AppThwack helps developers test Android apps on real devices

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I’m absolutely no developer, and the only experience I’ve had with creating apps is using Tasker’s app export functionality. That brief experience, however, was enough to show me how much of a pain it is to get an app to work on multiple devices, so I have immense respect for what developers go through with the nightmare that is Android fragmentation. It can quickly become very costly to buy devices for testing, so you can’t expect small developers to do that.

AppThwack is a new service that is designed to help fix exactly that problem. It lets you upload an app, and it then runs it on a wide range of actual devices. There are currently about 60 difference devices hooked up to the AppThwack system, and these devices have already helped run hundreds of thousands of tests. The service returns the result to you when the tests are done, complete with a list of issues it has encountered.

The service is invaluable for developers, and to be honest, it’s something Google should provide for free, covering every single brand name Android device out there. But since it’s not, AppThwack has taken it upon itself to save the world from buggy apps. It’s currently free since it’s in the start-up phase, but in the future it will even be possible to get the AppThwack system set up using your own devices, which would be a natural choice for big developers. After all, it’s not just the service that’s revolutionary, but the ability to run on so many devices automatically as well.

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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3 thoughts on “AppThwack helps developers test Android apps on real devices

  • Interesting, how much control do you have over testing? I guess if nothing else it’d be nice for game devs to quickly test what devices a game will crash on, rather than randomly excluding devices they haven’t tested (in the Play store). Tho it’s not so much devices as SoCs that you need to test against, e.g. if it works on one S4 device it’s gonna work on most. Android fragmentation really isn’t much of a nightmare for common apps, games haveoit the worst tho since they make more direct use of the hardware.

    • Avatar of Andreas Ødegård

      Actually you’d be surprised how much weirdness can affect an app. Just from what I’ve exported from Tasker, I’ve seen some peculiar things like Gmail in ICS having a different process name, Gmail in honeycomb+ displaying notifications differently, and various devices having different systems for activating the camera LED. Today I also discovered (related to something else) that apparently Honeycomb’s external storage access permission is different than Gingerbread, causing loads of apps to be unable to write to the external SD card in some cases.

      As for the test system, there are several levels of tests you can run. There’s a couple of demos that you can play around with on the site that shows the basic concept

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