Testing a $35 Firefox OS phone—how bad could it be?

Hey! You there! You’ve got it pretty good, you know that? While you’re sitting there using your Internet-enabled device to read about some other Internet-enabled device, it’s easy to forget that the majority of people doesn’t have any access to the Internet at all. The “World Wide” Web is actually not that worldwide—only about one-third of the population is online. That’s 4.8 billion people out there with no way to get to the Internet.

Bridging this digital divide will be one of the tech industry’s biggest challenges—and growth opportunities—over the coming years. As all-encompassing as the Internet feels now, the user base has the potential to triple in size. So as of late, we’ve started to see Internet companies take an interest in getting more of the disconnected world online. Facebook launched Internet.org, and Google has a ton of projects that aim to provide Internet by fiber, balloon, and drone for example.

But these initiatives are all focused on merely bringing Internet access, not addressing the actual hardware necessary to display the Internet. Enter the Intex Cloud FX, a $35 (Rs 1,999) smartphone from India aimed precisely at this issue. The Cloud FX runs Firefox OS, Mozilla’s home-grown OS. Firefox OS is entirely Web-powered, and, therefore, Gecko, Firefox’s layout engine, runs just about everything on the device. Apps are built entirely from Web technologies. Think “Chrome OS”—but from Mozilla and on a smartphone.

Fair warning: we’re going to talk frankly and honestly about the Cloud FX, and it’s not going to be pretty. As we journey into the world of sub-$50 smartphones, leave all worries about performance, user experience, and any kind of pleasantness behind you. While $35 doesn’t buy you a lot, perhaps we’re past the stage of “does it work well?” The question for a device like Cloud FX may simply be: “Does it work at all?”

The Internet, as cheap as possible

Today’s Internet is wildly skewed in favor of rich, English-speaking companies and users. Only five percent of the world’s population speaks English as a first language, but 55 percent of webpages are in English.

The countries without Internet access are exclusively the poorer ones—the “developing world.” That means our Internet device is going to need to be as cheap as possible so that people can actually afford it, and the cheapest Internet-enabled device we can make is the smartphone. Its small size and relatively lightweight OSes are both qualities that lead to a low bill of materials, provided you aren’t trying to make it powerful enough to double as a game console.

Besides being the cheapest computer we can make, a smartphone is the perfect device for this environment. Its self-contained nature makes it easy to take along in a pocket. The battery is great when there’s no power. Long-distance wireless Internet, like cellular data technologies, is much cheaper to deploy than laying cable. For many people in developing countries, the smartphone will be their first Internet device.

Cloud FX is one of many offerings aiming to serve India, which has a combination of a really high population—1.2 billion people, second only to China—and really low Internet penetration—only 12.6 percent. China’s 1.3 billion people aren’t as good a target as you would think, thanks to a relatively high Internet penetration rate of 42.3 percent and a government that really, really hates the idea of a free and open Internet.

The highest-profile, India-focused device initiative thus far has been Google’s Android One, which gives Indian OEMs an easy way to build high-quality smartphones that end up costing around $100. That sounds dirt cheap, but consider that the average monthly wage in India is around $295, and you’ll realize that’s still not good enough for most people.

For more details, click here.

The Latest Software Testing News department was not involved in the creation of this content.

Audio Evolution Mobile App Now on Intel® Atom™ Tablets for Android*

An exciting announcement from the makers of the Audio Evolution Mobile app revealed that it is now compatible with Intel® Atom™ tablets for Android*.  A larger audience of music makers can easily compose extraordinary sounds on their lightweight, responsive mobile devices.

The Audio Evolution Mobile app is a complete digital audio workstation so users can create songs anywhere they are by using the device’s microphone, connecting external microphones or instruments through the USB interface** , MIDI sequencing for virtual instruments or by utilizing samples from downloadable loop packs.  It is effortless to import samples, edit, arrange and mix.  The app also has additional features like cross fade, automation, time stretching and normalization.  It has over 25 real-time effects like chorus, reverb and delay.  Musicians and DJs can mix down their original works to a high quality stereo sample or an Internet-friendly, compressed format.

Now that the Audio Evolution Mobile app is available for Android* users, the music-making fun can last for hours.  Offering portable functionality, these tablets provide a solid level of performance so making and sharing great music is simple and fun.  As an Intel® Software Partner, eXtream Software Development had access to support, code and resources through the Intel® Developer Zone.

