Coming Soon: bv02’s Open Device Lab


Definition: A collection of donated or loaned mobile devices for everyone to use at bv02.

Since more people access websites on their phones every day, testing websites on different devices isn’t really an option anymore, it’s a necessity. However, this comes with a problem: there are a lot of devices. A lot. Not only is there a constantly growing number of devices people can use to access websites, fragmentation of platforms is making it even more challenging. Add that to older versions of operating systems and browsers, and you can see the challenge. The sheer number of devices needed for testing can make the price of maintaining your own testing lab prohibitive.

That’s where bv02’s Open Device Lab comes in.

What is it?
An Open Device Lab is a shared collection of mobile devices for everybody to use, because the many different form factors and resolutions make extensive testing necessary to create great mobile apps and websites. Emulators are OK in a pinch, but nothing can replace testing on real devices. With the Open Device Lab, you don’t have to carry a suitcase full of mobile devices around; you can find them here.

Beyond that, the Open Device Lab will give developers access to all mobile platforms, ranging from iOS and WebOS, to Android and the upcoming Firefox OS, in order to stay on top of the mobile game.

Why are we building an open device lab?
The concept of an open device lab isn’t new. Open Device Labs have been set up in cities around the world, from Portland to Capetown to London to Zurich. We think that Ottawa’s developer community is on par with these cities, and needs a device lab that’s on par with them as well.

We also believe in giving back, and this is a way that we can use our existing device collection to help more websites and more developers in the community. Ultimately, when everyone has access to additional devices for testing, it raises the bar for the websites and applications we’re all creating, and delivers a better user experience for everyone.

How can I use the open device lab?
We are opening the doors to the device lab in May, but in the meantime, you can ask Paul or anybody else from the bv02 team for a device, and if it’s not in use we’ll hand it to you right away. To get in touch, send us an email to You can use the devices in our studio space as you like. If you leave, return the device to us. It’s that simple.

You can find us at:
858 Bank St. Suite 103, Ottawa, Ontario K1S 3W3

What does it cost?
It costs nothing, nada, nix. All you need to do is book a time to come into the lab through

How can I contribute?
If you have an old device lying around and collecting dust, you can contribute it to the lab in return for a link and a thank you on the device lab’s soon-to-come website (and of course, you can choose to retain full ownership of your device.) The community will be grateful for your contribution.

Are you a device manufacturer who wants to get involved and support an open device lab in Ottawa? That’s awesome, and we (and the community) appreciate your support. Let us know if you have devices to contribute, and we’ll highlight your contribution on the soon-to-come open device lab website.

Too long, didn’t read?
We believe in testing on real devices, and we believe in our community. Software emulators and simulators can be useful, but in the end they can only simulate the experience. To make testing on real devices possible for everyone, we need open device labs.

If you’re outside of Ottawa, there’s a directory of open device labs from around the world that you can check to find a lab in your area. If you’re in Ottawa, stop by the bv02 studio and experience it for yourself.

Image credit: Helsinki’s open device lab,

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One response to “Coming Soon: bv02’s Open Device Lab”

  1. Kyle McInnes says:

    Great idea. There are remote testing services but nothing beats having the device in hand and those services tend to be really expensive.

    As an Ottawa startup, I’m definitely going to take advantage of the lab.

    It will probably turn into a cool spot to hang with other mobile startups and talk shop too.