Mobile Emulators & Simulators: The Ultimate Guide

The most useful tools for mobile web are emulators and simulators. In Chapter 4 of Programming the Mobile Web I’ve made an extensive description and installation guideline for creating a desktop mobile testing environment. And in Chapter 13, I’ve also reviewed other solutions for mobile testing, including four device remote lab solutions.

I’ve mixed all this information to create this ultimate guide to 37 download resources for hundreds of emulators and simulators. Enjoy!

This list includes content from Programming the Mobile Web book with frequent updated information & links.

List of mobile and tablet emulators for mobile web design & development testing
Name Official Platform Type Browser testing Native testing Compatibility

iOS Simulator

Official iOS Simulator Safari only Objective-C MacOS
Download3.7Gb (login required) Devices: iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch, iPhone 4, iPad (Tablet)
Comes with XCode and Native SDK. You can’t emulate Accelerometer/Gyroscope (DeviceMotion API). You can’t emulate URI-schemes, such as click-to-call. As a Simulator, it doesn’t provide an AppStore; you can’t install other browsers for testing, such as Opera Mini or Skyfire.

Android Emulator

Official Android Emulator Android Browser – others Java WindowsLinux
Download20Mb and 60Mb per platform package Devices: Generic devices using 1.1, 1.5, 1.6, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.0 O.S. platform
We need to download images of the platforms after downloading the SDK. Look at Chapter 4 of the book for details. After downloading the platform, you can install Firefox, Opera Mini, Opera Mobile, Skyfire and UCWEB in your Android emulator for testing. You can download Motorola, Samsung and Nook add-ons (see below). Now it includes tablet support in HoneyComb (3.0)

HP webOS Emulator

Official webOS Virtual Machine webOS Browser JavaScript – C++ WindowsLinux
Download260Mb Devices: Palm Pre, Palm Pixi, Palm Pixi Plus
Comes with SDK

Samsung Galaxy Tab Add-on

Official Android Add-on Android Browser – others Java WindowsLinux
Download52Mb Devices: Samsung Galaxy Tab (Tablet)
Requires Android SDK with 2.2 package. The download is done using the Android 2.3 SDK searching for third-party packages.

Motorola Xoom Add-on

Official Android Add-on Android Browser – others Java WindowsLinux
Download2Mb Devices: Motorola Xoom (Tablet)
Requires Android SDK with 3.0 package. It’s only a skin for the emulator.

Nokia Symbian Emulators

Official Symbian Emulator S60 Browser – others Java ME / WRT webapps / C++ Windows
Download500-750Mb each (requires login) Devices: All Symbian devicesincluding: 3rd edition FP2 (such as Nokia N96), 5th edition (such as Nokia 5800 XpressMusic), Symbian^3 (such as N8) and an specific N97 emulator
Large download and installation. You need to check previous requirements to be installed first. You can install Opera Mini, Opera Mobile, Bolt Browser and UCWEB on Symbian emulators.

Nokia Series 40 Emulators

Official Nokia OS Emulator Nokia Browser – others Java ME / Flash Lite Windows
Download30-100Mb each

(requires login)

Devices: All devices including: 2nd edition, 3rd edition, 3rd edition FP1, 3rd edition FP2, 5th edition, 5th edition FP1, 5th edition FP1 Lite, 6th edition, 6th edition FP1
You can install Opera Mini, UCWEB, Bolt Browser and OVI Browser Beta on Series 40 emulators.

Motorola Add-ons SDK for Android

Official Android Add-on Android Browser – others WindowsLinux
Download30-60Mb each device Devices: Motorola: Atrix, Bravo, Cliq 2, Dext, Milestone, BackFlip, Devour, Qrty, i1, Droid2, Droid X, Flipout, Defy, Flipside, Cliq, Citrus, others
Requires Android Emulator. There are 20 different downloads.

