List MIA apps or those still not on Windows Phone
  • Give special attention to noteworthy App developers who create 3rd Party versions of popular Apps.

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Developer Rudy Huyn is responsible for bringing fantastic 3rd party implementations of many popular apps to Windows Phone ahead of the app itself arriving:

 Windows Phone - Rudy Huyn Apps


Zula App: the incredible collaboration / productivity app is rumored to be coming to Windows Phone.



Buffer: given the quality of 3rd part apps available to Windows Phone users, Buffer seems in no hurry to deliver their own app.

Instagram Hyperlapse

Google+ and other Google web services but special mention goes to the YouTube App for being a case study in how not to do things.

Get Taxi: they really need to play catchup with Uber who DO have a Windows Phone app.

Snapchat & Secret… well maybe we’re just fine without.

The Warptest POV

In a nutshell, there is much more to Windows Phone than meets the eye and not just the UI.

Windows Phone gets a strong Warptest recommendation as more OEMs are launching Windows Phones for all budgets, use cases but also for app parity.

So get out there and try Windows Phone for yourself and let me know what you discover….

Microsoft Socl Went Mobile Yesterday…

…On Windows Phone, iOS and Android. I’ve written about the brainchild of Microsoft Fuse Labs in the past, discussing the ROI of another Social Network and how the Socl team has been implementing features that show a strong understanding of what Social is all about.

Recently, Socl merged with Kodu (the Microsoft Kids game creation platform for PC and Xbox) to allow Kodu game creators to share their games through Socl.

Socl Logo
Kodu screen

A Mobile App

Once again the Socl team shows an incredible grasp of the need to launch on iOS, Android and Windows Phone simultaneously to maximize the mobile user base. Whilst all stats show Windows Phone is the fastest growing mobile platform there is a long way to go in terms of raw market share.

  • The Android App is available on Google Play here.
  • The iOS App is available on the Apple App Store here.
  • I installed the Windows Phone App from here.

Socl’s browser web app look and feel translates nicely to your Smartphone and from all reports I’ve read the Socl team did a great job making the UI/UX homogenous across each platform.

The features for creating and consuming content within Socl and for sharing to other Social Networks seem to have weathered the migration to mobile app nicely.

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The Warptest POV

At this point you may be asking yourself why Microsoft are making the leap into Social on Smartphones, if at all. The real question is, what took so long?

With Google making Google+ the central product around which your account works (e.g. YouTube comments now requiring Google+ ) and the socialization of the web, productivity tools and other aspects of our work and personal online lives it’s no surprise that Microsoft have their own Social Network in Socl.

Prediction: within the year we are going to see integration of Skydrive and Office Web Apps with Socl. The ability to create, collaborate, video group chat and work together on Office documents and or Photos will make Socl a cross-platform force to be reckoned with; assuming that with the app available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone it’s simply a matter of maintaining the rollout of new features on each platform.

Whilst Google continues to restrict, inhibit and lock down users subject to platform, Microsoft shows no such fear. Clearly at Redmond they realize the value of cross-platform support.

As an early adopter who has remained with Socl I’m pleased and impressed by the mobile App and my hat is off to the Socl team. The app looks great and is a pleasure to use.

Are you ready to take Socl for a spin?

Office 2013 live tiles

Tech blog The Verge broke the news today …

..That Microsoft Office will be coming to Android and iOS devices in 2013. Looks to me like they missed the big picture here…

Office 2013 live tilesIf you read the article and you are an Android or iOS user then that is good news for you.

If you are a CIO of an organization that has invested heavily in either of these platforms for your road warriors then that’s an even bigger slice of good news pie.

The question being asked by some is,

“Isn’t Microsoft shooting Surface and Windows Phone 8 in the foot doing this?”

The fact is if you are something of a Luddite and stuck on the idea of emailing attachments then yes this probably seems so to you.

The reality is that as important as proprietary, front-end devices are to Redmond, by allowing Microsoft Office to work cross-platform they are solving a huge strategic battle.

