Why seems time to market and software quality a contradiction for mobile?
Since the invention of the iPhone, mobile devices experience a huge boost in sales. The concept of putting devices, development platforms and marketplaces for applications as a package together (so that everyone can develop and sell new applications) has triggered a huge wave of innovation.
Mobile’s opportunity: Revenues leave the PC market
At the same time, the PC market sales have experienced a tremendous breakdown. In 2012, for example, more than 14 per cent compared to last year. It is easy to imagine that the players in the mobile device market fight hard about the revenues that leave the PC market. Each vendor tries to get the biggest piece of the pie. Those who want to play in the first league, have to have a high speed in innovation. “Time-to-market” is one of the key success factors, here.
As already mentioned, the mobile business boom – in comparison with the PC market – is fueled by new technologies with supposedly lower degree of maturity. It starts with the hardware components and moves on to the operating systems with their development tools and new code libraries.
Vulnerabilities are piling up in the mobile space
It is understandable that in this constellation weak spots sneak in software security and quality. A fast time to market is sought in order not to miss the window of opportunity for devices and apps. Accordingly the reports of vulnerabilities are piling up:
- Apr 05, 2013: Beware of “WhatsApp”
- Mar 22, 2013: New vulnerability in password lock the iPhone
- Mar 20, 2013: New Vulnerability: lock screen of Samsung Galaxy smartphones disable
- Mar 07, 2013: Vulnerability in Samsung mobile phones
- Feb 15, 2013: Major security hole in iOS 6.1 Trick unlocked iPhone without a password
- Jan 11, 2013: WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype security experts advise against sniffing apps
- Dec 25, 2012: WhatsApp again unsure
- Dec 20, 2012: Samsung confirms vulnerability in Galaxy smartphones
- Dec 17, 2012: Vulnerability in processor threatens millions of Samsung mobile phones
- Sept 20, 2012: Vulnerability in Android smartphones – hacker can delete Samsung phones
If you look at the reports on these safety gaps, the question arises: How is it possible that well-known manufacturers are not able to publish products on the market that are safe for their users?
Time pressure probably leads to quality cutbacks
Well, the answer to this question is complex and to explain all reasons is beyond the scope of this blog post. However, one reason may be that due to the success factor “time-to-market” and the eerie momentum in the mobile business market, manufacturers have the feeling they have to decide, whether they use their resources for the development of new functions or for quality assurance.
To avoid misunderstandings: of course the vendors invest in software quality, otherwise there would be a lot more articles on vulnerabilities, but if the deadline is coming close and the features of the new release are not yet done, the priorities are in the heat of battle again and again shifted towards functionality. This is paradoxical as closing security gaps after they have been detected and the damage to the image are much more expensive than paying attention to quality from the start.
Mobile lacks appropriate software quality analysis software
Another explanation for the lack of software quality is that advanced software and hardware technologies are used for mobile devices. But tools and methods for quality analysis often do not correspond to current results of research and they lack the necessary implementation in software quality analysis software.
But this is precisely the resolution of the alleged conflict of goals, time-to-market and avoidance of damage to the image: Code analysis with modern methods and their implementation in software quality tools, can detect software vulnerabilities in a semi-automatic manner and give advice on which software units testing before the roll-out has to be focused on. This way, bugs and security vulnerabilities become eliminated simultaneously and valuable resources can focus on the completion of the competition-related functions to meet time to market. To learn more about state of the art software quality management, please read How far would you come driving blindfolded?