I first met the Chief Executive and Chief Marketing Officer of DeviceAnywhere (formerly known as MobileComplete) in a briefing late last year. I’d heard of the company quite a few times. It’s a name that comes up regularly whenever I’m talking to developers. At the briefing, I had a chance to check out the DeviceAnywhere service in detail and it blew my socks off.
If you’ve come across DeviceAnywhere before, then, you know what I’m talking about and can nod sagely with me.
If you haven’t, then just wait ’til you see it. It’s pure genius.
When I arrived at the briefing, I saw, on the table, a pizza-box-sized server — one of those that you’re used to seeing in a rack, in a data centre. Although this wasn’t just any 1U server. No, sir. There was a Blackberry inside it. Literally. I could see the Blackberry’s screen flashing away — the phone had been disassembled a little and plugged into the circuitry of the server. As though The Borg had interfaced with it.
I nodded to the DeviceAnywhere chaps, “So, you can actually control that?” I said, pointing to the Blackberry screen, “From here?” I said, pointing to the laptop they’d setup next to it.
Wow. The implications of such a facility hit home immediately. If you’re a developer and you’d like immediate access to a Blackberry, a Nokia, an iPhone… I am not talking simulation or emulation — in fact, a whole range of mobile handsets (500+), working on veritable array of international networks, you can have it remotely over the internet. One or two clicks with the Mobile Complete client software and within seconds, you’re using a real device on, a live network of choice.
Want to upload an application? Go ahead. Want to send a text message? Sure. Go for it. Each phone has it’s own account on a mobile network (you pick what you want, e.g. Blackberry on Vodafone) and you can rent the phone exclusively or for a few hours to test with. You can do absolutely anything you want to the device — when your testing/tinkering session is finished, it’ll be reset to factory default. What’s more, the pricing is eminently affordable, whether you’re developing in your bedroom or a multi-national.
They don’t just offer easy access to a whole range of mobile devices — they also offer automation, scripting and monitoring: Absolutely invaluable for most developers. Just as an example, if you’re working away testing an application on a device and it freezes, well… not only is it a bit of an arse, you also want to know *what happened* to cause the freeze, e.g. a memory overload or the like. That’s where DeviceAnywhere really comes into its own. Plus, the automation tools can save you hours and hours of time — think, for example, trying to test out performance at peak network congestion times in different time zones (when you actually want to be asleep).
It’s a really, really useful offering, DeviceAnywhere. It’s exactly what developers need when they’re developing for international markets (and, let’s face it, if you’re not, there’s a problem). It’s all very well having a Sony handset on each domestic mobile network. That’s useful. But when you get an enquiry from someone using a Nokia N95 8GB wondering why your service isn’t working, device-specific bugs can be a real annoyance.
Clearly, anyone who’s doing any sort of mobile development or marketing needs access to DeviceAnywhere.
Which is why, when I talked to DeviceAnywhere again recently, I suggested they support a Mobile Complete roadshow here at SMS Text News. I was delighted when they readily agreed.
So where’s what we’re going to do. I’d like to spread the word about the service. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to four different mobile developers in the UK — large and small. We’re going to their offices (or, in some cases, they’ll be coming to SMS Text News towers) and we’re going to give them a demo DeviceAnywhere account and see what they make of the service. We’ll write each company up and do some videos too.
Standby! The first roadshow entry will be online shortly!