Israel’s hairy high-tech fairies

TestFairy helps app developers assess how their product performs on thousands of different types of Android mobile devices.

Some kids dream of tooth fairies. App developers would probably prefer an app fairy –– one that shows how their apps are functioning on thousands of Android-enabled devices around the world.

Well, a couple of app fairies from Israel are coming to save the day. These Middle Eastern men may be hairier than what one would expect in a fairy, but their aim is to make dreams come true. With TestFairy , they hope to make fairy-tale endings for both startup and established app makers.

According to CEO Yair Bar-On, “TestFairy helps Android developers do better testing. When you test your app with the crowd, your co-workers, paid testers, your friends — in all these cases they are not in your office. They can be in India or Bulgaria and you don’t see what they do.

“We provide a video and record everything that happens. Every test is recorded from any device that the test is taking place on. The user doesn’t need to install any additional software. We add our code into the app from our server,” Bar-On tells ISRAEL21c.

How’s your app doing?

How’s your app doing?

What are developers interested to know? How your app works and looks on different Android devices, for one.

Bar-On tells the story: “There is a big problem in the Android world. It is fragmented. There is an insane amount of Android devices on the market ––11,800 [types], while with the iPhone, you have iPhone 4 or 5 or 5c. With Android, there are thousands because Google gives out the code to thousands of manufacturers for free.”

How your app behaves on these thousands of devices is a crapshoot. Some developers may go out and buy some phone samples for checking their work, but even the richest labs usually don’t buy more than 20 devices, Bar-On explains.

TestFairy flies in at this point. When the app code is developed, the developer uploads the APK file to TestFairy. As the crowd is testing how the app behaves, TestFairy spits out valuable feedback as well as data on battery usage, interface, phone signal, crash logs and the amount of CPU used by the app.

“The key selling points are for the developer. They don’t need to change the app to test it. We know how to open the app and close it back up, like in surgery. We put implants into the app so it works the way we want it to work,” Bar-On says.

It takes one to know one

TestFairy already has about 1,000 clients and offers packages geared to different sizes of companies so they get a continuous integrated environment, says Bar-On.

He hopes it will democratize the web, and improve the chances that devices even in emerging markets will be connected to new apps. “We see more and more developers finding it hard to develop for all devices, so they give up on some. They say, ‘Well I don’t have it in my lab, so I am going to block this device.’

Test Fairy report.

Test Fairy report.

“This way you lose markets and losing a market share is not a good thing for a startup. You need to have as many users as possible,” says Bar-On, who previously founded GroupShot, which has seen two million downloads to date.

His new baby, TestFairy, was demonstrated at the Apps World Conference in San Francisco in February.

The self-funded company, founded in 2013 and comprised of a team of five in Givat Shmuel, is currently looking to raise money.

Getting the bugs out

Yosi Taguri, an Israeli entrepreneur, uses TestFairy. “We have three companies incubating and two of them are in Android, and it helps us to deal with the fragmentation issue of the Android market,” he tells ISRAEL21c.

“When you develop an app for Android, you come up with hundreds of thousands of devices to thousands of configurations to different hardware configurations, and it’s a big mess. 

“One of the best things with TestFairy is the ability to see the data and the different configurations to understand what device has issues with your app. This allows you to give better service to your customers at the end of the day.

“You simply give them your compiled code, your APK, and they know how to look into it automatically. It doesn’t take more than a second,” Taguri explains. “Everyone has bugs, but knowing you have an issue with a certain device and configuration is priceless. …You can see the matrix of all the services and where you have issues and where you do not.”

For more about TestFairy, see the company website: http://www.testfairy.com/

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About Karin Kloosterman

Karin Kloosterman is an award-winning environment news publisher who founded Green Prophet (www.greenprophet.com) to connect North Americans to issues that matter in the Middle East. She is the CEO of the Internet of Things startup flux, a company that is making social grow tools for urban farmers everywhere (www.fluxiot.com). Karin can be reached at karin (at) fluxiot.com.