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Safari Bug Actually Costs You Money

Tap to waste money.Mobile bugs are becoming a bigger and bigger problem, and iPhone users are the latest to be affected by buggy software.  Techcrunch reported yesterday that a bug in Safari causes it to consume bandwidth even when it’s closed.  The problem arises with the use of Motion JPEG (or M-JPEG), a video standard that is built off of the JPEG images standard.  When an iPhone user visits a page with an M-JPEG video, Safari will download continuously, even if the user pushes the Home button to end Safari and go back to the home screen.

What makes this problem really terrible is that many mobile users are charged for their bandwidth usage.  Even AT&T users, who are used to having unlimited data plans in the United States, can be charged for data consumption while traveling internationally.  That can mean big bills when they get back home.

Cellular service providers aren’t immune either.  Networks around the world are struggling to keep up with the data demands of the iPhone, and providers certainly don’t need to deal with unnecessary data consumption caused by broken software.  That means companies like AT&T are building out extra infrastructure to support buggy apps – something that costs you and me money in our phone bills.

For the security researchers who uncovered this bug, one hour of testing resulted in $3,000 worth of data charges. That is serious money, and anyone developing mobile apps should take heed.  Your broken app can cost enough money to buy 10 iPhones, and that’s a great way to get some bad press.  Further proof that mobile application testing needs to catch-up to the standards of web and desktop testing.


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More Stories By Jennifer Moebius

Jennifer Moebius, Public Relations Manager at uTest, champions media efforts, analyst relations and speaking/awards programs. A media maven and creative writer, Jennifer’s accomplishments include feature articles in BusinessWeek, Fortune, Dow Jones, The New York Times and Investor’s Business Daily. Prior to uTest, Jennifer was Senior Account Executive at boutique PR firm Emerge Public Relations where she managed PR programs for a variety of tech clients including Burton Group, Information Builders, Action Engine, Tizor Systems, good2gether and Harvard Business Publishing.

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