While at MAX this year I got to participate in a very cool service from Motorola - their MOTOREADY App Testing Program. The idea was simple - you submit your mobile application to them and they (well, their partner Intertek) perform a battery of tests on your application. If your application passes, there is an opportunity for marketing as well (via another program), and if not, you can at least use the feedback to improve your application.
At MAX they were giving away free access to the test. I've created a bunch of apps, but I don't think it's fair to say I'm in the business of if yet. Most of my apps were built to blog something specific - doing logins - working with maps - etc. With that in mind I submitted my app, I Need It I Need It is a simple application that makes use of the Google Places API. Basically it figures out where you are and provides a list of possible categories, like bars or churches. Once you make your selection, it then figures out if any businesses from that category are nearby. I did the bare minimum to get the application working. About the only polish I put on it was a loading screen. I expected to fail. What I didn't expect, and what surprised me, was the level of detail in the review. They tested pretty much every aspect and pointed out a few things I wasn't even aware of.
Signing up for the program is easy enough (use the first link above). You also have to sign up with their partner Intertek. The price is a bit hard to find, but you can see it under Intertek's Process Guidelines page: $170. That's per test. So if you run their test and then resubmit you will pay again. However, that's about the price of one hours time with a consultant. Frankly I think it's cheap all things considered. I can easily see a business doing the testing once early in the development cycle and then once again before release.
The one sore spot I encountered in the process was the wait. I submitted my app at MAX and got my feedback there, but it was one on one with an engineer. I wanted to wait for the PDF copy before posting my blog entry. MAX was back in early October and I just got my results this week. I've been told this was not expected. On Intertek's guideline page they mention 5-7 days for normal turnaround. I'm going to assume that the "MAX batch" was possibly put on the back burner.
Want to check out the results? I've attached the PDF to this blog entry. It's 25 pages. Yep, 25. Again - I really think 170 is darn cheap for this level of detail. I think even a one man shop could afford to get this done at least once on their application.
One quick note - the program is advertised as being for the XOOM only. At MAX, the person testing my application used a phone to show me the issues he found. The issues with my application were not XOOM specific at all. So even if you have no plans on targeting or even caring about the XOOM, I definitely think it's worthwhile.