One of the problems of application development is that it’s often not possible to test on phones that are about to be released. This is especially the case when you are in a country where phones arrive late to the market.
Sometimes it’s possible to ask phone OEM’s for pre-production phones but often there aren’t enough units to go round. Unless you have an application that is compelling for the OEM then you won’t get a device.
UIQ have solved this problem for the Motorola Z8 by offering to test applications. What’s more it’s free of charge. This offer is open until 30 September 2007.
This has made me wonder why phone OEMs don’t offer this informal service as a matter of course. OK, it would cost the OEM something – but a few people informally testing applications would be negligible in the overall scope of things. It would help improve the quality of released applications (see Ewan’s recent comments for some surprising observations), encourage developers and also allow the OEM to identify potential partners. Microsoft do a similar thing via ‘Evangelists’ who seek out and help developers in this and many other interesting ways. Note however, the kind of thing I am talking about shouldn’t be confused with Symbian Signed testing – it’s more about informal collaboration.