Android’s fragmentation problem causes mobile developers more problems than almost anything else on the platform.

Android accounted for 81.2 % of the global mobile market last year, with over a billion devices sold. Unfortunately, this success has caused a lot of problems for developers.

A recent survey by OpenSignal.com showed almost 19,000 unique android devices active on their network, up from almost 12,000 the previous year. With each new OS update and hardware release the problem gets worse. Writing code that runs cleanly across all 7 of the different versions of Android still widely in use can be nearly impossible.

Google has taken steps to address this problem.

They’ve changed the way core apps are rolled out and developed partnerships with major OEMs to standardize the update process, but there’s only so much they can do. The carriers and hardware manufacturers control the process, so the problem will likely get worse before it gets better.

Developers can use emulators for many platforms, allowing apps to be tested and tweaked before release. However, even testing for just a handful of the most popular devices is time consuming. Xamarin has addressed this problem by releasing their innovative Test Cloud. Nat Friedman, Xamarin’s CEO, had this to say following the release:

“The state of mobile testing today is primitive. Last month we ran a survey that found that nearly 80% of mobile developers are relying primarily on manual testing in their attempts to deliver great app experiences. And yet, more than 75% told us that the quality of their mobile apps is either “very important” or “mission critical.”

Xamarin’s Test Cloud grew out of their acquisition of Danish mobile testing startup LessPainful and their Calabash testing framework. Using Xamarin Test Cloud, developers gain access to a virtual lab of over 1000 mobile devices, with new ones added each month. Hundreds of devices can be tested simultaneously, both Android and iOS. Xamarin also includes an App Explorer that provides basic testing without the need for scripting.

The Xamarin Test Cloud’s App Explorer navigates through your apps.

It automatically tests every screen, button, entry, and numerous other UI controls. Configuration is simple and requires no additional code. It’s not meant to be comprehensive, but it does give developers validation of their apps on hundreds of real devices.

Xamarin Test Cloud can test much more than the simple UI interactions. Practically any situation a user could experience can be replicated with the testing framework, including network drop-outs and high latency, GPS location changes, physical button presses, device rotations, and more.

While Xamarin Test Cloud does require a subscription fee, the savings realized by discovering problems before your app goes to market can often pay this cost many times over.

Want to know more about mobile testing or Xamarin Test Cloud? Call Seamgen! We have the answers you need.