A crowdsourced turn for mobile app testing

A new offering from uTest could make it possible for smaller developers to test out apps prior to release, making it possible to streamline features and improve chances for getting acceptance in a broader number of apps stores and by more users.

uTest’s new uTest Express, released this week at the CTIA Wireless show in Orlando, gives developers access to uTest’s community of more than 35,000 app testers. Big app developers such as Microsoft and Groupon have leveraged the uTest crowd in the past prior to launching their apps.

uTest Express give app developers choices of a testing plan to select and a template for creating a test case for users to follow. The company then picks members of its testing community who have the right mobile devices and operating system. The result is what the company calls “in the wild” results—testing an app on active networks with real users on a range of devices, providing results and potentially discovering flaws or limitations that a simulator likely wouldn’t detect. 

Post-test, developers using uTest Express get a list of bugs (and links to screenshots and videos demonstrating them). The testers also provide feedback, rating characteristics like interface design, usability and performance. 

uTest Express is available for all mobile operating systems including iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Symbian. Pricing starts at $499 per test cycle, with Bronze, Silver and Gold tiers that go up in cost according to number of testers and specificity of the app and experience of testers required.

The uTest blog points out the affordability of the $499 and up price tag:

That’s half of what you probably spent on Red Bull and Starbucks while you were building your location-based, freemium, socially-linked, caffeine-free, voice-powered, 3D, virtual reality, highly-addictive, semantic-searching, gaming-layered, hybrid-powered, native app, right?

By making app testing more affordable and accessible, uTest is upping the chances for acceptance among smaller apps developers and businesses trying to add an app to their marketing arsenals. The platform doesn’t necessarily offer proof of concept for developers—that is, it doesn’t compare competitive apps and offer perspective on how a new app might perform financially or how popular it might be—but it does offer an important use-test and feedback from real users.

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