Using the Samsung Remote Test Lab you can easily see what your app will look like on any of the available Samsung devices offered on the Remote Test Lab site.
Getting started with the Samsung RTL
To use this service you will have to have a Samsung developer account but don't worry if you don't, it's free to sign up and there are no fees or charges, it's completely free! Simply go to the Samsung Remote Test Lab Site and sign up. Once you are signed up (or signed in). You'll see this screen with the devices you are allowed to access. Also notice that you have a certain number of credits allotted to you. The way these work is that each hour you want to reserve a device for costs 4 credits. You are allotted a certain number per day to use and once you go through them all, you are not allowed to reserve anymore devices until the next day.
Once you are here, you can see if your browser meets the requirements to run the remote devices. If your browser meets the requirements, you are free to start using the service. However if your browser does not meet the requirements, there are steps you must take before using the remote devices and luckily, samsung provides links to where you can get the necessary pieces to get up and running. Here is what each scenario looks like.
NOTE: You may have to click the Details drop-down menu to see exactly why your browser is failing this test.
The problem that existed in the failure here is that there is no 64-bit version of Google Chrome for the Mac and the required java doesn't run on 32-bit browsers. If you are running the RTL on a mac, your best bet is to use Safari. On Windows, IEv7+ is sufficient.
Choosing a Device
Now that you have your Samsung developer account and you have verified that your browser is sufficient to run the remote test devices, it's time to choose which device you are going to test on. You must chose the Android release, the Device Model, and for how long you want to reserve the device. For this example I chose a Galaxy Note 8.0 running Android 4.2.2. After selecting all the attributes for your virtual device, you will be prompted to confirm them and start the reservation.
Using Your Remote Device
After you verify your remote device's settings and click start, a .jnlp file will be downloaded to your computer. Simply double click this file in your browser to start the remote device.
If you get a security warning, accept the terms and run the application. Once you tell the application to run it will start the remote device and initiate the loading process on your machine. You should see something like this as it loads the device screen. Once it's loaded it should simple look like the android device you chose.
|Device Loading||Device Loaded, Ready to Use|
Installing Your App Onto the Remote Device.
Once your device is up and running you will have a fully functioning Samsung Android device that you can play around with and even install apps on in order to see how your app would look on that particular device. To install an app on the device simply right-click the device itself and click Manage -> Files. Doing this will open up the window below and allow you to transfer file to and from the device. In this example I am transfer the .apk I created in RhoStudio of our most basic rhodes app. The only change I made is that the app will display the platform on which it is running. In this image, the file is in transfer to the device. Note: You may experience some lag when working with the remote device. This is completely normal so it's nothing to be concerned about.
Once your .apk is on the device you simply install it as you would any other app on an android device: Go into the file browser of the device and click the .apk file. Once your app is installed you should find it in the app drawer with all the other apps and you run it just the same: click on the app icon.
|App in app drawer||App started on remote device|
One downside to using the remote test lab is, while you DO have access to the hardware on the device, it may not necessarily be useful to you. For instance, below is a screenshot of the device's camera app running on the remote device. From here on these are all shown on a Samsung Galaxy S4 just for a bit of difference.
And here is what the front-facing camera sees:
Of course this is what is expected since we know that these are simply devices hooked up in some server farm somewhere. Keep in mind, these are not the only things that each device will see. Different device that are in different regions will have different camera angles. For instance, this one in the UK:
Which is also not really that useful but better than a black screen.
The accelerometer is also pretty much useless since the devices are not going to be moving.
Besides WiFi, you are stuck with whatever service the device has access to. For a lot of these devices that means Edge or 2G. Not all of them are within 3G or 4G networks.
All in all this is a great tool for debugging your views on different devices since applications like RhoSimulator, while most of the time are accurate, will not necessarily show you exactly what your app will look like on every device. It's also very convenient not having to clutter up your office with devices just so you can tell how your app will look or perform on a given Samsung device.
Thank you for reading my rundown on the use of the Samsung Remote Test Lab and I hope is is useful to you in your app development cycle.