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Test Your Mobile Site with DeviceAnywhere

A great option for testing mobile designs on a wide variety of devices using a desktop computer, DeviceAnywhere lets you access more than 1,500 handsets and test them as they would perform on carriers in the United States, Canada, England, Spain, Germany, France, and Brazil.

The electronic innards of all the devices are wired into long racks connected to the Internet; when you sign up for the service, you can choose a device and then use your computer mouse and keyboard to manipulate it.

For example, you can type a URL into a browser on any phone directly to see how it will display in that phone’s web browser, on its operating system, as it should be delivered by the carrier you selected.

You can also click a simulated keypad to send a Short Message Service (SMS, or text) message, and even connect a microphone and speaker to your computer to test audio-related features, such as listening to music or using the microphone to leave a short voice message.

1

Sign up for an account and then download and install the special software on your hard drive.

Visit the DeviceAnywhere website.

2

After you launch the software, you access the DeviceAnywhere service over the Internet.

Open and launch the service.

3

Scroll a list of available phones.

Sometimes devices are busy or out of commission, but many find the service to be remarkably reliable, especially considering the wide range of devices it supports.

4

When you find a device you want to use, right-click (Command-click on the Mac) to acquire and open the device.

The quickest way to “burn” your minutes is to get carried away with the cornucopia of devices that are available to play with at DeviceAnywhere. Always right-click (on a Mac, Command-click) to disconnect the device as soon as you’re done testing.

5

After a device opens on your screen, you can use your mouse to click the buttons on the image of the phone to interact as though you were pressing the keys on the phone’s keypad.

It can take a little trial-and-error to figure out how to use some devices, especially limited feature phones that you may never have used, but DeviceAnywhere includes a few special tools to help you enter URLs and interact with each phone.

6

Disconnect the device when you’re done testing on it.

The first three hours of testing are free (albeit limited to eight of the most popular devices), but after that, the testing packages can get expensive.

The time spent testing the devices is measured in 6-minute (one-tenth of an hour) increments, and the devices have a built-in failsafe mechanism that shuts them down and disconnects you if you forget and leave one running in the background for 30 minutes. Additional testing hours cost about $16 per hour, with package deals reducing the cost.

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