The PhoneBoy Blog


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Finding Those Phone Bugs Prior To Release

Chart showing the stages in the software release cycle

Image via Wikipedia

For once in my decade at Nokia, I’ve been given the opportunity to formally test a product before release. While I can’t talk about the product I’m testing until it’s formally announced, I can talk a little bit about Nokia’s internal beta testing program for upcoming products.

The biggest challenge in even getting into this program is that I work at home. This means that I am not regularly in a Nokia office–much less one that participates in the beta program. I did manage to find a site manager that was willing to allow me to participate in their site’s beta program. A few days later, I had an unreleased prototype phone in my hot little hands. :)

One of the important aspects of this testing program is that you use the test device as your primary phone during the duration of the test, which will vary depending on the program. This is important if you’re going to find bugs. I use the snot out of my phones, which makes it pretty easy to find bugs :)

The testing program tests devices in varying degrees of readiness and public knowledge. Given that a wider pool of Nokia employees participates in these programs, this can create some obvious product security issues. As such, there are program-specific rules about handling and showing the device in public.

The other challenge is that, at times, phones have to be updated with a flashing station. For phones that do not support Nokia Software Updater, this can be a problem. Even phones that do support NSU do, at times, need to visit a flashing station for a particular upgrade. Since it’s not easy for me to visit a flashing station, it does mean the phone might occasionally have to be dropped in a shipping envelope. That hasn’t had to happen yet as the one time this was required, I happened to be in the area and could simply swap the unit.

I am a few weeks into this process, and I have to say, overall, I love it. It’s gratifying to participate in improving the product quality of at least one upcoming phone. I hope that I can continue to participate in this program, despite some of the challenges me not being in an office creates.


C-List #Cybersecurity Celebrity, Podcaster, #noagenda Producer, Frequenter of shiny metal tubes, Expressor of personal opinions, and of course, a coffee achiever.