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How to test mobile apps in the cloud

By Mike Wager

Mike Wager

Mike Wager - 28 April 2022

In 1973, Martin Cooper did something that no one had ever done before. He placed a call on the world's first commercial cell phone. The Motorola DynaTAC 8000X might have been slightly smaller than a house with limited functionality and poor call quality by today’s standards, but this was a significant step in developing mobile device technology. 

Mobile devices today are wildly different. They have multiple screen sizes, resolutions, and functions, with capabilities expanded by millions of apps to meet our specific needs at work and home. Brilliantly convenient for the user, but with different models, operating systems (OS), and manufacturers, ensuring your app works across each of these variables is challenging. Get it wrong, and your app goes in the trash can. In the US alone, 43% of apps are uninstalled after 30 days, according to Statista. 

Testing mobile applications is the only way to ensure functionality before it hits the end-user. However, you need to execute thousands of test cases because there is no guarantee that an app performing on an Android device will work without issues on the latest Apple iPad or Samsung handset. Even simple problems with screen aspect ratios or orientation can occur on the same OS but different device models. So, what's the answer? 

Cloud-Based Mobile App Testing

Cloud-based device farms optimize mobile app testing by executing test cases in virtual software environments. Mobile conditions are replicated using simulators, emulators, or on actual devices hosted in the cloud. 

Compared to physical on-premise device farms, cloud-based device farms are easier to maintain and allow multi-site project teams to test applications on numerous devices in various real-user situations without setting up a physical lab. Competition is fierce, with thousands of apps released daily around the world. Testing app performance and functionality are essential to prevent bugs from entering production. If bugs are missed, costly delays occur, damaging the user experience and losing customers. 

Benefits of Cloud-Based Mobile App Testing 

One obvious benefit to cloud-based mobile app testing is that it is much easier to maintain than physical device farms, but there are a few more advantages that are at hand: 

1. Cost-effective 

Executing hundreds of different test scenarios across multiple OS, devices, and models is hugely expensive when acquiring and managing physical hardware yourself. Cloud-hosted testing platforms, such as Sauce Labs, offer monthly charges for a range of old and new devices, so you don't need to constantly update yours when new models are released. 

2. Better availability 

When your testing environment is hosted in the cloud, a massive number of devices, platforms, and OS are available via simulators and emulators. Real devices are also available to instantly access the latest models and features to execute accurate testing. 

3. Easily accessible 

Quality Assurance and test engineers can access a device farm and execute tests from anywhere, which is helpful in distributed teams as it supports collaboration. By accessing mobile device farms in the cloud and from various geolocations, testing can occur 24/7, accelerating time to market. 

4. Enhance collaboration 

Cloud-based device farms can be integrated with test management tools to accelerate feedback loops and software delivery. Various people are involved in software development, so good communication is critical to identify if they are any issues with a release so fixes can be made as quickly as possible. 

5. Increased productivity 

Utilizing a device farm in the cloud allows parallel testing of various devices, rather than testing one after another, which dramatically speeds up test cycles. Testing is often a bottleneck to software development, so being able to execute multiple test scenarios unique to your end-users accelerates production deployments. 
 

Mobile App Testing in the Cloud with Keysight's Eggplant Software Test Automation 

Manually testing apps on multiple devices can be unreliable, costly, and slows down release cycles. With Keysight's Eggplant test automation solution, you can accelerate the end-to-end testing of every user journey in your app across multiple mobile device types. 

Eggplant's flexibility allows integrations with mobile device farm providers, so your teams can access numerous devices and execute test cases specific to their end-users needs.  

Using Eggplant test automation software, testers can expand test coverage incrementally to parts of an application with discovered issues via intelligent automated exploratory testing. The artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms proactively explore areas close to these defects, as the probability of other bugs is high. Missed defects are costly to fix, especially when discovered in production. Eggplant's ability to increase test coverage helps reduce the chance of a buggy user experience, which can cause brand damage, dissatisfied end-users, and negatively impact an organization's bottom line. 

To discover how to optimize your app testing and accelerate releases, read our guide on mobile device testing in the cloud.