During the Google I/O 2015 event, Google has announced the availability of the new Google Cloud Test Lab service for Android developers.
The Google Cloud Test Lab is a platform where developers can automate testing of mobile apps on physical and virtual devices. Every APK submitted to Play Store’s Alpha and Beta channels will be automatically scanned on more than 20 physical devices and get a free launch performance report. Developers who want to run customized testing can eventually purchase it through Cloud Test Lab.
Early access to the service is now open for applications through the Google Play Developer Console or the Google Cloud Test Lab website. Developers have to fill in a simple application form, which will then be notified when the service is available.
Impacts to developers
Mobile App testing has always been a headache for developers and QA teams. Traditionally App tests are done either manually or automatically using real devices running different OS versions. The cost for maintaining mainstream mobile devices with different combinations of OS versions has been high and unaffordable for small development teams. In addition, as new devices/new device OS updates are releasing to the market every week, it is virtually impossible to cover all device test cases.
Before the Google Cloud Test Lab, there are already commercial cloud test services available for developers. For example, Xamarin Test Cloud allows automatic app testing on 1,000 devices. However, with the pricing starting from $1,000 USD per month for 2 apps, to $12,000 USD per month for 20 apps, it is still not for the general developers or small-to-medium scale projects.
The good news for the Google Cloud Test Lab is that even an advanced customized test is chargeable, it provides a basic free test to at least cover some devices, bridging the “all or none” gap. In addition to the existing test plans and procedures, developers working on smaller projects, or with limited budgets will soon be able to enjoy the “free lunch” to further improve the App quality by doing some additional testings before their Apps are released to the public.