Test Android apps across devices with Google's in-house Cloud Test Lab

Android developers need to make sure their apps work on a wide variety of mobile devices, while iOS developers only have to worry about iPhone and iPad variations. According to an Open Signal report, there were over 18,000 distinct Android devices in existence in 2014. To ensure that apps don't encounter unforeseen bugs on such a fragmented device market, developers have been enlisting third-party testing services. Google announced at its I/O conference that it will be launching the in-house testing service, Cloud Test Lab.

In Cloud Test Lab, Google will run automated tests of submitted apps through the Top 20 Android devices, free of charge. In the future, Google will open up the service to include a paid tier of additional Android devices. Google hopes its parallel testing of physical devices can bring developers deeper insight into how to scale apps for various devices. Cloud Test Lab builds upon technology from Appurify which was acquired by Google.

In the testing process, Google's robot app crawlers will search your app and find crashes. Cloud Test lab will give developers actionable reports, screenshots, video, and logs of everything leading up to and after crashes. The service gives developers the choice between web or command line interfaces.

The first-party testing platform should be a welcome advance in creating Android apps that are reliable across both multiple devices and multiple versions of Android OS. According to an official Android report, the majority of users are split between using using KitKat (39.8%), JellyBean (39.2%). Less than 10% of users are on Lollipop 5.0 or 5.1. Such a fragmented OS user base means that developers will really need to continue concentrating on multi-device reliability, whether they use Cloud Test Lab, or not.

Cloud Test Lab is scheduled to launch later this summer. You can sign up for updates, directly from the site.