“For people who like to make electronic music, the Audio Evolution Mobile app is a fantastic tool, “says Davy Wentzler, CEO of eXtream Software Development. “Now that it is compatible for Android* tablets, creating unique music is faster and more portable.”

For more details, click here.

The Latest Software Testing News department was not involved in the creation of this content.

 

TalkTalk means Business

– New report shows that 47% of SMEs not getting value for money from their broadband provider
– TalkTalk Business steps up support for SMEs with two new business broadband packages, saving £594 Vs BT
– Free Fibre broadband for SMEs as part of Government’s Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme

London UK, 06 October 2014 – British small businesses are not getting the most from their broadband provider and need to demand better value, according to new research released from TalkTalk Business. The survey of 1000 small business owners, show 59 per cent are experiencing problems with their provider and only half of those surveyed feel they’re getting good value for money.

The results, taken from TalkTalk Business’s Value of Business Broadband survey, also revealed that over a quarter of small business owners are confused about the best package for their needs and more than one in five SMEs are looking to switch providers today.

Understanding that connectivity is the lifeblood of any small company, TalkTalk Business, one of Britain’s fastest growing B2B telecoms businesses, has announced two new packages tailored to SMEs. Simply Broadband is the best value totally unlimited broadband package for £4 a month, providing a saving of £594 a year in comparison to the equivalent BT package. While Complete Broadband is an all-inclusive broadband and calls package for £10.50 a month, which offers a saving of £964 over 24 months in comparison to BT.

To help SMEs forecast more effectively and maintain a positive operating cash flow, every TalkTalk Business customer pays a fixed monthly fee and installation, equipment, UK-based support, WorkSafe internet security are all included within the package, with no hidden extras.

Results from the Value of Business Broadband survey also reaffirmed the ever-increasing need for faster connection speeds amongst SMEs. Half of those surveyed felt the Government should prioritise intervening to reduce the cost of superfast fibre broadband. And in addition to reliability and price, fast connection speed, was amongst the top three purchasing considerations.

To help more British businesses benefit from Fibre broadband, TalkTalk Business’ Simply Broadband and Complete Broadband customers can also upgrade to superfast Fibre for just £15 extra month. TalkTalk Business has also announced it is an official supplier of the Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme, administered by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK). Any business based in one of the 22 SuperConnected Cities – whether a current TalkTalk Business customer or not – can apply for a free upgrade to Simply Fibre or Complete Fibre broadband, saving as much as £180 in the process.

“The research tells us loud and clear that Britain’s businesses deserve better, and we couldn’t agree more,” said Charles Bligh, Managing Director, TalkTalk Business.
“Every business understands the benefits of fast, reliable business grade broadband, but few realise you don’t have to pay above the odds for it. Our goal to help make British businesses better off. If you’re a small business owner and honestly don’t feel that your provider has your best interests at heart; that they understand your needs and are committed to your growth, you are being under-served. Our message to SMEs is clear: there is always a choice, demand more from your broadband provider.”

As a further step to back SMEs, TalkTalk Business is also launching a new calling app that makes the business landline mobile. Called Talk2Go, the app will be free to Simply Broadband and Complete Broadband customers, and allow business owners to pair their landline with up to five mobile devices, meaning SMEs can rest assured that they’ll never miss a business call. SMEs can answer a business call at the same time as a colleague is using the business line, improving productivity. Calls can be made for free over Wi-Fi, and when abroad will be charged at the UK landline rate, helping businesses to avoid costly roaming charges. Talk2Go is due to launch in October and will be available to download from Google Play and Apple App store.

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Fran Cator | RealWire
Email Id: fran@realwire.com
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BlazeMeter and Sauce Labs Partner to Provide a Full Testing Stack Based on Best-of-Breed Open Source Solutions

BlazeMeter, the leading load and performance testing as a self-service platform for mobile, web and APIs, today announced a new multi-phase technology partnership with Sauce Labs. This technology partnership will enable developers to seamlessly combine both functional and performance testing with BlazeMeter and Sauce Labs platforms, streamlining the testing process. The announcement cements an already solid relationship between BlazeMeter and Sauce Labs, who will be joining forces at FutureStack14 to further educate developers about their combined solutions.

