Tablet Overdose?

Tablet PC

2011 was the year in which the world experienced an overwhelming flood of tablets: at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show over 100 consumer tablets were unveiled, the majority of which appeared to be undifferentiated copies of the iPad that offered little to no innovation.

With this year’s show underway in Las Vegas, consumers can be guaranteed a second wave of the touch-screen products is coming their way.

However, the mass production of mobile platforms does not come without a major drawback, namely an emphasis on quantity over quality; in the past months there have been numerous cases of disgruntled users who had to contend with bugs, faulty apps and other assorted malware plaguing their tablets.

While the high number of mobile platforms on the market means more business for software testers – our team recently tested a medical app for the iPad – I also believe the desire to emulate Apple’s success should be kept in check.

Many tablets that were released last year failed to live up to the competition and I am inclined to believe this may be due to a necessity to meet an unreasonable release date. It’s better to take your time and offer something truly innovative, rather than produce a carbon copy of your competitor’s product.

With competition increasing within the market, it is further indication that today’s software testing is not in touch with the modern market. The market is really looking for the next direction in software testing and I believe that crowdsourcing is that answer given the benefits of both speed and cost.

Among 2011’s disreputable cases were HP’s TouchPad, which drew praise for its exterior design but criticism for its software, and the equally flawed Asus Eee Pad Transformer, which struggled to get software updates released in time for the New Year. Even the iPad had to contend with buggy software in its highly anticipated Facebook app back in October.

With Windows 8 and Ice Cream Sandwich set for release soon, it will be interesting to see whether new mobile platforms will be able to live up to the craze.

Martin Mudge is the Director of BugFinders, a crowd-based on-demand software testing delivery company based in Cheltenham. He has worked in financial, manufacturing, security, government, Web-based and telecoms sectors and is passionate about risk-based testing, risk-driven testing and model-based testing. He has developed automation strategies, as well as advised many large organisations on recruitment strategies, but is currently dedicated to crowd-sourced testing services at BugFinders.