Today we’re launching a beta version of Remote Device Lab, which will enable you to easily verify your app on a range of Xperia smartphones and tablets, without having to buy them. Through this free and easy-to-use online service, you can connect to a real Xperia device, and then upload your app on the device for verification.
Android app developers today face a challenge in making their apps work on as many devices as possible. A lot of different screen sizes, hardware configurations and software versions have to be taken into consideration as apps have to be adapted to work on a larger number of devices from different manufacturers. To make sure an app works properly, the best way is to test it on a real device, which can be very expensive and cumbersome if you, as an app developer, have to buy the device. To address this, we’re now launching a beta version of Remote Device Lab.
You can use these devices in Remote Device Lab almost like if you had them in your hands. All functions are working on the devices, except phone calls. The devices are equipped with a SIM card and data traffic is enabled. There is also a Wi-Fi network available, which you can connect to from the devices.
Just like with a device you have in your hand, you can use Remote Device Lab for many aspects of app verification. For example:
- General behaviour – to perform a general sanity check on real devices, to get a visual confirmation that your app work as intended with the correct performance on a range of models and screen sizes.
- System behaviour – to ensure that your app reacts in a correct way to system events such as alarms and notifications.
- Compatibility – to ensure that your app works properly if it uses hardware-related media functions like video codecs.
- Camera integration – to make sure your app is working properly if it’s using the camera. Since the camera is a hardware feature where the implementation can differ between models and manufacturers, this is an important verification.
- Connectivity – to test the network connectivity of your app. For example, to see how it performs on Wi-Fi and mobile networks.
To make sure you get a consistent and secure experience, the devices are factory reset after each session. This means that all your data (including uploaded applications, account data, browser history and similar) are deleted and the device will be reset to factory conditions.
How to use the Remote Device Lab (beta)
To be able to use the Remote Device Lab, your computer needs to have Java installed, and you need to be using one of the supported web browsers. Learn about the exact requirements on the Remote Device Lab FAQ page. To start using Remove Device Lab, all you need to do is to follow these simple steps:
- Go to Remote Device Lab (available at http://remotedevicelab.sonymobile.com).
- Select the device you want to use and click on Connect.
- Login with your Sony Smartphone, Google or Facebook account.
- Once connected to a device, you may see a screen showing a VNC-logo. Press the back icon in the device UI to start using it. Each session always starts the device with the setup guide, since it is factory reset after each session.
Now you can try out the device as you wish, and install your application on the device to verify it on that device. You can also retrieve system logs from the device, and upload APKs for instrumentation testing.
Each session is 30 minutes long. It’s however possible to use several devices at the same time. This is useful if, for example, you want to compare how your app looks and behaves on different hardware or screen sizes.
When testing your app, you are free to use the devices as you wish. There are however a few limitations which you should be aware of:
- Audio is not supported.
- Phone calls are blocked.
- There is no support for Android Debug Bridge (adb).
- Screen recording is not supported.
- There is no support for connecting the devices to your integrated development environment (IDE).
- Remote Device Lab itself is only available in English, but you can set whatever language you like in the actual devices.
- We reserve the right to block access for users who we believe use the devices in an inappropriate way.
Since Remote Device Lab is released as a beta version, you may sometimes notice unintended behaviour. Here are a few known issues:
- Sometimes when connecting to a device, the device screen is turned off and unresponsive. You can wake the device up by clicking on the rotate button in Remote Device Lab.
- You cannot start the camera app by long pressing the camera hardware button.
- When connecting to a device or resuming a session, the device screen may sometimes show a VNC-logo. Press the back icon in the device UI to get started using the device.
- If you rotate a device while having the camera app active, the camera view might not follow the rotation.
- If you disable USB, activate USB tethering, or disable the RealVNC app, you will lose the connection to that device.
Head over to the Remote Device Lab right away to get started, or read more about the service on the Remote Device Lab FAQ page. Here you’ll also find information on how to contact us if you have any feedback on this beta release, or if you have any ideas for how to improve the service.
So app developers, do you think this service will be useful? Drop us a line in the comments field below and let us know.