BlackBerry Simulators

Official RIM OS Emulator RIM Browser – others Java Windows
Download50-170Mb each

Requires login

Devices: 35 different models including series Bold, Curve, Pearl, Storm, Storm2, Style, Torch & Tour. Every model has different emulators combining OS version and operator firmware.
For web browsing testing you need to install and open a proxy service. See Chapter 4 for a full compatibility table and installation guide. You can install Opera Mini and Bolt Browser on BlackBerry emulators.

BlackBerry PlayBook Simulator

Official Tablet OS Virtual Machine Internal Browser Adobe AIR MacWindows
Download105Mb

Requires login

Devices: BlackBerry PlayBook (tablet)
HTML5 browser support. Adobe AIR & Packaged HTML5 WebWorkers app support.

Windows Phone 7 Simulator

Official Windows Phone Emulator Internet Explorer Silverlight Windows
Download (Visual Studio Express included)500Mb Devices: Generic Windows Phone 7
Comes with Visual Studio Express (free version) or as an add-in for commercial versions

Sony Ericsson SDK for Android

Official Android Add-on Android Browser – others MacWindowsLinux
Download50Mb Devices: Sony Ericsson Xperia X10
Requires Android Emulator.

Nook SDK for Android

Official Android Add-on Android Browser – others MacWindowsLinux
Download130Mb

Requires Login

Devices: Barnes & Noble Nook Color
Requires Android Emulator.

Opera Mobile Emulator

Official Symbian / Android / Windows Simulator Opera Mobile No native MacWindowsLinux
Download15-25Mb Devices: Multiple devices & OS emulation support
You can also use emulators (Symbian, Android) and install the real Opera Mobile inside.

Opera Mini Simulator

Official Many Online emulator Opera Mini No native MacWindowsLinux
Use OnlineUse online v.4 Devices: Generic Java device – No Opera Mini for iOS emulation
You can also use emulators (Symbian, Android, Java, BlackBerry) and install the real Opera Mini inside.

Firefox for Mobile Simulator

Official Generic Engine Simulator Firefox Mobile No native MacWindowsLinux
Download20Mb Devices: Multiple devices – beta version.
You can also use emulators (Android) and install the real Firefox Mobile inside. The desktop simulator is very basic and it’s in beta state.

Qt Simulator

Official Symbian & Maemo Simulator No Browser support Qt MacWindowsLinux
Download500-900Mb Devices: Maemo (such as Nokia N900), Symbian Touch (such as Nokia N8) and Symbian non-touch (such as Nokie E71)
It does not support web browsing testing. You can test and create QtWebKit apps (hybrids) with HTML5 and CSS3.

Nokia Web SDK Simulator

Official Symbian & Maemo Simulator Webapp testing WRT and webapps MacWindowsLinux
Download200Mb

Requires Login

Devices: Maemo (such as Nokia N900), Symbian Touch (such as Nokia N8) and Symbian non-touch (such as Nokie E71)
It does not support direct web browsing testing. You can test and create webapps & widgets.

PhoneGap Simulator

3rd-party Generic Simulator WebKit-based PhoneGap hybrid testing MacWindowsLinux
Download15Mb Devices: Apple iPhone, Generic Android, and others
The rendering engine is a simulation. You can use it for hybrid PhoneGap testing or for simple WebKit-based browser simulation.

Adobe Device Central CS5

3rd party Several Simulator Generic browser support Flash MacWindows
Included with Creative Suite (commercial) Devices: Device Library with more than 100 devices.
The web browsing support up to CS5 version is very basic (just a sized webkit browser for every device) and non-accurate.

Bada Simulator

Official Bada OS Simulator No Browser Support Bada C Windows
Download200/400Mb

Requires Login

Devices: Maemo (such as Nokia N900), Symbian Touch (such as Nokia N8) and Symbian non-touch (such as Nokie E71)
It does not support direct web browsing testing. You can test and create webapps & widgets.

