You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience. Lets f8 Developers Test Apps On A Simulated Low-Bandwidth Network

TechCrunch logo TechCrunch 1/05/2014 Josh Constine

Until now, has been about connecting the world without much to touch. But today at , Facebook and Ericsson gave its first physical incarnation with a hands-on demo of its . It lets developers test out their apps on a simulated 2.5G mobile network similar to what’s available in the developing world so they can discover bugs that arise from weak connectivity.

between Facebook and six telecom industry giants to connect the remaining 5 billion Earth citizens to the Internet. Through whitepapers and keynotes, Mark Zuckerberg has described how Facebook plans to use , data compression, and more to make the web affordable for everyone. Much of these plans are years away from fruition, though.

Then at Mobile World Congress in February and today launched its maiden public trial. Soon,  it will have a full-time home at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park where outside developers can sign up for testing time.

A crowd of developers at f8 test how their apps would perform in countries with weaker conectivity like Nigeria

Either today or at the real lab, developers can load their apps onto phones running a special Ericsson-powered Innovation Lab SIM card. They can then stress test their apps under a variety of network connectivity scenarios, like extremely slow data transfers or connections that go in and out. Often times developers find their apps break when they don’t have a stable LTE connection.

That’s what happened to several tech giants when they tested their apps at an Innovation Lab hackathon at Ericsson’s Bay Area headquarters in January. A Facebook spokesperson told me Twitter, eBay, Yahoo, and Spotify all saw their apps break when on a simulated developing world network.

Thankfully, isn’t just trying to embarrass developers. The , here at f8 and at 1 Hacker Way, is staffed by Facebook and Ericsson engineers that can help devs fix their broken apps.

Connectivity initiatives like and Google’s Project Loon are bringing more of the world online. That means developers can’t afford to merely test their apps at home. If the Innovation Lab succeeds, it could make building a globe-ready app require a lot fewer plane tickets.

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