Right now we only have the Sprint HTC Hero and I feel there is a need for a more recent model of android for QA testing our mobile platform. So, how do I make the case to management for QA to get a new android device for testing the mobile platform?

We have a non-native mobile app on a REST server.

  • What is the purpose for testing on Android (i.e. what are you testing)? Do you have a native app? Are you testing for the mobile browser? Oct 20, 2011 at 21:06

6 Answers 6


Don't take this the wrong way, but first make the case to us.

You say you feel there is need for one; could you elaborate on this feeling? Get into specifics, and put them into your question. After all, if you can't convince a room full of people fired up about QA best practices that you need one, you sure as heck won't be able to convince a manager who has to shell out a couple hundred bucks to do it!

  • +1, true, if you can't convince a friendly audience a hostile one will eat you up and spit you out
    – MichaelF
    Oct 21, 2011 at 17:43
  • <2020>Ahh, the days of $200 cell phones ! </2020> Apr 13, 2020 at 19:40
  • @MichaelDurrant sits around campfire with grandchildren Back in my day... we didn't need to take out a mortgage for our communicators.
    – corsiKa
    Apr 14, 2020 at 3:00

One way is to look at the past.

Point out cases where you saw differences between android models that were significant enough to require code changes. Thus, you have a strong case for suspecting that newer models might hold similar surprises.

  • +1 - and if you can associate a (negative) cost with those differences, compared to the cost of a new handset, it'll give you a stronger argument
    – DuncN
    Oct 21, 2011 at 19:27

You've got a few options here. I'll start with the "big bang" from my perspective and work down.

If you or one of your team owns a recent model android, test your mobile platform with it (preferably off-hours, unless management doesn't object to this), and record any problems you encounter in your normal issue tracking setup. Then repeat those tests on your official environment. The moment you find a problem with the new android system that doesn't exist on the official platform, you have your argument - although making it tactfully helps. Demonstrating the problem and that it doesn't exist on the official environment is one of the most powerful ways to show that you need the newer platform as well.

Another method involves a little research: finding out approximately what the most-used mobile environments are (I suspect exact numbers are a bit hard to find), and where your official environment fits into this. If you have the mobile equivalent of testing your platform in Netscape when the vast majority of users are running IE 7 or better (example pulled from a hat and may not be accurate), you have a problem which could potentially cost large amounts of time - and therefore money.

Basically, you're looking at convincing management that buying this device will be cheaper than fixing problems caused by not having access to the most recent hardware. The closer you can get to "X problems caught in-house will cover the cost of the purchase", the more likely you'll succeed.

And yes, as glowcoder says, convince us you need it as an exercise in getting everything you need to deal with lined up and nailed down.


You could try showing them this chart:


...which was taken from this page:


Sadly, the Android platform is horribly fragmented, so applications have a disturbingly high chance of working great one one phone yet failing on another. Just look at all of the complaints on the Android Market from people who could not get a popular application to work properly on their particular phone.

Until someone fixes the situation (perhaps by creating a set of accurate virtual machines for each major model of mobile device), developers will have to test their software on multiple devices. Otherwise you'll get stuck with the cost of bug reports, a subset of dissatisfied customers, and 1-star ratings in the Market from people who couldn't get your software to work.

In short, mobile-app developers need multiple test devices, because it saves money. It's almost always much, much cheaper to catch & fix bugs before they go out the door to customers.


willdye points out valid reasons why testing on the Android can be both cost and labor intensive.

So, due to the diversity of h/w and platform software and the complaints of customers there is reasonable justification to test on more than one Android device and platform.

However, you company/manager is probably looking at this from a business expense perspective. Buying hardware is not cheap, and mobile devices depreciate quickly. So, for app development shops it is rarely cost effective to continually buy new Android devices (or other mobile devices) for testing only.

But you are still left with the burden of testing your app on multiple Android devices. So you can:

  • Use a crowd-sourcing service such as uTest
  • Find a test vendor company that specializes in mobile phone testing (and has invested in multiple devices/platforms)
  • Free sourcing (seek out willing participants on various social networks (twitter, Facebook, etc) who are willing to provide feedback
  • Test on emulators and limited set of devices available and hope for the best

Here are some steps you can take to make the case to management for QA to get a new Android device for testing the mobile platform:

  1. Collect data on the current Android device's age, operating system version, and market share. Use this data to show how your current device is outdated and can no longer provide accurate feedback on the performance and user experience of the mobile app. You can also gather data on the benefits of having a newer Android device for testing, such as improved accuracy and coverage. Highlight specific features or functionalities that cannot be tested properly with the current device. For instance, if your app uses a specific sensor or camera feature that is not present on the current device, you can explain how this feature is critical for the app's functionality and how testing it on a more recent Android device would provide more accurate results.

  2. Explain to management the potential risks of not having an updated Android device for testing. These risks can include missing bugs, not providing accurate user experience feedback, and releasing a mobile app that is not fully compatible with the most recent Android OS versions.

  3. Calculate the cost of buying a new Android device and compare it to the potential costs of not having an updated device for testing, such as potential loss of customers, bad reviews, and decreased revenue. Highlight how the benefits of having an updated device for testing far outweigh the cost of buying one.

  4. Present management with different options for purchasing a new Android device, such as leasing or buying used devices, which can be cost-effective while still providing the necessary functionality for testing the mobile app.

  5. Demonstrate to management the impact of having a new Android device for testing by providing real-world examples of how having an updated device has helped other companies avoid costly mistakes and improve the quality of their mobile app.

  6. Present the business case for investing in a new device. If the current device is causing delays or errors in the testing process, this can impact the app's time-to-market and ultimately, the business's bottom line. You can explain how investing in a new device will help to ensure the quality of the app, prevent bugs, and reduce the risk of costly delays and rework.

  7. Provide data or statistics to support your case. For example, you can demonstrate the growing number of Android devices in the market and how testing on a single outdated device may not provide accurate results across all devices. You can also present data on the number of bugs that have been found due to testing limitations with the current device.

  8. Use a real-world scenario to illustrate the need for a new device. For example, you can provide an example of a bug that was missed during testing on the current device and how it impacted a user's experience or resulted in negative feedback or reviews.

  9. Provide a cost-benefit analysis to show how investing in a new device will provide a positive return on investment. You can demonstrate the potential savings in time, resources, and costs associated with finding and fixing bugs earlier in the development cycle.

By presenting data, highlighting risks, showing cost-benefit analysis, providing options, and demonstrating the impact, you can make a compelling case to management for investing in a new Android device for testing.

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