There’s a good reason many mobile apps don’t perform as well as their web equivalents, according to Gidi Pridor, a vice president at Israeli start-up Perfecto Mobile: Developers cannot possibly test against every device, network, and usage environment to ensure uniform and stable performance along the wide range of smartphones, tablets, and other devices in use today.
“Many businesses are having a very hard time getting the same level of quality and security on mobile as they have on the web, and for good reason,” he said.
How hard is it for developers to keep up? Very hard. Android phones, for example, first came on the market at the end of 2008; today, there are over 4,000 (that’s thousand) “flavors” of Android in use. There is no way any company — especially a startup with barely a dozen employees, exactly the kind of company that would be developing a mobile app — could possibly acquire all the devices it needed to test its code against.
Glitches are almost guaranteed, and that’s bad for business, said Perfecto’s CEO Eran Yaniv. “Mobile applications are becoming the direct channel to reaching the customer and are one of the most valuable and vulnerable points of contact. End users have come to expect a flawless experience, and the penalty for poor performance is harsh and swift. As a result, enterprises are under pressure to launch a mobile application that exceeds high customer expectations, not only for usability and functionality, but also the user demands for quick response time and availability.”
And if customers don’t get what they want, they’re on their way to the next developer, Yaniv added.
To help, Perfecto has developed a virtual testing platform that lets developers around the world plug into a device — any device in existence, practically – in order to test their code and ensure that it works properly on the platform they are developing for.
“Our MobileCloud platform provides secure cloud access anywhere in the world for working on and testing apps on any device,” said Pridor. The system allows users to connect to and try their app on any device (not an emulator) online, and as well as on any cell network anywhere. They get real-world and real-time information on how their app performed, and thus developers can ensure the quality of their products.
It’s certainly neater and safer than the usual situation in many R&D facilities, where dozens of devices are left lying around for testing in a lab, along with a jungle of cables, connectors, power supplies, and accessories for each device (because, of course, manufacturers ensure you buy more stuff from them by using a proprietary connector or power supply).
These devices, used for testing code, have valuable intellectual property on them and there’s a risk someone will take one out of the office or lose it. By offering developers a secure online testing system, Perfecto ensures that developers not only have access to the devices and networks they need, but also avoid the security risk inherent in keeping physical devices in the lab.
“Every device handles and reacts differently to varying network and load conditions, due to utilization of limited native resources (such as CPU, memory and battery life).” said Yaniv. “As mobile applications become mission-critical for organizations, the need for optimal application performance increases.”
Last week, Perfecto announced a new expanded version of its service, called MobileCloud Performance, adding the capabilities of remote manual testing, functional automation and performance testing. Perfecto, founded in 2006, has sales offices and connection centers in the US, Canada, several European countries, India, and Israel, where all the company’s R&D work is done.