Since the market of Android devices is highly fragmented, there is a problem of choosing the smartphones, which will be used in testing.
Here are some parameters, which depend on the target audience characteristics and can influence on the test devices choice:
Localization and geography. In different countries there is a different set of popular devices.
Customer requirements (e.g. tablets of the specific model).
Different devices for different social groups. Any factors can play a role: age, availability of work, etc.
News trends, etc.
Here are 6 advices on how to select the set of devices.
1. If the application is developed from the beginning and doesn’t involve a large number of users in the nearest future, the best option is to acquire the devices, which are the most common while taking into account the popularity of the OS version among your target audience. And it’s better to add new devices in your devices set as the target audience grows. For this purpose you can monitor the analytics, e.g. Google Analytics.
2. In case you can’t get a new device, you can use emulators for bug action. In terms of price / quality ratio the most popular are the emulators in Android Studio and Genymotion.
3. If you can’t configure the required device on the emulator and getting a new device becomes a significant cost item or if you need to test a bug on some device for a specific market, then you can use the farm of mobile devices. Simply put, the farm is a real park of devices, to which you can connect remotely. All of them are paid, but there are also trial versions. Here is the list of good farms:
Disadvantages of using the farms:
- price: as the competition among mobile devices farms is low, then no one wants to reduce prices;
- productivity: commands are transmitted via the Internet, which can lead to a lag while device responding to any action. As a consequence, the dependence on the Internet connection exists;
- location: since most farms are located in America or the EU, it isn’t possible to test applications for the operators from other countries.
4. You can contact with the project community (active users with devices) and ask them. This one increases loyalty and shows your attention.
5. You can conduct a beta test. It is conducted not by the testers of the project itself, but by a wider range of users before the working version release. The information about how to set up beta testing on Google Play is available here. But there are other options that will help beta testers to get a mobile application without adding it to Google Play. There are special services for this:
- Beta Family;
- Test Fairy;
- Beta Crashlytics.
In addition to builds distribution, these services have useful functionality: the collection of crash reports, the analytics and the reviews of users, video test recording. In this TestFairy will help you to watch a video about each tester actions.
6. Devices can be borrowed in the team.
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