Starting next week, Android and Fire OS developers will be able to use a new cloud-based service from Amazon to test their apps on physical smartphones and tablets. The AWS Device Farm will allow developers to upload their apps and test them on “the most commonly used mobile devices across a continually expanding fleet that includes the latest device/OS combination.” Amazon says. Sadly, the company didn’t say how many devices we are actually talking about.
If this concept sounds familiar, it may be because a number of other companies offer very similar services already. Google announced Cloud Test Lab at its I/O developer conference a few weeks ago, for example (though it won’t launch until later this summer), and Xamarin has already been offering its Test Cloud service (with support for about
1,000 1,600 devices) since 2013.
The new Device Farm works pretty much like all of its competitors. Developers upload their app, choose which devices they want to test it on and the service will automatically iterate through all the screens and buttons. Once that’s done, the service generates a report and the developer can go ahead start debugging the app. If you need more control over the tests, Device Farm also allows you to script your own tests with the help of popular test frameworks like Appium (which Xamarin also supports), Calabash and Espresso.
“For mobile app developers, delivering high-quality apps across all of the different device and OS combinations is a major effort — it’s time consuming, complicated, and expensive. And, as new devices continue to enter the market, developers are looking for an easier way to build and test across them,” said Marco Argenti, Amazon’s Vice President for AWS in a statement today. “AWS Device Farm gives developers a very simple and cost-effective way to test the real user experience of their apps across multiple device types at scale. And, when used along with other AWS Mobile Services like Amazon Cognito, AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS), developers have a full platform that makes it even easier to build, deploy, test, and iterate great mobile apps.”
Just like other AWS services, Device Farm will offer a free tier. In this case, you get 250 device minutes for free. After that, you will pay $0.17 per device minute or you can opt for paying a flat fee of $250 per device per month. Xamarin’s pricing plans, in comparison, start at $1,000 for 200 monthly device hours with no limits on how many devices you can test on. The company also offers 60 minutes of access to the service to all Xamarin subscribers. Google has not released pricing for its service yet.