T-Mobile's latest iPhone 5 Week cry for attention: Tappy the robot

  • (Network World)
  • 13 September, 2012 20:35

T-Mobile has released a video showcasing an engineering robot in its labs called Tappy that taps away on iPhones and other smartphones to ensure they're up to snuff.

The carrier, which was left off of Apple's iPhone 5 carrier partner list this week, nevertheless managed to make headlines by wooing unlocked iPhone users ahead of the iPhone 5 rollout. Now its revealing of Tappy promises to garner the carrier a little more attention on "iPhone 5 Week."

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According to a blog post by T-Mobile VP of engineering services and quality assurance Grant Castle, the robot is used in its Device Validation Lab, which consists of a dozen individual labs where engineers test phones for everything from durability in harsh conditions to basic signal quality and software compliance.

The robot, which has actually been in use for a few years after an enterprising internal engineer built it, can plow through monotonous smartphone app usage tests way faster than a human: a simulation can test a week's worth of apps usage in 24 hours. Phones must work flawlessly for 24 hours to pass muster. Castle claims the company's robot has helped T-Mobile cut device return costs by 75%.

One unfortunate byproduct of Tappy's success is that T-Mobile engineers are now taken to dancing like a robot, as shown in the video, because as one engineer says: "Robots are cool."

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