Consumers today access the Internet — and your website or mobile application — using an increasingly broad array of devices, that while perhaps not your primary target, constitute a growing market which shouldn’t be ignored. This may be expensive to do if you have to acquire all these platforms for testing against, but emulators offer a solution.
Tools such as Mobile Phone Emulator (www.mobilephoneemulator.com), allow for fast and easy testing of your site on popular Apple, HTC, LG, RIM and Samsung devices; while the Android SDK (developer.android.com/guide/developing/tools/emulator.html) provides a comprehensive Android platform emulation tool.
Developers don’t need to own or have access to targeted devices in order to perform rudimentary testing of their mobile designs, thanks to free online emulators.
The Mobile Safari browser used on the iPhone and iPad is important to cater to, with tools such as the desktop Safari browser able to help developers — via the use of custom useragents to display web pages. Run Safari, then select Edit > Preferences > Advanced. Check the box labeled “Show Develop Menu in menu bar.” A link for “Develop” should now appear in Safari’s browser menu. Choose Develop > User Agent to select from such platforms as Safari, Safari iOS with versions for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad), Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera and more. Other tools are also available under the Develop tab.
One set of emulators that is coordinated, easy to use and supportive of touch screen devices, is the interlinked “-emulator.org” series; including iphone-emulator.org, ipademulator.org, android-emulator.org, blackberry-emulator.org and tablet-emulator.org.
However you do it, testing your designs and technology across as broad a range of platforms as possible is a key to maximizing your return on developmental investments.