Garnet Emulator

Official Garnet OS (formerly Palm OS) Emulator NetFront Garnet MacWindowsLinux
Download200/400Mb Devices: Old Palm OS devices

Windows Mobile 6 Emulator

Official Windows Mobile Emulator Internet Explorer .NET / C++ Windows
Download600Mb Devices: Generic Windows Mobile Devices – Standard and Professional versions
* This emulator requires special attention for using the browser. Look at chapter 4 of Programming the Mobile Web for detailed instructions on how to use it. You can install Opera Mobile and Opera Mini inside the emulator.

Windows Mobile 6.5 Emulator Images

Official Windows Mobile Add-on Internet Explorer .NET / C++ Windows
Download250Mb Devices: Generic Windows Mobile Devices – Standard and Professional versions
Requires Windows Mobile 6 SDK

Windows Mobile 6.1 Emulator Images

Official Windows Mobile Add-on Internet Explorer .NET / C++ Windows
Download400Mb Devices: Generic Windows Mobile Devices – Standard and Professional versions
Requires Windows Mobile 6 SDK

Device Emulator with Windows Mobile 5

Official Windows Mobile Emulator Internet Explorer .NET / C++ Windows
Download60Mb Devices: Generic Windows Mobile Devices – Standard and Professional versions
* This emulator requires special attention for using the browser. Look at chapter 4 of Programming the Mobile Web for detailed instructions on how to use it.

i-mode HTML Simulator

Official Native Simulator i-Mode Browser (Japan) No native Windows
Download38Mb Devices: Generic Windows Mobile Devices – Standard and Professional versions
Simulator for Japanese’s i-mode browsers

MITE 2.0

3rd-party Generic Simulator Generic No native Windows
Download75Mb

Requires login

Devices: Generic Browser Testing with a library of hundreds of devices.
The rendering engine is not real. This tool simulates network requests as some mobile device and it renders the response on a generic webkit with some customization per device.

Sony Ericsson SDK for Windows Mobile 6.1

Official Windows Mobile Add-on Internet Explorer .NET / C++ Windows
Download7Mb Devices: Sony Ericsson Xperia X1
Requires Windows Mobile SDK

Samsung Device Emulator Skins for Windows Mobile

Official Samsung Add-on Internet Explorer .NET / C++ Windows
Download7Mb Devices: GT-B7300 Omnia Lite, GT-B7330 Omnia Pro, GT-B7620 Armani, GT-I8000 Omnia II, SPH-i350 Intrepid
Requires Windows Mobile SDK

Sony Ericsson PhoneGap Simulator

Official Generic Simulator PhoneGap apps PhoneGap hybrids Windows
Download2Mb Devices: Generic Android (such as Xperia X10) and Symbian (such as Satio)
Requires Windows Mobile SDK

LG SDK for the Java Platform

Official LG Simulator No Browser Support Java ME Windows
Download60-100Mb Devices: All propietary-OS LG devices
Only for Java ME testing

Sony Ericsson SDK for the Java Platform

Official LG Simulator No Browser Support Java ME Windows
Download120Mb Devices: All propietary-OS Sony Ericsson devices
Only for Java ME testing

Samsung Java SDK

Official Samsung Simulator No Browser Support Java ME Windows
Download150Mb

Requires login

Devices: All propietary-OS Samsung devices
Only for Java ME testing

Samsung Mobile Widget Emulator

Official Samsung Simulator Only Widgets Widgets Windows
Download150Mb

Requires login

Devices: All propietary-OS, Symbian and Windows Mobile Samsung devices
Only for widget testing

Motorola Java ME SDKs

Official Motorola Simulator No Browser Support Java ME Windows
Download40-150Mb each

Requires login

Devices: All propietary-OS Motorola devices
Only for Java ME testing

WAC Emulator

3rd-party Several Simulator Only Widgets Widgets MacWindowsLinux
Download150Mb each

 

Devices: Generic Widget platform
Only for widget testing

Brew SDK

Official Brew Simulator Basic browser Flash / C++ Windows
Download200Mb Devices: Generic BREW platform

 

 

Installation and Usage Guide


In Chapter 3 there is an installation and usage guide for mobile web emulators, including how to open local files, keyboard shorcuts and proxy configuration. On Chapter 13 you will find more information on debugging and testing apps using emulators, virtual labs and other tools.

