In-the-wild testing is imperative to making sure your application will work correctly in the hands of real users in the real world. While there are any number of reasons your app might fail (poor connectivity, slow load times, bugs, crashes, bad usability, incorrect content, misinterpreting your target audience, etc.) the real world is equally harsh on hardware.
While we at uTest love bug hunting, it’s a lot more entertaining to watch hardware go through in-the-wild testing. Let’s chalk it up to the awe factor. We’ve posted quite a few videos showing mobile devices being put through the wringer (or blender) but in the end, which device holds up best to the rough and tumble of real life? CNET looked at several tests (there were some extreme ones) and complied these results:
Have you ever thought about the possibility that you might be living inside of a simulation, a la the Matrix? Maybe you’ve seen something unexplainable, perhaps a black cat crossed your path, and then another that looked just like it seconds later. The idea of testing the universe is something a team of physicists at the University of Bonn, Germany have been researching since early 2012. Their goal is to prove whether or not the universe as we know it is a virtual reality simulation.
This is not a new concept but it is one that Silas Beane and his colleagues theorize would still have limitations and ‘bugs,’ so to speak that could be discovered and proven even within a very complex simulation.
Their theory is that the observed universe exists on a numerical simulation performed on a cubic space-time lattice (grid). By using elements of lattice-gauge theory technology as a guide, they hope to determine the high-energy cut off of the cosmic ray spectrum to reveal the highest energy points exhibiting a degree of rotational symmetry. The long and short of the theory is that if the world is a numerical simulation, observable consequences could be simulated, revealing this grid on a smaller scale.
The notion of a space habitat is no longer fiction. NASA has recently begun exploring ways to expand the International Space Station, and they are doing so through in-the-wild tests. After all, you can’t launch a safe “self-contained inflatable space habitat” without testing in the real world… or should I say, in the real “outer space”?
“The agency announced last week that Bigelow Aerospace has been awarded a $17.8 million contract to deliver to the agency an inflatable extension for the space station. According to NASA, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module ‘will demonstrate the benefits of this space habitat technology for future exploration and commercial space endeavors.’”
The inflatable extension will essentially be a test to determine if these habitats are beneficial to space exploration. While we are just seeing tests emerge now, Reisinger says the concept has been around for quite some time:
“The idea of a self-contained inflatable habitat for space exploration has even been in place for decades. However, due to NASA budget constraints, the so-called ‘Transit Habitat,’ which was to help get crews to Mars with inflatable technology, was cancelled in 2000.
Bigelow, founded in the late 1990s, has been working on its own inflatable habitats for years. The company currently offers a BA 330 inflatable habitat that can be both added on to existing stations or operate on its own. The BA 330 has 330 cubed meters of volume and support up to six crewpeople for an extended period of time. According to Bigelow, the BA 330′s radiation protection can at least match that of the International Space Station. The habitat’s “aluminum can” design includes four large windows for occupants to look out into space.”
Pretty neat. It will be interesting to see how the extension performs under real world conditions and what NASA’s next move will be.
When I bought my new Nokia Lumia 920 earlier this week, I asked the customer service guy about all the new features and functionalities. I also asked, “If I want to beat the snot out of my phone with a hammer and keys, can I do that with this device?”
I didn’t really ask him that. If I had, chances are he would have sent me to this YouTube video. Check it out:
Apple’s iPod Touch is likely at the top of most kids’ wish lists this holiday season. But can the device endure the “fruit punch soaked Cheeto encrusted” real world torture of having a child owner? Molly Wood, of CNet’s Always On, lets some kids play around with the device in-the-wild. Does the iPod Touch survive after it is trampled, soaked in fruit punch and covered in Cheeto crumbs? Find out in the video below:
A part of in-the-wild testing that we don’t often consider is how this whatever-we’re-testing is going to effect the world on a larger scale. Testing tends to be limited to ‘does it work in this situation,’ but with technology advancing as fast as it is, some people are concerned with the bigger ramifications of it all.
