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The Balance of Emulated Device Testing and Real Device Testing

By Josh Galde | September 10, 2013

CATEGORIES: Mobile Quality

There have been many articles written about the debate when it comes to testing on emulated devices vs real devices (in a cloud-based testing platform, such as DeviceAnywhere).

For those that are unfamiliar, testing on emulated devices (such as Keynote MITE) is popular, mostly for mobile websites. Other alternatives like this include SDK’s provided by Apple, Google, etc. And for real devices, we are typically speaking about a device cloud testing platform whereby you are renting time on devices to perform this testing (such as Keynotes DeviceAnywhere platform).

In a recent article Gregory Mooney states that “Pre-launch testing of any mobile application is a crucial step before going to market. Testing eliminates the chances your product will have to be recalled, not to mention the public embarrassment that goes with a defective app. And by testing your app thoroughly before it goes to market, you communicate to the consumer that your brand is one they can trust, as well as one they can buy from again.

According to International Data Corporation, 182.7 billion mobile apps will be downloaded by 2015. That’s a 1600% increase from the 10.7 billion apps downloaded in 2010. What mobile application development company wouldn’t want in on that?”

When it comes to the lifecycle of a mobile site, it is critical to be able to perform some basic testing by which can be done on a emulated device. This provides the correct screen size, load time, etc. And having the ability to Record your test on one device and play it back on others to rapidly ensure functionality on a broad cross section of smartphones and tablets can be extremely helpful in improving efficiency.

But once the site (or app at this point) is close to deployment, nothing can replace testing on a real device. Real device testing has become a key part of most mobile testing strategies. This is because it provides the experience of how the app or website will perform in a real world environment on a real network. And all done pre-release! This type of testing can be extremely effective in preventing any future issues and should be leveraged ongoing throughout the lifecycle.

This has enabled many Fortune 500 companies the ability to replace their in-house testing libraries with remote, cloud-based testing platforms for most to all of their testing needs.

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