Friday vendor notes: Genymotion Cloud provides virtual mobile infrastructure for developers

Genymotion, the popular Android Emulator, is going to be available hosted in the cloud. It’s mostly targeting developer use cases, but the momentum is good for the VMI concept in general.

There’s new entrant to the virtual mobile infrastructure space: Genymobile. Genymobile is targeting a different set of use cases than the other VMI vendors we covered previously, but since I’m interested in VMI in general, I still wanted to learn what they’re doing and share my notes. Earlier this spring I met with the co-founders of Genymobile, Arnaud Dupuis and Angélique Zettor, to get their take on VMI

(By the way, if you’re not familiar with the overall concept of VMI, read Brian’s intro article or watch the BriForum presentation I did with Gabe. The short version is that it’s just like VDI, except with hosted Android instead of hosted Windows.)

Genymobile’s VMI

Genymobile is the company behind Genymotion, the popular Android emulator used by many mobile developers. In April they announced a hosted version, called Genymotion Cloud.

Genymotion Cloud mostly targets non-IT and EUC use cases such as development and testing, where as you can imagine moving your Android environment from a desktop emulator (or a physical device) into the cloud gives all sorts of advantages for collaboration and automation.

Besides developers, Genymotion Cloud is also targeting sales and marketing use cases (to easily give demos of new or in-progress apps) and even helpdesks (so that agents can use an emulator to call up an Android environment with the exact same configuration as a customer’s device).

When I spoke to Genymobile they weren’t ready to dig too deep into the details of their remote protocol, broker, or server requirements; however for some ideas and background you can look at their desktop Android emulator, which leverages Oracle VM VirtualBox in the background.

What we do know is that access to Genymotion Cloud is entirely HTML5 and browser-based, with no local client for now. Most of their initial use cases involve accessing the hosted Android instances through a desktop browser, though it works from mobile devices, too.

Genymotion Cloud can pass data from local device sensors to the hosted Android instance. Naturally you can only pass through whatever sensors a web app can access, however the emulator also allows you to directly specify any sensor or device conditions you want.

Compared to other VMI

With its mostly developer-centric use cases, Genymotion Cloud’s distinctive features are integrated tools for scripting and testing, IDE integrations, support for the Android Debug Bridge, and an API to control the entire platform.

This is obviously fairly different from what other VMI vendors like Avast, Hypori, and Nubo are working on, which is to use native mobile clients, make remote Android feel as much as possible like normal local Android, and address enterprise IT security concerns.

Genymobile has received some inquiries about enterprise security use cases and they can see the potential, but that would be quite a ways down the road for them. Therefore, a full head-to-head comparison between Genymotion Cloud and other VMI products isn’t really relevant right now.

Even though Genymotion Cloud is coming from a different angle than what we usually cover, it still represents more overall effort and innovation going into the idea of making remotely-hosted Android successful.

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