Testing an Android app can be a real headache with the ginormous number of different devices out there, and there are services that can help you do that kind of stuff remotely - for a fee. But when Amazon gets in a business, you generally can assume the price is going to be competitive and the entry level benefits strong. Whether that's true, well, I am far from an expert on the cloud-based hardware testing business, so I really had no earthly idea until a few minutes ago. But in my brief research, it does look like the AWS Device Farm has a much simpler (and less restrictive) pricing and service model than its competitors.

AWS

The AWS Device Farm charges a flat rate of $0.17 per device-minute of testing, and your first 250 minutes are free. Amazon doesn't bother with any tiering or "priority" plans or anything like that - if you want to pay on the basis of usage, there's just one rate and one level of service to receive. There's also no monthly access fee - you only pay for what you use unless you opt for an unlimited testing subscription. The unlimited subscription, If you don't want metered pricing, is a flat $250 per month per device fee, and that gets you all the device-minutes you want. That makes deciding which plan to use pretty cut and dry, something other services make a little harder. It also makes Device Farm potentially a lot cheaper to smaller developers - if you only need two hours of device time a month, that comes out to around $20.

You can learn more about the AWS Device Farm at the official site here or check out the press release below. AWS Device Farm will launch on July 13th.

Press Release

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul. 9, 2015-- Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ:AMZN), today announced AWS Device Farm, a new service that helps mobile app developers quickly and securely test their apps on smartphones, tablets, and other devices to improve the quality of their Android and Fire OS apps. Developers can upload their apps and run tests simultaneously on all of the most commonly used mobile devices across a continually expanding fleet that includes the latest device/OS combinations. As tests complete, developers receive timely reports that identify problems, helping them bring their apps to market faster and with better quality. There is no setup cost to get started with AWS Device Farm, and developers pay as they go. To learn more about AWS Device Farm, visit: http://aws.amazon.com/device-farm.

Today, to test mobile apps, developers most often rely on manual testing of their apps. They use emulators that try to simulate the behavior of real devices, or they rely on their own collection of local devices that only cover a small set of the overall device market. Developers also have to address variations in firmware and operating systems, maintain operation with intermittent network connectivity, integrate reliably with back-end services, and ensure compatibility with other apps running on the device. Now, AWS Device Farm gives developers access to a fleet of devices that includes all the latest hardware, operating systems, and platforms so they can instantly test their apps across a large selection of Android and Fire devices, and integrate these tests into their continuous deployment cycle. AWS Device Farm removes the complexity and expense of designing, deploying, and operating device farms and automation infrastructure so that developers can focus on delivering the best app experience to their customers. Developers simply upload their Android or Fire OS application and select from a catalog of devices. Then, developers can configure AWS Device Farm’s built-in test suite to verify functionality with no scripting required, or they can choose from a range of popular, open-source test frameworks like Appium, Calabash, and Espresso.

“For mobile app developers, delivering high-quality apps across all of the different device and OS combinations is a major effort – it’s time consuming, complicated, and expensive. And, as new devices continue to enter the market, developers are looking for an easier way to build and test across them,” said Marco Argenti, Vice President, AWS. “AWS Device Farm gives developers a very simple and cost-effective way to test the real user experience of their apps across multiple device types at scale. And, when used along with other AWS Mobile Services like Amazon Cognito, AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS), developers have a full platform that makes it even easier to build, deploy, test, and iterate great mobile apps.”

Developers can use AWS Device Farm to test real-world customer scenarios, fine-tuning test environments with a broad set of device configurations, including language, location, app data, and app dependencies. AWS Device Farmalso makes it easy for developers to focus on the most important issues by providing comprehensive, actionable reports as tests are completed. AWS Device Farm automatically identifies and groups identical errors across multiple devices, allowing developers to quickly and efficiently analyze data from potentially hundreds of tests.

“New Relic is a product-first company and AWS Device Farm removes the logistics and expense of maintaining a test lab, which has allowed our mobile engineering team to stay more focused on our product,” said Patrick Lightbody, Vice President, Product Management at New Relic. “AWS Device Farm's simple UI has made deployment easier, enabling New Relic to more rapidly test across a wide variety of hardware and provide valuable results in minutes. WithDevice Farm, we have been able to develop New Relic Mobile into a product that can help developers build high-performance, stable mobile applications for every device.”

PikPok is a New Zealand-based publisher of fun and addictive games with 100s of millions of customers playing on smartphones, tablets, and desktops, including “Into the Dead,” “Turbo Racing League,” and “Flick Kick Football Legends.” “AWS Device Farm has been delivering great results for our games,” said Tyrone McAuley, PikPok. “With AWS Device Farm, we’ve been able to test our games incredibly efficiently and cost effectively at scale. Device-specific issues are identified rapidly, we’re testing more often, getting results faster, and our customers are seeing fewer issues. Great for both player satisfaction and the bottom line!”

Financial services companies use First Performance Global’s technology platform to connect and engage with credit card users. “In the financial technology industry, quality assurance is at the forefront of our focus,” said Sosh Howell, Director of Technology, First Performance Global. “Until now, it has been cumbersome to test how our mobile apps work across every possible device and platform combination. AWS Device Farm helps us streamline our testing procedures and allows us to provide our clients with stable and consistent products.”