Emulators and Simulators

Generally speaking, an emulator is a piece of software that translates compiled code from an original architecture to the platform where it is running, such as the great MAME. In the mobile development world, a device emulator is a desktop application that emulates mobile device hardware and operating systems, allowing us to test and debug our applications and see how they are working. There are also operating system emulators that don’t represent any real device hardware but rather the operating system as a whole. These exist for Windows Mobile and Android.

On the other hand, a simulator is a less complex application that simulates some of the behavior of a device, but does not emulate hardware and does not work over the real operating system. These tools are simpler and less useful than emulators. A simulator may be created by the device manufacturer or by some other company offering a simulation environment for developers.

If you want to download every emulator on this list you will need at least one MacOS desktop and one Windows desktop, downloading at least 25Gb of applications.

Do you know any other emulator? Leave it in the comments area

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Comments, ideas, questions?

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  1. #1 written by Nicholas December 17th, 2010 at 19:09

    Great work!! Do you know any iPhone simulator for Windows?

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  2. #2 written by Steve Souders December 17th, 2010 at 23:10

    Awesome resource list. What about test frameworks that give you remote access to REAL devices? Keynote’s MDPI and Device Anywhere for example.

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  3. #3 written by firt December 20th, 2010 at 17:01

    Thanks Steve! I’m planning a post about remote labs, like DeviceAnywhere, there are at least five remote labs, including two free ones.

    I believe that for the first testing or the while-developing testing, emulators & simulators are a better & simpler solutions. I agree that they are not as great as mobile remote labs for final real testing.

    Performance and WPO are a challenge with emulators, remote labs and real devices. I will talk about that soon; maybe on next Velocity? ;-)

    @ Steve Souders

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  4. #4 written by Maurice December 30th, 2010 at 10:41

    The Qt Simulator (as included in the Nokia Qt SDK) does not require any login. Otherwise a good and comprehensive list.

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  5. #5 written by Joseph K January 3rd, 2011 at 18:55

    Do you know a ‘online’ Blackberry browser emulator ? like the Opera mini demo ? http://demo.opera-mini.net/

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  6. #6 written by Jon Arne Sæterås January 7th, 2011 at 15:18

    You are missing Firefox Mobile http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/mobile/download/. available for win,mac,lin.

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  7. #7 written by dstorey January 7th, 2011 at 23:25

    @Joseph: I’m not sure about Blackberry emulators, but the Mini demo you link to seems to not be official, and is an older version of Mini. The Opera 5 official version is http://www.opera.com/mobile/demo/ and the older version (Opera Mini 4.2)is http://www.opera.com/mobile/demo/?ver=4

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  8. #8 written by Michael Shewzov January 8th, 2011 at 10:21

    BlackBerry Simulators are placed here: http://us.blackberry.com/developers/resources/simulators.jsp

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  9. #9 written by Raggi January 8th, 2011 at 10:41

    I didn’t find microemulator for javame here
    http://www.microemu.org/
    It’s “resizable” skin is very useful in testing scalable interfaces

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  10. #10 written by firt January 8th, 2011 at 17:41

    Thanks for all the comments and broken link reports! I’ve updated links and added Windows Phone 7 and Firefox Mobile to the list.

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  11. #11 written by rsanchez1 January 15th, 2011 at 21:27

    The nice thing about the webOS emulator is that it features a host mode, which allows you to run apps, including the web browser app, in your favorite webkit-based desktop browser. Since the webOS browser is very similar to the browsers shipped with iOS and Android, you can do mobile web development for the three platforms using traditional desktop web development debug tools, such as the webkit inspector included with Google Chrome.

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  12. #12 written by Dan Silivestru February 16th, 2011 at 14:41

    Great work on putting this list together. Very helpful!