“BlazeMeter and Sauce Labs are the best-of-breed open source testing vendors,” said Alon Girmonsky, Founder and CEO of BlazeMeter. “JMeter and Selenium are the best open source functional and performance testing tools. The combination of the two companies and solutions will provide an industry standard testing stack based completely on open source.”

As the first step in the partnership, developers can now run performance tests on BlazeMeter using Seleniumscripts simulating thousands of virtual concurrent users, each emulating a real browser or application, using a mobile device on a mobile network. Selenium performance testing is ideally suited for complex applications and this new feature offers a valuable time-saving solution for large-scale retailers who can now create performance tests in minutes, not days. In the next phase of the partnership, BlazeMeter and Sauce Labs users will have access to an integrated solution that offers a one-stop-shop for all testing needs. This integration promises manifold benefits, including a single dashboard for all front-end and back-end testing KPIs and the ability to view the actual user experience on the browser when the site is under load.

“BlazeMeter does for load testing what Sauce Labs does for functional testing,” said Steve Hazel, Chief Product Officer, Sauce Labs. “With BlazeMeter’s new support for Selenium, our services fit together better than ever. Developers can now efficiently cover different testing needs with a single investment in open source tools and skills.”

For more details, click here.

The Latest Software Testing News department was not involved in the creation of this content.

Leading telcos hike mobile internet rates by up to 100%

Telecom operators have raised mobile internet rates up to 100 per cent in June-September period across country. Airtel is latest to increase mobile rates by up to 33 per cent while Vodafone and Idea have started gradually implementing the increased mobile internet rates from June.

The three companies jointly hold around 57 per cent mobile services market share.

While no comments were received from Airtel and Idea Cellular, Vodafone India spokesperson said “Around 2 months ago, we changed the base tariff of 2G for 1GB pack from Rs 155 to Rs 175. This has been carried out in a phased manner across circles.” Airtel and Idea too have increased the rate of 1GB 2G mobile internet pack to around Rs 175 from about Rs 155 GB.

Telecom operators generally don’t make public announcement about increase in mobile tariff. The change is noticed on their website after the new rates are implemented. They generally inform their post paid customer through SMS about change in rates of services before their next billing cycle starts.

Pre-paid customers, which constitutes over 90 per cent of market, get to know about rate revision when they go to recharge their mobile phone or through website of companies. Telecom operators are required to report change in tariff to telecom regulator TRAI.

Vodafone and Idea Cellular increased rack rate, charged without any offer or scheme, by up to 100 per cent from 2 paise per 10 kb of data usage to 4 paise per 10 kb. This means on Vodafone and Idea network 1 GB of 2G or 3G mobile internet will cost over Rs 4,000 (from Rs 2,000) which these companies under scheme are selling for around Rs 175.

Airtel started increasing mobile internet rates around first week of September. The company is now at par with Vodafone and Idea in terms of rack rate which is 4 paise per 10 kb. However, the increase is only of 33 per cent because the company was already charging 3 paise per 10 kb earlier.

For more details, click here.

The Latest Software Testing News department was not involved in the creation of this content.

Google to make search better for slow telecom networks

Google will enable faster online search capability for mobile phones with slower network connections in India.

The strategy is to enhance its revenue from online advertisements. The decision to improve search capability also signals that competition between social network Facebook and search engine Google is enhancing.

Indians, according to a Google blog post, are accessing the Internet through mobile devices such as their smartphones. However, not all of these devices come with fast, cheap Internet connections.

ITU — in a report released in September 2014 — has ranked India at 125 for fixed broadband, 113 for mobile Internet, 75 for household Internet penetration and 142 for Internet user penetration in 2013.

ALSO READ: ITU ranks India @ 125 for fixed broadband, 113 for mobile Internet

Google, which recently launched Android One operating system for emerging telecom markets, said it’s adding a new streamlined version of search results page in India.

Google will automatically check to see if a user has a slow wireless connection and deliver a fast loading version of Search.

Bharat Mediratta, distinguished software engineer of Google, in a blog post on October 3, said: “The Internet is a global gathering space of infinite opportunity, where people from around the world can exchange ideas and access humanity’s knowledge. Everyone should have equal access to the Internet’s information to improve their everyday lives, regardless of who they are or where they live.”

For more details, click here.

The Latest Software Testing News department was not involved in the creation of this content.

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