Putting an App to the Test on Android

Jun 7, 2016 10:00:00 AM

developing android appsBuilding an app for Android devices gives you access to a far larger potential market than developing for just Apple devices. However, developing Android apps comes with great challenges, simply because of the vast array of different devices, screen sizes, specifications, and other variables of Android devices. This is even more of an issue now that there are so many popular Android tablets to be sure your app works on, in addition to the array of smartphones out there. Here's how to be sure your app is thoroughly tested across the Android universe.

Test for Various Devices

In order to be sure that the app works across all Android devices, you will need to test a wide variety of samples. These should include:

  • The most popular Android devices (the Samsung Galaxy series of phones)
  • A variety of different screen sizes (from the tiny Galaxy Mini to the gigantic Droid Maxx, plus the small to large tablets -- from the Ellipsis to the Google Pixel)
  • Test for device fragmentation. Device fragmentation refers to the different versions of the same operating system that are developed when equipment manufacturers (like Samsung or Motorola or LG) modify the operating source code for their own specific products. In other words, it isn't okay to just test for Marshmallow compatibility, you also have to test for Marshmallow for Samsung, Marshmallow for Droid, Marshmallow for LG, etc.
  • Test for different hardware configurations. How does your app perform with different memory capabilities, CPU, etc.?
  • Test for both low-end and high-end devices. How does your app perform in the top tier products, as well as the cheapest phones and tablets?
  • Obviously, you need to include both phones and tablets in your app testing for Android.

The most popular Android Devices to test for are continually changing. The top sellers today will be different from those that are selling best when school starts back or during the holiday season.

Test for Multiple Operating Systems

Most Android devices have been upgraded to the Marshmallow operating system, which was released in October 2015, but there are still some Lollipop devices out there. Lollipop was released back in November 2014. It's not inconceivable that some of your users are still on the Kit Kat OS, released in October 2013. However, bear in mind that there is a pretty big disparity among these operating systems -- you still have to account for device fragmentation among the top smartphone and tablet manufacturers(Samsung, Google/Nexus, LG, Moto, Motorola, etc.), as well as screen size, hardware specs, etc.

How to Test Your App on Various Android Devices & Operating Systems

You can either use an Android emulator to test right from your desktop computer, or invest in all of the various Android smartphones and tablets you need to test on, including those with older operating systems, memory, CPU, etc.

There are two different ways to test your app across Android devices. You can use an Android emulator or bypass the emulator and use actual Android devices.

Obliviously, if cost is an issue, the emulator is much cheaper and easier than buying and testing a plethora of different expensive smartphones and tablets. However, having the actual device is a more thorough, comprehensive, and reliable means of testing.

It is essential to remember that the testing and debugging process is a close cousin to hacking -- so never release an app that is configured to debug. Always double check that Debugging is not set to True before distributing your app, or you've just handed hackers the easiest in possible.

As you can see, the testing and debugging process can be as difficult, time-consuming, and expensive as the process of developing an app for Android. An easier way is to turn to the development experts at AndPlus for help. Contact us to get started on your Android development project today.


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Brian Geary

Written by Brian Geary

Brian is a true believer in the Agile process. He often assists the development process by performing the product owner role. In addition to his technical background, he is an experienced account manager with a background in design and marketing.

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