TestPlant coverage in The Daily Telegraph regarding testing mobile technologies

  • Posted by JB Brockman
  • On August 25, 2010

It’s a land of opportunity for testing programs

CHINA is not a nation of geeks. It may manufacture most of the world’s computers but it develops barely any of the software that runs on them.

Instead, companies such as Microsoft and Apple have come up with their soft-ware in Silicon Valley. If they then need to outsource the tiresome and time-consuming coding process, they turn to India, where there is a large number of skilled and hardworking geeks.

But George Mackintosh, head of TestPlant, a software testing company, says: “There is a bigger opportunity in China than in India. A couple of years ago, you would say India was the biggest market for our products. I don’t think it is now. What is happening here is going to rocket past India because software is going mobile.”

About 277m Chinese are now using their mobile phones to access the internet, according to the China Internet Network Information Centre. More than half of  China’s web users don’t have a computer. Instead, they are taking the cheap option of using their phones to get online.

“Those phones are computers,” says Mr Mackintosh. “You can use them to read a newspaper or get your executive reports.” For TestPlant, which licenses its program to help software developers test their products, it is a market that has emerged out of nothing. The complicated graphics on the screens of mobile phones all need to be tested, and then re-tested, to make sure the programs work. “In the past this was all done by hand. This testing represents between 30pc and a staggering 70pc of the cost of building the software,” Mr Mackintosh says. “At the moment, all this testing is largely manual. Our program is like a trained robot that can run through all the variations and possibilities for you repetitively.”

China’s 5m iPhone customers are mostly running hacked or pirated applications. Apple’s application store has been a failure so far, in terms of popularity. TestPlant has recently released a version of its program for iPhone applications.

Meanwhile, the company, which already has deals with the BBC, Sky, the US Department of Defence and the US Department of Justice, is looking for a Chinese partner. “We are entirely open to technology transfer,” says Mr Mackintosh.