If you are Windows Phone developer you know that you can test your Windows Phone app using Visual Studio and Emulator for Windows Phone that come within Windows Phone SDK. On the other hand, it is strongly advisable that you use real device to test your Windows Phone app. But imagine the situation that you don’t have Visual Studio installed (one of the reason may be that you need really good hardware which support Windows Phone Emulator) or you don’t have real Windows Phone device. What then? If you are one of them, do you need to quit thinking about Windows Phone development. The answer is NO, thanks to Nokia.
Namely, as you probably know, Microsoft recently published Web tool, Windows Phone App Studio which can help you to create Windows Phone app without coding. You can create Windows Phone app using templates or you can create app from the beginning as a empty app. The final result is modern looking app which use panorama controls. From App Studio you can generate publish package (XAP file). But, what you can’t do with this tool is to test your newly created app. If you don’t have Visual Studio 2012 and don’t have device, you can’t test your app at all. Oh, yes, you can thanks to Nokia Developer Remote Device Access.
Nokia’s support to Windows Phone developer’s community is on of the biggest support that you can imagine in developers world. I strongly advice that you go to http://developer.nokia.com/ and register as Nokia developer member. On their web site you can find a lot of useful resources from fantastic wiki pages, to forums and other interesting stuff such as constantly new competitions (at the moment, Nokia Create is actual). What is not easy to find is Remote Device Access service.
REMOTE DEVICE ACCESS SERVICE
What is Remote Device Access service (RDA) and what you can do with it?
RDA is developers web-based remote access to various Nokia Windows Phone 8 devices. Access is allowed for all Nokia Developer members and is free of charge. Yes, this mean that you can test your Windows Phone apps on real device. As it is web tool only that you need is to register as Nokia Developer and start using devices. Starting page for RDA:
When you do login you can see all the device that is available to you.
If you want to use device you need to use reservation for selected device. Limitation is 8 hours for one day per developer (you can have more reservations simultaneously). Only you need is to hover with mouse over device in your browser and you can make reservations for desired amount of time from 15 minutes to 3 hours. You can start to use device immediately or you can make late reservations.
Moreover, these devices have SIM card so you can receive calls and text/sms messages on devices but you can’t make calls and message from device. With this you can test incoming interruptions within your apps. Many of the devices are also WLAN-enabled. Use the GRPS and WLAN access points to test data services.
What is really interesting is that Nokia recently enable testing NFC functionality with two Nokia Lumia 820’s. The devices are marked as “NFC enabled” in the device list.
USING REMOTE DEVICE ACCESS
To use RDA service only you need is Web Browser. Please don’t expect fast response from this web tool. When you click you need to wait for some time to get respond.
Using this tool is self explanatory. If you want to install Windows Phone app use Install Software button (yellow cube with plus sign)
Five minutes before your reservations expired you’ll get notification:
There are some limitations that you need to consider when using RDA and this is not the final list:
- Slow response from the device
You can’t hear any sound produced by the phone but you can use the full range of sound features
Device is fixed so to get image you need to use front camera
You can’t test for changes in screen orientation triggered by movement of the phone
If you receive GPS coordinate it will be for a fixed location
Nokia Developer Remote Device Access Service is perfect way to test your Windows Phone apps on various Windows Phone 8 devices. And it is free of charge for Nokia Developer members.