Okay, so I am a student at Northwestern University working on a
project for an entrepreneurship class. I have a decent understanding
of programming and computer science, but by no means am I technical
expert. I have only dabbled in this field for a bit when I was
younger, so please excuse my ignorance on the matter.
My group is working on developing plans for a new start-up in the
mobile development industry. We are trying to address the problem of
Android fragmentation, and that fact that developers have to spend way
too much time and money testing their applications across a variety of
devices. From our understanding, developers generally have to buy the
phones that they would like to test their product on, and manually
test it on that phone (or device). This costs a lot of money for
small to mid-range app developers, and wastes a lot of time.
Basically, my group is (theoretically) trying to develop a software
product that would be delivered as a service (SaaS) for mobile app
developers. Out product would alleviate the pains of developers by
enabling them to test their products on a sophisticated emulator that
can accurately emulate a wide-range of hardware devices and use
scenarios. This emulator would theoretically be sufficiently
integrated with a wide-range of hardware so that you don't need to
actually purchase the phone to make sure it functions properly. It
would also offer a huge array of customizable use scenarios so that
developers can see how their application will function in almost any
scenario (3g, 4g, edge, wi-fi, good reception, bad reception,
switching networks, getting a call, turning it sideways etc...).
Currently, there are some emulators out there, but none of them work
that well from what I've heard. There are also a couple of companies
that operate in the same arena, namely: http://www.deviceanywhere.com/
So, I was looking for some insight from the developer community on how
this product would have to be developed and implemented in order to
work. Obviously, this is no small undertaking. We would be devoting
considerable resources to developing this product - probably close to
$300,000 - $400,000, with a 4 to 6 man development team.
So here are some specific questions, I guess.
1) Is this product feasible to make?
2) What sorts of features are developers looking for in a product like this?
3) How would we best go about getting developers to try out product?
4) Would the emulation processes be able to be outsourced into the
cloud, or would this require large amounts of in-house hardware?
5) What other considerations should we be addressing before hiring a
team of developers to do this?
6) Would any of you be interested in getting more involved with our
project, as we consider seeking funding from venture capital firms?
I truly appreciate anyone willing to answer any of these questions.
Thank you so much.