    I would like to add one emulator/simulator for your consideration.

    the Ripple emulator, tailored for HTML5 mobile apps, specifically for PhoneGap, WAC, and the mobile Web. Ripple runs in the browser as an extension and is a very light install.

    http://ripple.tinyhippos.com

    You can see some short demo videos here:

    http://youtube.com/tinyhippos

    Thanks again for the great content :-)

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  13. #13 written by Thapelo Makhoba February 26th, 2011 at 12:15

    For any ipod development on a windows machine you would have to emulate mac then install the iphone sdk i doubt apple will ever make it available for windows

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  14. #14 written by Terence Eden March 14th, 2011 at 12:19

    FYI, the WAC emulator is now at http://www.wacapps.net/web/portal/sdk and no longer requires a login.
    (the existing link still works)

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  15. #15 written by Tami April 30th, 2011 at 20:36

    Is any Iphone simulator for windows??

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  16. #16 written by Ricky June 10th, 2011 at 17:58

    can i get the emulator for blackberry without login??

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  17. #17 written by Rowena November 22nd, 2011 at 03:34

    I’m looking for something I can put up on a website so visitors can enter their web address and see how it will appear on a mobile phone. Can you suggest what the best way to go about that is?

    Thanks

    Rowena

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  18. #18 written by Colin November 22nd, 2011 at 10:56

    Ref Rowena’s question.

    I am also looking for a proper web based simulator. EVRRY one I have looked only shows the top corner of the full web page, not the full page width (with no scrolling), as it would be in a smart phone (before the user manually zooms or scrolls).

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    ColinK

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  19. #19 written by mark December 7th, 2011 at 15:17

    I support some internal corporate applications, and we have recently developed a custom app for ipad, which has integrations into other internal tools, etc, hopefully allowing our sales people to be more productive while mobile.

    As it relates to support, I’m looking to substitute an emulator for actual iPads for my team-members.

    My question is can these emulators download and run apps from the app store like an actual device? The comments and examples all seem to be regarding emulating a website via safari.

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  20. #20 written by Federico Bianchi December 18th, 2011 at 22:23

    Actually, there are some simulators for the iOS devices’ WebKit around, but none of the ones I have seen so far (not even Apple’s one, to date by far the best of the lot) is entirely satisfactory.

    Assuming a Windows host, there is a mostly workable “iOS Web Browser Simulator” (derived from an earlier AIR application called iBBdemo2) which can be found at http://electricplum.com/products.html – I have tried only the Light (freeware) version, though.

    Another extremely interesting project is iEmu, an in-progress variant of the well-known QEMU engine aiming to run the full iOS firmware; its status can be tracked at the http://www.iemu.org/index.php/IEmu_Development_Status URI.

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  21. #21 written by Beno December 23rd, 2011 at 11:21

    Good job for all the post.
    Is there any emulator for Samsung Galaxy S+, I am testing between the S and the S+

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  22. #22 written by Guido Jansen January 12th, 2012 at 10:16

    The Android Emulator has Versions 3.1, 3.2, and 4.0 now

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  23. #23 written by Colin January 23rd, 2012 at 13:11

    Hi,

    We have developed an online mobile emulator that enables you to test the display of any website in many cell phones.

    Most of settings are honored : dimensions, resolutions, user agent, behavior, features…

    Don’t hesitate. It’s free !!!

    Colin.

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  24. #24 written by Paul Jones February 9th, 2012 at 12:21

    very well done with your research, i am however curious as to whether you have actually used all of these emulators? or is this just purely research as to what exactly is available? with no reviews??

    really interested, if you have another post regarding the quality of these emulators / simulators, please let me know?

    thanks Paul

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  25. #25 written by firt February 9th, 2012 at 12:57

    Paul, I’ve used and tried every emulator. There is a full review in my book Programming the Mobile Web; in fact, it’s a whole chapter

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  26. #26 written by Ian Devlin May 24th, 2012 at 11:24

    Nice list there but I’ve managed to get a browser running in the Bada Emulator which allows you to directly test web sites/applications.

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  27. #27 written by firt May 24th, 2012 at 12:09

    Hi Ian, can you share with us how did you managed to get a browser running in the Bada Emulator?

