In 2016, mobile browsing passed desktop browsing as the most popular way to access the internet. That means that more people will now read your content, or buy your products on the go, on a 4 or 5-inch screen than they will by sitting down at their laptops. Because of this, mobile device testing has become an integral part of web testing that is skipped at a tester’s own peril. But developers and testers have been long weary of the price of mobile testing.
Testers have turned to Simulators and Emulators in the past to cover our needs but with the proliferation of device fragmentation, real devices have become necessary. Teams have two choices to address this problem: building in-house device labs, incorporating development and operations resources, or using cloud-testing platforms like CrossBrowserTesting. Let’s take a look at the average cost of an in-house, mobile device lab.
Cost of Devices
Our device lab will have to have a good mix of Android and iOS devices to truly represent our customer base. The average cost of the newest android phones is about $670! That’s right, you’ll have to purchase these devices new, and without a subsidized phone plan. We’ll buy 5 Android phones, and 2 Android tablets totaling $4690.
The average iOS device is a bit more expensive and comes with the added pressure of a base that upgrades immediately. The mean price of an iOS device is about $700. We’ll buy the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 7, and 7 Plus and 3 of the newest iPads. That totals $4900, bringing our hard cost of devices to $9590. That’s almost $10,000 dollars just for one of each of these devices – and that doesn’t even get you to 50% of market share for devices.
Cost of Maintenance
Often times, maintenance and upkeep are the most overlooked factors of owning your own device lab. We see about 2 hours of maintenance per device, per month. You’ll have to update browser versions, operating systems, and other software packets. The hardest part of maintaining your own device lab though is keeping up a grid for automated testing. Selenium Grid is difficult to set up and is error prone on a group of devices not properly maintained. The resource cost for developers or operations can be anywhere from $10,000 to $75,000 if a full-time employee is needed ( trust me, we have a few :)).
So you there you have it. On the short side, we’re at about $20,000 for a decent in-house device lab. On the long side, we could be looking at over six figures for a robust device lab. To see your own device lab cost, click here for our Device Lab Calculator.
To building vs. buying a device lab, check out our eBook.