Testing Mobile Application - Is your app hungry?

By on March 30, 2013 Comments

I mentioned in my previous post that I will focus on testing mobile applications and will share tips, tricks and tools which might be useful for testing mobile applications. Today I am covering a topic which is very important for the user. This feature, However, is invisible (most of the time) and is often not covered by conventional non-functional testing types (accessibility, security, performance etc..).

In my previous article I briefly mentioned that unconventional non-functional requirements are one of the main differentiator between mobile and desktop applications. Let’s explore one such requirement - Power Consumption and answer two key questions -

  1. Why it is important to test power consumption of mobile applications?
  2. How can you get insight on power consumption by the application and improve it?

Let’s get started.

Battery - If you are not careful, I will drain

We do not need any research to prove that battery life is one of the top most thing user care about in mobile devices. Not many people would want a mobile which is connected to power socket most of the time and thus loses mobility.

Power consumption for mobile devices is not constant for all the applications. Power consumption of a simple application such as phonebook is very different from a resource intensive application such as maps. However, as evident from the research , poorly coded applications are the cause of biggest drain in batteries. In the mobile application world, where reputation is everything - it’s a risky affair to get your application listed in the naughty list .

As a tester (or developer wearing a testers hat), it is very important to understand effect of various operations on the battery and how efficient application handles them. As a tester, we need to be able to interact with battery and analyze how it behaves with application under test.

Okay got it, but how do I test power consumption?

Analyzing battery consumption should be the part of standard profiling, however as far as I know, it is not possible to get information on power consumption with the debugging tools shipped with the Android. However, with tools like little eye , it is possible to get insight on how much power is consumed by application.

With little eye, it is possible to identify power consumption related defects for Android devices and see if your application is draining battery unnecessarily or not.

By the way - If you want to understand power consumption for mobile devices in detail, you may find this presentation useful.

So that was my first useful / actionable advice related to mobile application testing - keep an eye on power consumption - hope you found it useful. Have you encountered any power consumption related defect in mobile devices? Do you use or have used any other tool to get similar insight? Let’s discuss.

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