What is a Real Device Cloud and Why Use One for Mobile App Testing?

  September 25, 2019

Testing on a multitude of real devices, operating systems, and OS versions can be a real challenge. You know it’s true. Besides, we can find mobile devices with different screen sizes, memory, CPU power, etc. in the wild, which doesn’t make things easier. Yet, to deliver great apps to your customers, you need to perform tests on real devices. Let’s find out how a real device cloud can help you overcome testing challenges and how it lets you test faster and more accurately!

What is a Real Device Cloud?

real device cloud is a mobile testing environment that offers a versatile collection of real Android and iOS devices with different combinations of OS versions, screen sizes, RAM, and more.

Mobile developers and testers can get easy access to these devices over the internet and perform manual or automated tests written in their preferred frameworks, such as Calabash or Appium for cross-platform testing, Espresso for Android UI testing or XCTest/XCUITest for iOS UI testing.

By running tests on a real device cloud, teams can achieve more efficient testing processes, ensuring that the code and product are thoroughly audited and high-quality applications are delivered.

Why Use a Real Device Cloud for Mobile App Testing?

The first reason that may pop into your mind is that running tests on real devices yields real results that emulators can never achieve. And believe it or not, the debate between using real devices vs. emulators for reliable mobile app testing is still ongoing. However, a real device cloud can do so much more to improve your mobile app testing processes – let’s find out more!

1. Take Advantage of Unlimited Concurrency and Reduce Time-To-Market

Testing is a time-consuming activity. Even if you’ve already automated most of your test cases, you still need to run them on various devices with different specifications. If you run your tests on one device at a time, which is called sequential testing, you can’t test your product as thoroughly as intended. You just don’t have enough time!

To speed up testing, run your tests on multiple devices at the same time. Execute tests on as many devices concurrently as possible! As a result, testing gets more efficient, and you can ensure your customers receive stable and responsive products. What’s more, your QA team and developers can spend the time saved elsewhere. For example, they could perform more manual tests to check your app’s UX or work on your users’ feature requests.

Most online testing services already offer you to run tests on a max number of devices at once, such as 20 devices. But let’s envision running your tests on an unlimited number of mobile devices at the same time. The saved time differs considerably! Feel free to do the math yourself or head over to our article about unlimited device concurrency and learn more about this magic.

To make your wildest testing dreams come true, we at Bitbar have developed a technology that allows teams to run tests on any number of devices while maintaining speed and efficiency. In this way, you can maximize your testing efforts, be more productive, and make more valuable applications available to your users more often.

2. Stay Flexible and Customize the Testing Environment to Your Needs

One challenge companies often face when using cloud services is their one-size-fits-all functionality. Saas (Software as a Service) in particular often offers predefined features without any customization options. Sure, depending on a company’s needs, the ability to customize the service might not be necessary. However, if you can’t work with what’s offered to you, it sure is nice to be able to change the environment to your needs. This means, instead of opting for SaaS, you should choose an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service).

And who knows what the future holds? You need to stay flexible to adapt to changing business needs. And the same goes for the tools you use. Let’s face it, nobody’s eager to migrate to a new solution! That’s why choosing a flexible real device cloud can be a lifesaver in the future.

Moreover, the people working and testing your application have their own preferred technology stack. Therefore, it would be counterproductive to make them use different test frameworks and configurations in the cloud. With a cloud-based, flexible infrastructure, you can make your team feel right at home. Set up a smooth and continuous process that they can work with.

3. Get Reliable Testing Results from Real Devices

Here we are – there are two ways to test your mobile apps: test on real devices or emulators. The main difference between the two is that emulators act like real devices, but they run on a computer. Hence, you can’t expect them to be the “real deal”. That’s why it’s essential to focus a big part of your testing efforts on real devices!

With emulators, your developers can test as they build features or fix bugs, ensuring more robust apps throughout the development lifecycle. They don’t require maintenance, are most times open source and easy to handle and configure. But emulators aren’t ideal for checking your app under real-world conditions since they don’t overheat or lose battery life, for example.

Furthermore, a forgotten or wrongly set parameter in your emulator can ruin and falsify your test results. That being said, you can imagine testing on real devices is much more reliable and efficient. Additionally, your users don’t use your app on emulators, do they?

4. Stop Worrying About Setting up and Maintaining Your In-House Device Lab

Okay, sound great, but to test on real devices, you need some sort of device lab. You could set up and maintain such a lab in-house (also called on-premise). However, this method may be expensive – think about how many devices you need to buy and maintain. In theory, setting up a reliable and efficient device lab yourself isn’t impossible. But why go through all the trouble if you can easily find better ways to get the same result?

A valid solution is choosing a cloud-service that offers real devices for testing. In this way, you save financial and human resources and allow your team to carry out state-of-the-art testing practices like continuous testing. You don’t need to worry about maintaining and updating your devices and the associated costs. A real device cloud comes with all the features you need right out of the box. Additionally, it helps you optimize your release cycles and lets you follow modern testing practices more confidently. Thus, we aren’t exaggerating when we say that using a cloud-based service is a “work more, worry less”-solution for you and your team!

Choosing a Real Device Cloud Service – Public or Private?

Running your tests in a real device cloud can help you release more stable applications more often. Plus, it gives your business and your team the flexibility it needs for optimal performance and enables you to respond more quickly to changing business needs.

However, not all companies, especially in specific industries like finance or health, can use shared, public cloud services due to strict security compliance standards. To let these companies enjoy the same benefits as from a cloud service, we at Bitbar offer an Enterprise solution for hosting either a Private Cloud for your dedicated use or In-House Device Lab on your premise.

Security isn’t the only factor you need to consider when deciding on a public or private solution. We’ve curated 10 things you need to consider when choosing one or the other here on our blog.

Need help deciding what’s the ideal solution for you and your company? Talk with one of our consultants!
If you want to test what it’s like to work with a real device cloud, try our public cloud for free.

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