You have been asked to test the latest Mobile based application, created painstakingly by your organization over the last few months. All you have with you is your exclusive Smartphone, which you saved for, and bought, over the last few months / years. The choices are now with you, either beg/borrow/steal from colleagues or do the right thing. Fire up that web browser on your Smartphone, open up ‘Google’ and have a go at searching for ‘Mobile Test Partners on the Cloud’. I would generally as a rule go for the second option and not put ‘my precious’ phone to the test on un-tested applications.

What you achieve when you go through the search, is a wide variety of web sites and commercial vendors offering this facility to you, at a fraction of the cost that you would spend in setting up your own facilities and test lab. You need to now make an informed decision by researching and figuring out which one of these would serve your purpose the best and also give you value for the money spent.

Mobile testing has come a long way. From the initial fragmented scenario of having to check on each kind of screen resolution and phone type and screen size, add to that the variety of mobile browsers being offered by the various vendors, to the current situation of having apps created using HTML5 versus native apps. Adding to the general confusion is the non-app area, where companies wish to check the overall ‘responsiveness’ of their “web pages” across the same wide variety of devices, which includes [and not restricted to] iOS (iPhones and iPads), Android (Tablets and Phones – low end and high end), and recently the Windows 8 (WP8 devices and Windows RT devices and desktop’s with Windows 7 & 8 included) and Chrome OS (mainly low end laptops & devices). This vast array of devices also brings up with them an equally confusing array of browsers along with them (at the last count it was something like 9 browsers and growing).

Faced with a similar dilemma, we take refuge in the well-trodden path of checking on the search engines for a Web Accessible Mobile Testing Tool (applications and browser based systems), that would be able to serve our purpose and not cause the management to jump from their warm seats when they finally receive the bill for the services used to test their precious new mobile application or website.

To get through all this, I listed down a few of the up and coming offerings which provide a good cross-section of the devices and are reasonable in costs. Although these cloud platforms do provide a service which is extremely useful, keep in mind, you might need to make use of physically handling the device to run certain tests, which cannot be checked with automation (but there are ways and means to handle this, so don’t be disheartened). A hybrid cloud installation in these situations can be one of the simpler solutions which come handy. A hybrid cloud provides a small subset of devices at your physical location and the wider variety at a remote location. Of the Could Mobile Test providers, the most important thing to look into is if they provide you with storage for your tests and a way to run the automated tests that you have so painstakingly created for your application from within the cloud infrastructure. This is along with the use of making sure that these tests run over a wide variety of network speeds simulated to provide the 2G, 3G, 4G and Wireless speeds prevalent in the World Wide Networks around the world.

Practically a Cloud Based system should be able to cater for most of the requirements outlined above; and the good news is that most of them do exactly that. A few of the prominent ones which I have used recently and the ones which come to my mind are: pCloudy.com, appurify.com, perfectomobile.com, HP mobile testing lab, to name just a few of the upcoming entrants in this field, where by Gartner estimates, there are 5.6 billion handsets present. pCloudy.com has stood out as an excellent upcoming product, being run by engineers who have previously worked with Nokia and other top mobile hardware development companies. They have built the framework for testing on mobile devices from the ground up and have got some really cool features which go with it. (Disclaimer: I know one of the Co-Founders as a colleague from my previous companies). I loved the way they have handled the storage of tests and results on the site itself, along with providing features such as mock location maps, allowing the users to experience the different states of the application in separate geographical locations. They have recently launched a feature of having multiple browsers and simplified their launching from within the cloud interface, making things easier for users again. And have launched the latest Android ‘KitKat’ version with the Nexus5. All in all, an excellent package to go for, with reasonable rates.

All said, the main purpose of having a cloud based mobile test experience is important for any company wanting to launch its web presence these days. With the advent of HTML5 and other technologies like Foundation (more on this later), the web has become a place where people love a responsive site (or application across iOS, Chrome OS and Windows [Phone] 8) that caters for whatever device they are working on, and does not have the staid look and feel when they change from a Desktop -> Laptop -> Handheld Tablet -> Smartphone. They want to get the feel that the web site developer / organization has done their homework and provided them with a site where they do not have to pinch-in and out, just to read content. With the expansion of Smartphone markets in the developing nations and organizations wanting to tap into the ‘billions’ of people there to advance their products, it has become imperative for these organizations to go through the process of Mobile Testing their web sites and mobile based applications across various low end and high end devices to be useful.

Sites like pCloudy.com, appurify.com, etc. are making it easier and faster to send out mobile products into the market by providing the required platform at a fraction of the cost of actually acquiring a complete mobile test lab. That said, you would still need to work out a small subset of your tests at a physical location, but I am sure that this would also become possible over the cloud. With the advances these start-ups are making with technology and improvements on their own feature sets. I certainly would be looking forward to features which provide a friendly interface and let me run across multiple devices; and for that the Mobile Test on Cloud providers are definitely a better option than trying to keep up with the influx of the hardware been thrown into the market by all the top end and low end hardware manufacturers around the world.

https://i1.wp.com/www.testingcircus.com/wp-content/uploads/Mobile-app-tesitng-circus.png?fit=297%2C255&ssl=1https://i1.wp.com/www.testingcircus.com/wp-content/uploads/Mobile-app-tesitng-circus.png?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Gagneet SinghArticlesMobile Application TestingYou have been asked to test the latest Mobile based application, created painstakingly by your organization over the last few months. All you have with you is your exclusive Smartphone, which you saved for, and bought, over the last few months / years. The choices are now with you,...
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Gagneet Singh

Gagneet Singh has been working in the Quality Assurance/Test field for the past 8 years (with an additional 4 years in System Tools development) and has been involved with companies such as Toshiba, Adobe (Macromedia) , McAfee, Oracle, Yahoo! and recently Microsoft. He likes to blog and to write about the experiences he faced in the various organizations and situations. His work has mostly been with Automation Testing, along with Performance QA. Also, Security testing over the much hyped “Cloud Computing” (using Hadoop and Azure) has figured in his work area. Currently working out of this place they call the “Down Under“, where he lives in Sydney, New South Wales!

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