What You Need To Know When Planning Your Test Lab in 2017

As we kick-off 2017, I am thrilled to release the most updated 6th edition of the Digital Test Coverage Index report, a guide to help you decide how to build your test lab. 2016 was an exciting year in the Digital space, and as usual, Q4 market movement is sure to impact 2017 development and testing plans. And it doesn't appear that the market is slowing down, with continued innovation expected this year. In this post, I will summarize the key insights we saw last quarter, as well as few important things that are projected for 2017 that should be applied when building your test lab. Digital Test Coverage Index - guide to building a quality test lab

Key Takeaways

  • Beta OS versions remain an important aspect of your test coverage strategy. With Apple releasing 5 different minor versions of iOS 10 since it's release in September 2016, iPhone/iOS 10 beta are a "must-include in your test lab" device/OS combination. On the browser side, Chrome and Firefox beta versions are also critical test targets for sustaining the quality of your mobile web/responsive websites.
  • The Android fragmentation trend is changing, with Google putting pressure on device manufacturers to keep pace with the latest OS versions. As evidence, we already see that Android 6.x has the greatest market share as of Q42016, with roughly 27%, followed by Android Lollipop. With Google releasing its first Android Pixel devices, the market is already starting to see a boost in Android 7 Nougat adoption which is expected to grow within Q12017 to between 2-5% market share.
  • Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge were a turning point for Samsung: Over the last year, Samsung has seen a revenue slowdown due, in part, to competition from both Apple and emerging Android manufacturers OnePlus, Xiaomi, and Huawei. With the launch of Samsung S7 & S7 Edge, the company is regaining its position. We can see in this edition of the Index (and the previous one,) that Samsung is the leading brand in many countries, which should impact the test coverage plans in Brazil, India, Netherlands, UK, Germany and U.S.
  • The mobile app engagement methods are evolving, with various enterprises counting on the mobile platform to drive more revenues and attract more users. We are seeing greater adoption of external application integration either through dedicated OS-level applications like the iOS iMessage or through other solutions like the Google app shortcuts that were recently introduced as part of Android 7.1. These changes represent a challenge from a testing perspective, since there is now additional outside-of-app dependencies that the Dev and QA teams need to manage.
  • Test Lab size is expected to slightly grow YoY as the market matures:   Looking at the annual growth projection below, we see a slight growth in the need for a 10, 25 and 32 device lab, based on new the devices that are being introduced into the market faster than old devices are retired. What we see is an annual introduction of around 15 leading devices per year with an average retirement of 5-7 per year (due to decreased usage, terminated support by vendor etc.). Integrating these numbers into the 30%-80% model would bring the annual growth as demonstrated in the following graph.
Test lab size - annual growth  

2017 Trends

As this is the first Index for 2017, here are the most important market events that will impact both Dev and QA teams in the digital space, in the categories of Mobile, Web or both.

New Players

The most significant player to joins the mobile space in 2017 is Nokia. After struggling for many years to become a relevant vendor, and being unsuccessful under the Windows Phone brand, Nokia is now back in the game with a new series of Android-based devices that are supposed to be introduced during MWC 2017. A second player that is going to penetrate the mobile market is Microsoft who is supposed to introduce the first Microsoft Surface Phone during H1 2017.

Innovative Technologies

During 2017 we will definitely continue to see more IoT devices, smartwatches, and additional features coming from both Google and Apple, in the mobile, automotive and smart home markets. In addition, we might see the first foldable touch smartphone released to the market by Samsung under the name “Samsung X”. In addition, we should see a growing trend of external App interfaces in various forms such as bots, iMessages, App Shortcuts and Voice based features. The market refers to these trends as result of "App Fatigue" which is causing organizations to innovate and change the way their end-users are interacting with the apps and consuming data. From a testing perspective, this is obviously a change from existing methods and will require re-thinking and new development of test cases. In a recent blog, I addressed the above - feel free to read more about it here.

Key Device Launches to Consider for an Updated Test Lab

Most of the below can be seen in the market calendar for 2017, but the highlights are listed here as well:
  • Samsung S8/S8 Edge flagship devices from Samsung are due by February 2017 and should be the successors of the highly successful S7/S7 Edge devices
  • iPhone 8/iPhone 8 Plus together with iOS 11 launch in MID-September 2017 will mark the 10th anniversary for the Apple iPhone series. This launch is expected to be a groundbreaking one for iOS users.
  • Huawei Mate 9/Mate 9 Pro, and in general, the Huawei smartphone portfolio is continuing its global growth. 2017 should continue the growth trend both in China and India, but also as seen in this Index report in many European countries where we are already seeing devices like Huawei P8, P9, and others in use.
From a web perspective, we are not going to see any major surprises from the leading browsers like Chrome, FireFox, and Safari. However, from Microsoft Edge browser, we expect a significant market share uptick as more and more users adopt Windows 10 and abandon legacy Windows OS machines. cal2017 In the Index report, you may find all the information necessary to better plan for 2017, as well as market calendars for both mobile and the web, plus a rich collection of insights and takeaways. DOWNLOAD HERE. Happy Testing in 2017Tags: , , ,

About the Author

Eran Kinsbruner is the Mobile Technical Evangelist at Perfecto. He is formerly the CTO for mobile testing and Texas Instruments project manager at Matrix, Eran has been in testing since 1999 with experience that includes managing teams at Qulicke & Soffa, Sun Microsystems, General Electric, and NeuStar. You can find Eran on Facebook, Twitter @ek121268, LinkedIn, and on his professional mobile testing blog at https://mobiletestingblog.com.

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