Virtual devices for automated mobile testing
May 4, 2021

For High-Velocity Testing, Plug Some Virtual Devices Into Your Testing Pyramid

Mobile Application Testing

Consider this all-too-familiar situation: 

The dev team sends over a new mobile app feature to QA before releasing it to production. A few days later, the dev team gets a hefty Jira ticket in response. Racing against the clock, the dev team then fixes the issue, QA retests, and hopefully the new feature is fixed in time for the end of the sprint. If they succeed, everyone breathes a sigh of relief before finding themselves again in the same situation. 

But this back-and-forth makes for a high-pressure work environment, stalls productivity, and can even delay releases.  

The truth? Testing doesn’t need to be this way.  

With virtual devices, the dev team could have found the issue much earlier in the development lifecycle. While testing on real devices is critical for high-quality mobile app development, devs don’t need to use them right away. 

But what if you could test on all the devices you needed, both real and virtual, all in one place? It is with this question that I am excited to announce Perfecto’s latest support of simulators and emulators. You can now test on simulators, emulators, and real devices from our mobile device lab, all within our mobile testing platform. 

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Why Add Virtual Devices? Speed & Cost 

By testing on both real and virtual devices, developers get fast feedback while organizations get comprehensive application quality at a much lower cost. 

This fast feedback from early testing helps organizations shift left and catch bugs earlier, faster, and resolve them more easily. 

Image Test Failure Analysis Visually Verify


Plus, organizations can create a more thorough and all-encompassing mobile testing strategy. With this combination of virtual and real devices, teams can test efficiently at every stage of the SDLC. 

How, might you ask? Let’s dive in. 

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Virtual Devices and the Testing Pyramid 

Many of us are familiar with the testing pyramid, which groups tests strategically into different categories. Tests in the lower portion of the pyramid are faster because they are more automated. Tests at the upper portion of the pyramid are slower and more manual. The higher you go, the fewer the tests. 

Visualization of which devices to use for each stage of the testing pyramid


Unit Testing With Virtual Devices 

Unit tests make up the largest layer of the testing pyramid, which test isolated units of code. Part of unit testing also requires validating code changes on a local machine, which happens during a code commit or as part of a pull request.  

Within this context, it makes sense to run these on dev-triggered simulation and emulation devices. In this case, simulators and emulators quickly give the appropriate feedback for such an early stage of development.  

Integration Testing With Real & Virtual 

Integration tests happen later as the app matures, and teams need to test more complex scenarios across different systems. It makes sense, then, that teams mix testing on simulators and emulators with real devices.  

Real device tests can cover areas such as performance testing, security, and even accessibility features. Virtual platforms, on the other hand, cover acceptance and unit tests more quickly and efficiently than real devices can. These tests, with a balance of real and virtual devices, complement each other to sufficiently cover this stage of the pipeline. 

UI & Manual Testing With Real Devices 

For UI and manual tests, it is— and I cannot stress this enough — critical to test on real devices and the custom operating systems they use. 

But this is a small part of a much larger mobile testing picture. While there will always be a place for real devices, adding simulators and emulators at earlier stages of development is the best way to test quickly, test early, and fix fast without interruption.   

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Bottom Line 

Matching your test strategy to the testing pyramid model is now simpler than ever. Combining virtual and real devices when mobile testing offers a powerful combination of speed and quality. With Perfecto’s latest support of simulators and emulators, teams can test their mobile apps both thoroughly and cost-effectively, all in one platform. 

Want to Learn More? 

Reach out to our team with questions or check out our eBook that discusses virtual devices in mobile testing. 

Explore Perfecto Virtual Devices  

Download Our Virtual Devices eBook 

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