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What is Mobile(Device) Testing

December 13, 2017

Mobile Testing and Mobile Applications Testing are the terms that are commonly misunderstood as a single concept. No, these terms are not the same. They have their own meaning and the way of testing as well. In this article, we will try to understand the concepts of Mobile Testing. 

Overview of Mobile Testing

Basic thing in Mobile Testing is to understand the basics of Mobile Platform – Operating System, Type of the device, Hardware, Software. In detail, different parts like battery, keypad, display, camera, video recorder, SIM, etc.. and different functionalities like SMS, photo capture, video recording, calling, settings etc… of the mobile phone are tested by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) prior to release to the market. Few OEMs are Apple, Nokia, Lenovo, etc..

Terms to understand in Mobile Devices

Devices: SmartPhones, Tablet, eReaders, etc..

  • Smartphones: A powerful mobile phone where a wide variety of applications are run with phone services. These are usually used for browsing, reading eBooks, Photo capture, video recording, playing games, video playing, messaging, calling, etc..
  • Tablet: Portable computer devices with no keyboard and mouse. The entire screen is touch sensitive. Almost all the jobs that we perform on computer device can be done on the tablet.
  • eReaders: Similar to the tablet, designed for mainly reading eBooks.

Software: Operating Systems (Android, IOS, Blackberry, Symbian, etc..), Testing Tools, Development Tools, etc..

⇒ Companies: Manufacturers (Samsung, Blackberry, Nokia, Sony, Nexus, etc..), Development / Testing companies

Process: way by which data (like SMS, Multimedia, Voice) is transferred or shared by the user from one device to another or by the device itself though some programs (like calendar events).

Data sharing

  • Between devices with same or different operating systems
  • Between devices with same operating system of the same manufacturer
  • Between devices with same operating system of the different manufacturers

All the above terms collectively form Mobile Ecosystem.

General Process of Mobile Testing

⇒ Mobile device is manufactured with necessary software and applications

⇒ It is tested thoroughly for the quality before releasing to market. Tests that are commonly performed:

  • Unit Testing: Portion of Mobile device development is tested and when developed. It is validated for Hardware, software, mechanical aspects.
  • Factory Testing: Sanity check on mobile devices to ensure no defects are introduced by manufacturing and/or assembling. Areas focused on testing:
    • Mobile Application Testing
    • Hardware Testing
    • Battery Testing – Charging and Discharging
    • Signal Testing – To send/receive
    • Network Testing
    • Protocol Testing
    • Compatibility Testing
  • Certification Testing: Checks are conducted on mobile devices to ensure it does not harm the users and is compatible with devices from other manufacturers. For this, the test has to be conducted to make sure that mobile device satisfies all the specifications, protocols defined. Once all these are passed, the certificate is issued to release the mobile device to market.

⇒ Users buy the mobile device and subscribe to the plan as provided by the carrier

⇒ Any updates to software are released as an update to the mobile device. The user can upgrade the device by installing the updates available. (Software update for the mobile device, in whole, is the new applications introduced and/or existing applications updated)

Preparing for Mobile Device Testing

Usability testing is the primary focus and has to follow the methodology that best suits the project conditions. It needs a lot of planning to perform Mobile Device Testing. Below are the few planning and preparations required:

  • Timeframe and Budget: Based on this, best suitable methodology/process that works for the project can be adopted
  • Lab setup: Physical setup of lab environment varying from lower platform to specialized platform has to be decided and arranged
  • Capturing tests: How to capture the tests performed has to be decided – best suitable tracking tools should be chosen
  • Target Audience and device: Analyze the devices that users buy more often and the relying operating system. Tests should primarily focus on the devices that re resulted from analysis
  • What to include in tests: Type of device that the user must have, activities they do on their device
  • Test approach: How to perform testing activities and when
  • The frequency of testing: How often the testing has to be performed? Either full testing or partial testing all the time?

Basic Test Scenarios

  • Plan for the modules and prioritize them to test.
  • Direct tests on module
  • Content in the module to fit the screen size
  • Integration with home screen and module
  • Switch between modules
  • Module and its battery usage
  • Interruptions while operating within the module (like getting a call, Phone switch off, etc.. while operating in the module)
  • Update the module
  • Uninstall the update made to module
  • Clearing module data/cache, etc..
  • Close the running module
  • Integration with other modules (Camera to the gallery, gallery items sharing, etc..)

Testing camera, Call feature, messaging feature are all basic and vast concepts. They require specialized testers.

What to keep in mind when conducting Mobile Device Testing

  • Test the real devices to the maximum possible instead of test devices
  • Have the sufficient lighting in the lab as it affects brightness of the screen display
  • Have sufficient carriers and devices for testing, as connectivity is again a vast concept to focus on
  • Have considerable distance between devices, as the radiations they emit may become noisy to the other devices

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