One of the finalists of last year’s Mobile Peer Awards in Barcelona was Mob4Hire, which showed an awful lot of potential. I caught up with them this year again at MWC and was really pleased to see that they were fulfilling their early promise and adding new services to their core offering.
Mob4Hire is the inspiration of Paul Poutanen, who set out to solve a perennial mobile industry problem of testing not only on the huge variety of 26,000 handsets, but also over the local idiosyncrasies of over 350+ networks in 130+ different countries. Just because you’ve tested your JME* app on one handset in the US, don’t assume that it’s going to work on exactly the same handset in the UK.
Mob4Hire’s solution to the problem is crowd-sourcing and today they have a network of 40,000 highly mobile literate users throughout the world to do not only do usability and functionality testing for developers’ projects, but they do so at up to 90% of the cost of traditional testing. A very strong proposition and one which meets the main criteria for any new start-up – solving a need or real pain in the sector.
Today, Mob4Hire has a bunch of other testing type services. But the one that really caught my eye was for Apps. As you probably know, most Apps Stores help discovery via implementing some kind of user ranking system. In Apple’s case, it ranges from a measly one star, up to the coveted 5 stars. Mob4Hire tell me that 83% of people only download 4 and 5 star Apps, which means that a 1 star rating kills any chance of success. To put it even more bluntly, if you launch an App which gets a 1 star rating, you’ve just completely wasted your time, energy and whatever money you spent getting it out there.
But how do you know if users will rank your App high or low? That’s where Mob4Hire come in – by pre-testing your App before it’s launched. Not only will you learn what your ranking will probably be with that version, but you’ll find out why. This allows you to improve and tweak your App, re-test and launch when you’re confident that you’ve cracked it.
This is a really valuable service for everyone from Indie developers to brands looking to launch an App – it removes the risk and uncertainty from the process and avoids the curse of the one-star. It’s hard to see why developers wouldn’t use this.
Mob4Hire have won a bunch of awards in their short life to date and it’s certainly a company to watch.
* JME is not a typo. Sun renamed J2ME back in 2005. Clearly not one of the world’s best branding campaigns, huh?