Your local mobile device lab
We’ve always had an open-door policy here, so if you want to pop around, use our WiFi, and test on our devices, you’re more than welcome.
There was a great response from my fellow Brightonians offering to add some of their devices to the collection:
@adactio I have a Nokia N9 and a 3GS that I can share, if it’d be ok to leave them there?— Aegir Hallmundur (@aegirthor) April 30, 2012
This morning I arrived in to the office to find that Aron had dropped off a Samsung Galaxy Tab.
This is great! Just by opening up the testing suite to everyone, it has now expanded beyond what I had been able to gather together by myself.
We’ve ordered some nice stands for the phones so that we can clear away some of the cable clutter. We don’t want the experience of testing to be any more unpleasant than it needs to be. To that end, I’ve installed Adobe Shadow on the iOS and Android devices.
If you want to test a site that isn’t live yet, I find that services like showoff.io and localtunnel are handy for previewing local sites. Do bear in mind that these devices are intended for testing websites: if you want to install apps or update software, sorry; that’s not what the test lab is for.
If you’re not based in Brighton, maybe you could kick-start a similar sharing scheme with a local company or co-working space. Belfast, Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham …you’ve got loads of smart geeks and I bet they’ve got plenty of devices they could be sharing.
There are potential pitfalls to opening up a testing suite like this. What about the insurance? What about theft? What about breakage? But the thing about potential pitfalls is that they’re just that: potential. I’m treating all of them as YAGNI issues. I’ll address any problems if and when they occur rather than planning for worst-case scenarios.
“What’s the worst that could happen?” is really only valuable as a rhetorical question.