Microsoft Office will in one fell sweep unite all front end productivity devices, regardless of platform with the same Productivity Suite.

There are two strategic advantages here: –

  1. COLLABORATION – this has been the buzzword for Office and Office-like productivity suites since they went online. Now picture working from your iPad from home while another team member offshore collaborates on the same document from their Galaxy Note or Asus Transformer and yet another team member pitches in with their input from a Surface or Windows 8 laptop.
  2. BACKEND – whether you are already in the Cloud or moving that way the key phrase in the Verge article was “Office 365” and this is as much about Microsoft Office in the Cloud and the backend as it is the Office UI and frontend features.

When push comes to shove it seems to me that an organization of any scale with all its devices collaborating via Office 365 will be well served to use the included Sharepoint and Exchange / Outlook. Looking further afield is this an entry-point for Microsoft to leverage Windows Azure to these same CIOs to better serve all these Office 365 users?

Personal Android / iOS users already have some access to Skydrive via an Apps Page that has 3rd Party Apps and the Official Apps can be found here.

Apps for Skydrive

 In a nutshell, does it look like Microsoft has cut the knees out from under Google Apps? If the price is right then this may harken the end of Open Office and its kin but also see the demise of Google Apps too.

If you are an Android or iOS user will you be investing in Microsoft Office for your Phone / Tablet?


Smartphone Paradigm disrupted?

If you follow the market analysts in the field of Smartphone Research and Development then one of two things is going on right now; analysts are either seeing a drastic change to the existing smartphone paradigm of who is making new Smartphones or these guys have been imbibing some very interesting stuff.

Breaking Rumors and Old News.

Until now we have had the big OS / Ecosystem players selling their phones: –

However recent rumors indicate several cases of a new trend:

  • Codename Buffy: Facebook and HTC have formed a partnership to develop a Facebook Smartphone intended to be as it’s codenamed “A Slayer”. The potential market attraction to fans of the show and of course the colossal demographic that is Facebook users lends itself to this.


  • Kindle Phone: Citigroup analysts were quoted only this week across the web as anticipating Amazon releasing a Kindle Smartphone during 2012. The expectation is  that this phone like the Kindle will be sold under cost with the phone providing a platform for ROI using the Amazon ecosystem.


Sheer Speculation and Tongue in Cheek.

Are competing platforms to Facebook going to sit still and watch while The Buffy slays the competition? Probably not. So the question is;

Are Twitter and Linked In quietly developing their own Smartphones?

  • The Twitter Phone: Codename Get ShortyIf Twitter sticks to their 140 characters what will that do to a Twitter Smartphone? SMS gone and replaced with Twitter DM or Tweeps as your Contact Book. Perhaps Voicemail will be as short and sweet as a tweet.


  • The Foursquare Phone: Codename The Stalker – If Foursquare were to develop this Smartphone will it anticipate everyday, habitual routes based on frequent checkins (at the same coffee-shop), use NFC for checkins, offer deals based on location and or ping you when 4sq Friends are in proximity?


In a nutshell.

Speculations (tongue in cheek or otherwise) aside, the Facebook-HTC Buffy is interesting for many reasons: –

  1. This turns the smartphone paradigm on its head: instead of an app on an OS (iOS, Android, Mango, Symbian etc.) we will see a Platform like Facebook defining the phone.
  2. Facebook has substantial investment from Microsoft which leads to the reasonable assumption that Buffy will be a Windows Phone, Search (Social or other) will be Bing based, photography will be one-click integrated with both Facebook photos and presumably Skydrive . Facebook’s video chat is based on Skype which coincidentally or not is now owned by Microsoft. HTC already make several Windows Phones but for this to work I guess that this phone will be aimed pricewise at the lower end of the market to allow all those younger Facebook users to get the phone.

If this shift holds true and platforms that were formerly only an app on a Smartphone define the whole ecosystem of the phone then what does the future hold for apps but more importantly what does the future hold for the consumer?

The author of this blog reminds you that this piece is speculative and somewhat tongue in cheek .. but not entirely: You heard it here first.