Applications developers in Europe will soon be able to test applications on real devices without incurring the costs of purchasing handsets and subscriptions, with a succession of in-country launches of Device Anywhere from Mobile Complete.
Mobile Complete’s service works by siting a range of real, physical devices within a local data centre, reflecting the scope of operator devices within that market. For an initial fee and then a per-hour charge, an application developer can then test his application against that device, through an internet connection. When the developer clicks on a desktop representation of the mobile, electrical connections to the handset itself mirror those keystrokes, performing the actual commands. The system allows developers to run tests against a range of platforms and handsets, both commercial and pre-commercial.
Faraz Syed, ceo of Mobile Complete, said that usually developers have to buy a number of handsets, plus airtime, if they wanted to test an application against them. The ASP model Mobile Complete has put together defrays that cost by up to a factor of five, he said,
Mobile Complete already has a contract with Sprint, in the US, within which Sprint points all its apps dev work towards the system, and is working to put a similar deal together with O2, as well as a number of other operators, Syed said. If an operator has a Partner programme, MC hopes to hook into that, enabling an operator’s partners to be able to port applications knowing they have met an operator’s own standards. Similarly, developer communities testing against a platform or OS environment could reduce the demands on testing and porting of applications.
The web front end can be viewed collaboratively, and captures actual screenshots from each test stage, which can be played back as a video, or saved and annotated. Mobile Complete also has automated scripts which it says it will add to the Device Anywhere service – allowing developers to run tests without being present, for later review.
Test handsets are already located in the UK and Germany, with France to follow later this year. Mobile Complete plans to have presence in Spain and Italy soon after.
Syed said that as well as reduced development costs, time to market and porting times can be dramatically reduced.