That’s why a few organizations have decided to look into the matter. From Time:
The U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter signed a new policy directive aimed at reducing the risk and “consequences of failures in autonomous and semi-autonomous weapon systems that could lead to unintended engagements.” In other words, the Pentagon was making sure that the U.S. military doesn’t end up in a situation where robots are able to decide whether to pull the trigger on a human. …
In an attempt to head that future off, Terminator-like, Cambridge University has announced it’s setting up a center next year devoted to study of technology and “existential risk” — the threat that advances in artificial intelligence, biotechnology and other fields could pose to mankind’s very existence. … The center hopes to train a scientific eye on the philosophical issues posed by human technology and whether they could result in “extinction-level risks to our species as a whole”.
Many in-the-wild tests that put mobile devices through rough and tumble situations make sense. You’re lucky if you can unwrap your phone without getting a wayward scratch on the surface. You will, one day, without a doubt, drop your phone – maybe even from an unfortunate height. And the odds of your device coming into contact with water are probably higher than we’d all like. But then, there are the downright outlandish tests. I’d like to see the everyday, real-life scenario that inspired such extreme tests as the blender test.
I’m actually impressed with how little damage the Galaxy S III sustains for such a long period of time. Sure, it’s in three pieces, but the iPhone 5 is dust long before those three Samsung pieces start giving. Nevertheless, I’d recommend not dropping your phone in a blender, or at the very least, quickly retrieving it (after you turn the blender off please!).
We could be extreme testing the blender though, in which case, good job blender!
Tablets are used primarily on-the-go and it’s no surprise that they take a beating in-the-wild. Currently, it seems the three tablets of choice boil down to the small and decently priced Nexus 7, the new iPad Mini which follows in the Nexus 7’s model in terms of size and cost, and the larger, more expensive iPad 3. So, how do these tablets stack up against each other in terms of durability?
Lauren Goode of AllThingD recently shared this video from SquareTrade of their very own “Drop Bot” giving the tablets a run for their money:
What is your tablet of choice? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.
The internet on the east coast underwent some major in-the-wild load testing in the run up to Hurricane Sandy’s landfall on Monday. With the vast majority of businesses, organizations, offices and schools closed a lot of people stayed home with either a day off or a directive to work from home. That’s a lot of people who likely turned to the internet – causing internet traffic on Monday to go up 114%. Sandvine, a company specializing in deep-packet inspection gear for ISPs, noticed the sharp increase. Here’s what they found when they looked at “a singular US city on the east coast of the United States that was directly in Sandy’s path:”
[On Monday], in this city, Internet usage between 9am and 5pm as a whole saw an increase of 114% over the equivalent period on a typical Monday in October. Traffic levels were elevated throughout the entire day, but returned to normal as subscribers began to go to bed around 11pm.
Later on Monday was also the time Sandy was actually hitting land and beginning to wreck havoc on internet infrastructure.
Usage was up across the internet, but Netflix and Skype in particular saw major spikes – up 150% and 122% respectively.
I haven’t heard of any outage issues from Netflix or Skype on Monday, so it appears they, as well as other popular web destinations, did a good job handling the load increase. Its a good thing these companies took the time to load test their websites – preparing for in-the-wild situations is what testing is all about
No matter how prepared you are, when harsh weather hits the effects are usually quite damaging. Hurricane Sandy not only put homes and buildings to the test, but took a big hit on cellphone and cable services. Most likely you will be struggling to make and receive calls and text messages for a while. According to Jordan Crook of TechCrunch:
“According to the FCC, 25 percent of cell towers in ten states were disrupted or damaged during the Hurricane. Landline outages are “far fewer” but 25 percent of cable services have also gone down, meaning many are without news updates at all.
As far as 911 is concerned, there are only a very small number of call centers that were affected by the storm. But while cell coverage is still shoddy, 911 calls are being rerouted to different call centers for the time being.
…We’ve seen throughout the past couple days that some of the carriers are having issues, namely Verizon, which still has a couple feet of water in its Manhattan headquarters. Still, these service providers are asking that customers use social networks like Twitter to take the load off of cell networks.”