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Facebook introduces new Android alpha testing program

Facebook four month old beta testing program now sees one million users from 150 countries every day

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
October 12, 2013 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3289

Earlier this summer, Facebook introduced Android beta testing program to allow its users to test out products before they were released and let the company know about any problems they were experiencing. And it has apparently been a big success. People really do want to be the first to get their hands on a new product!

And now they will get the chance to test things out even earlier with the launch of Facebook's Android alpha testing program, it was revealed in a blog post on Friday. 

"In the spirit of getting feedback even earlier in the development process, starting today, we're introducing the Facebook for Android alpha testing program. We started out with beta as we knew it would be a good balance between testing and usability, but we'd love to get feedback as early as testers want to give it," Christian Legnitto, head of mobile release engineering at Facebook, wrote.

"The Facebook for Android alpha testing program will be very similar to the beta program, but the app will be at an even earlier stage in its development."

If the alpha program works out as well as the beta program did, Facebook will be very happy.

In the last four months, the program has been seeing over 1 million daily active users from over 150 countries, Facebook has revealed.

To join the alpha program, users need to join the Facebook for Android Alpha Testers Google group. Then they need to click "Become a Tester” in the Play Store to allow alpha downloads, update the app and turn on automatic update. And then give Facebook feedback and reports when there is a problem with a test.

Facebook says that it be updating alpha "multiple times per week."

If a user decides that they no longer want to be a  tester, they just need to click "Leave the test" in the Play Store.

No shock that Facebook wants to maximize its potential on Android, seeing as though the platform is becoming dominant on both tablets and smartphones.

In the second quarter of 2013, Android completely dominated tablets, with 67% of the global market share, according to numbers released by Strategy Analytics last month.

Android shipped 34.6 million units. That is compared to only 28.3% for Apple, or 14.6 million units.

When it comes to smartphones, Android holds an even bigger share: 79.3%, good for 187.4 million units shipped last quarter. 

That is a more than 10% jump from the 108 million united shipped in the same quarter in 2012, which gave the operating system a worldwide share of 69.1%.

Apple, on the other hand, went the other direction. In the second quarter of 2013, iOS saw 31.2 million smartphone units shipped, for a 13.2% market share. That is down over 3% from the 16.6% market share it saw a year ago.

It wasn't all bad news for Apple: the company still saw a 20% increase in shipments, up from 26 million in the second quarter of 2012. But the fact that it saw a loss of marketshare, while Android saw such big gains, is a good enough reason for a site like Twitter to do whatever it can to capitalize on that growth.

It is this growth that also led Twitter to create a new group on Google, called "Twitter for Android Experiment," which allows users to sign up to test out new features on the Twitter app before they are released to the public.

(Image source: https://groups.google.com)

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