Our company hopes to roll out support for mobile devices this year. We plan to go with a pure-browser solution. I am working on a strategy for testing our web application's mobile support. We will, of course, test with actual mobile devices. In addition to that, we may also test with the Android emulator.

One of our developers has read that the Android emulator is not worth the trouble because bugs found on the emulator cannot necessarily be reproduced on real devices.

Does anyone here have experience, either as a developer or as a tester, with testing web applications using the Android emulator? If so, are bugs found on the emulator more likely than not to be legitimate bugs that can be reproduced on actual devices?

(There are alternative browsers you can download for Android, but I am interested specifically in experiences with the Android emulator's "native" browser.)


I have never come across a defect which persists in android emulator and not on real device. This has been my experience with both web and android app testing on android emulator 4.0 and above. Though I can not firmly say that there are no discrepancies between emulator and real device but if cite some examples on, then you may receive better responses.

One of our developers has read that the Android emulator is not worth the trouble because bugs found on the emulator cannot necessarily be reproduced on real devices.

  • Thank you. How much Android testing have you done? – user246 Jul 6 '12 at 12:54
  • @user246 that's an interesting question. You seem to be insinuating that testing more mobile products on more android platform may result in what you asked in this question. Are not you? I recall at least 3 products. – Tarun Jul 8 '12 at 16:52
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    I am glad my question was interesting. (When I pitch this idea to the developer I mentioned, I expect him to ask me the same thing.) In this case, the opinion of someone with little experience is not as compelling as that of someone with lots of experience. If you had said you had only used the emulator for one day on one project, I would have discounted your answer. – user246 Jul 8 '12 at 21:34
  • can not live with out testing on android :) our core products is to work on android. And please do keep us posted if you find any discrepancies b/w emulator and real android device. – Tarun Jul 10 '12 at 5:36

I have done a vast amount of testing on Android devices and on the Emulator. There is a disparity between the emulator and real devices when it comes to networking. There are .apk add-ons for the emulator that you can install to help the network functionality, which brings it closer to being reliable.

Besides network connectivity, the emulator is accurate for about 97% of the issues it will displays vs. what the actual device will display.

Also don't forget the emulator would need to be set up for each different screen resolution/dpi/OS version, as Android is not 100% compatible across all devices as they would like developers to believe.


I have a moderate amount of time spent with the emulator, but rarely use it for testing. My experience has been mostly with games and other performance intensive applications. Many times the emulator led to false positives for me in regard performance, or led to race conditions that could not be reproduced on a device.

But, what little work I have done for web content for Android, the emulator was incredibly helpful. Getting a device to route through a proxy is a nightmare on Android, but the emulator makes it easy.

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