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  28. #28 written by N Studios August 16th, 2012 at 22:18

    @Thapelo Makhoba
    If you have VirtualBox, the latest version of OS X I could find is OS X 10.7.3, and it is very hard, if not impossible, to upgrade to 10.7.4 to run Xcode without the upgrade completely failing.

    If you have the free version of VMWare, you need to buy the full version of it in order to start your Mac VM. I found OS X 10.7.4 for VMWare, which is what the next-to-most recent version of Xcode needs to run.

    If you bought the full version of VMWare, all you need is the OS X 10.7.4 file that I found and you should be all set. Just follow the instructions in the video at this link, though. People who didn’t have been known to screw up the VM in many ways. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWivc2XcpP8

    Hope this helps!

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  29. #29 written by Lee Binder August 26th, 2012 at 06:52

    thank you Max (and numerous contributors). Any thoughts about browserstack.com? How do they fit into the picture?

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  30. #30 written by firt August 26th, 2012 at 20:32

    Lee, BrowserStack is a cloud-based service where you can use this same emulators remotely

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  31. #31 written by Ravichandran October 1st, 2012 at 16:22

    Is there any emulators other than Windows Emulator for Windows OS Mobile testing?

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  32. #32 written by Mary November 8th, 2012 at 17:25

    Hi,
    First let me say that I’m purchasing both books today and look forward to reading. Secondly, I work for a large retailer that launched our mobile site in 2011 and we are struggling with testing the site hence the emulator research. If you had to pick one emulator out of your list, what would be your first top 3 choices?

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  33. #33 written by firt November 8th, 2012 at 17:28

    Mary, usually with emulators you don’t have a choice. You pick the ones you need based on your current target group; for example, if you are retailer you can check stats on your own country at http://gs.statcounter.com and decide which emulator do you need.

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  34. #34 written by Mary November 8th, 2012 at 19:10

    Thank you for your quick response. At this time US is splitting the market with mobile devices almost equal – iphone (43%) & android (39%) and I’ve been reviewing tools to help me QA our mobile website and I haven’t found any that really emulate all the functionality on our site. Example: many emulators do not support rotating primary or alt images. I was hoping that you could reduce the downloads by providing me with your top 3 choices that would support testing for android devices and iOS.

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  35. #35 written by Russell December 2nd, 2012 at 16:42

    Hi – thanks for a great resource.

    We are looking for a Windows Mobile emulator but we are running all development machines in Win 7 64 bit and cannot find an emulator that will work. Any ideas that would help? We would even be willing buy one if we could find it.

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  36. #36 written by Sonia February 5th, 2013 at 19:21

    Great post and the discussions are informative too. I am new to mobile web testing and have been looking info difference in javascript engine that I will see in a emulator vs real device? how does jquery behave on a emulator vs real device? We are just launching a mobile version of our website which uses HTML/CSS/Javascript. If you have any insight please let me know. Thanks.

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  37. #37 written by JoeFlash March 7th, 2013 at 21:44

    You might like to add the Firefox OS Simulator (browser plugin).
    http://people.mozilla.com/~myk/r2d2b2g/

    It’s currently a prototype but it is functional.

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  38. #38 written by Midis June 20th, 2013 at 08:54

    Nokia has Remote Device Access via the developer.nokia.com site. An account is required, but you can remotely test on various real MeeGo, Series 40, Symbian and Windows Phone 8 devices. You might also want to mention that Microsoft has a WP8 emulator via the current SDK 8.

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  39. #39 written by Vadim Makeev June 20th, 2013 at 09:00

    Could you please use lowercase in your table? It’s completely unreadable. With all respect to your work.

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  40. #40 written by firt June 20th, 2013 at 16:03

    Hi @Vadim, thanks for your feedback. You are totally right; In fact in the HTML I’m not using uppercase; it seems a WordPress theme update has changed the CSS and forced uppercase there :S Thanks for sending a notice; I’ll fix it. Anyway, I’m planning to move this table to a new website soon with a totally new design.

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