App developers: Start focusing on up and coming countries

L10N TestingSmartphones are just about everywhere in the United States, the UK and other highly developed countries, but smart devices are still losing out to feature phones in less-developed countries.

That is starting to change, though, and analyst firm IDC expects smartphone sales to outpace feature phone sales for the first time this year. Developing countries are expected to play a major role in the shift. From CNET:

Strong demand in developing countries with large populations such as China, Brazil and India is driving much of the demand. This is a big shift from the past, according to IDC. To date, much of the world’s smartphone shipments were to customers in mature markets, such as the U.S.

But now it looks like consumers in these other less-developed markets are now jumping on board the smartphone train. And sales to these countries are expected to outpace sales in markets like the U.S. in the not-so-distant future. In fact, last year more smartphones were sole in China than in the U.S., according to IDC.

Read the full article at CNET >>>

IDC notes that cheaper smartphones and growing, more reliable 4G networks are major drivers of the change. What does all this mean? It means there’s about to be a huge, untapped mobile app market.

App developer are going to start creating new apps for these new consumers and adapting their existing successes for the new markets. To be successful in these new ventures, developers are going to have to embrace localization testing. These are new areas, with new languages, new customs, new mobile networks and maybe even new devices that developers have never needed to consider before. L10n testing is a crucial step to make sure the apps aren’t totally unintelligible or worse, culturally offensive.

A simple translator or translation tool won’t be able to check for all the localization factors you need to consider. And odds are, you don’t have an in-house-tester that matches the demographic of every opening market. Crowdsourced testing is the best option. Let early adapters in each country test your app in-the-wild. They are your target demographic and are using the same devices and mobile infrastructure your end users will have access to. Who better to test your app for a new market?

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