Introducing: ODL Bristol

by Josh Baldwin

Noisy Little Monkey are very proud to announce that Bristol now has a brand spanking new Open Device Lab!

Cleverly named ODL Bristol, the service is part of a global movement to give app testers and web developers a comprehensive suite of phones and devices on which to trial their new sites and awesome apps.

There are a lot of different emulators out there that can imitate a mobile device's layout and aspect ratios, but just like fat free ice cream, there's really no match for the genuine article.

What is

If you're still scratching your noodle, pondering what the ODL is all about then you should take a look at the Open Device Lab home site, and have read of the movement's mission statement from Andre Jay Meissner of LabUp!

The fragmentation of operating systems and browsers as well as the diversity of internet-enabled devices makes it impossible for the vast majority of developers to personally own a representative pool of test devices. Nevertheless, quality assurance across real devices is a must to ensure a pleasant user experience, sufficient stability and security.

Open Device Labs (ODLs, #ODL) are a grass roots community movement. They establish shared community pools of internet connected devices for testing purposes of web and app developers. In result, ODLs lead to an ultimate improvement of the web & app experience both for developers and for consumers.

To date, 105 ODLs (ODL Bristol was number 100!) are operating across 25 countries, with a whopping 2538 devices available for people to test on.

To help out ODL Bristol or an ODL near you, you could always donate a dusty or unwanted device and give it a loving home. Or you could always pop in like Tim and drop an old phone off in person WARNING: We will take a photo to say thanks :)


How much is ODL Bristol?

ODL Bristol is still relatively new, but we already have a suite of 20 devices for people to come in and use. How much do we charge, I hear you ask? Nowt, zip, nadda! We're strong believers that Bristol is a great place for web & tech services and has the potential to be even more amazing. By letting absolutely anyone use the devices free of charge we strive to make Bristol even more of an awesome place.

At ODL Bristol we'll sit you down with some tea and biscuits (if there's any left) and show you how to use our devices simultaneously, offering help and advice where possible. As well as simultaneous testing we can screenshot every device at once! It's pretty helpful for documenting your design process and it gives you an odd sense of satisfaction when their shutters snap in unison.


We use a combo of Adobe Edge Inspect to take screenshots and Ghostlab to simultaneously scroll and control all of our devices at ODL Bristol, but we're always on the lookout for suggestions to make the ODL better. If there’s better software out there that you think we should be using let us know @ODLBristol

Because ODL Bristol is still very new, we'll be constantly looking at ways to make it bigger and better. Starting with the logo.
We feel like the ODL Bristol logo and branding for lack of a better word, isn’t very Brizl… We want ODL Bristol to scream Brunel, ooze Banksy and (somehow) incorporate George Ferguson's claret coloured pantaloons, because ultimately Bristol’s quirks and characters are what really makes it such a great place to live and work.

So in a few days’ time we'll be launching a wee design competition to rebrand ODL Bristol, for more info on the competition and prizes on offer head over to the ODL Bristol site!

Josh Baldwin
Josh Baldwin

Inbound Manager @ Noisy Little Monkey, Josh blogs about SEO, Local & Mobile, HubSpot and Inbound Strategy.

Meet Josh Baldwin

Monkey Mail 💌🍌

Get monthly digital marketing tips sent straight to your inbox.

Want to know what to expect before you subscribe? You can preview the monthly newsletter right here.

Don't worry - we won't EVER share your email with anyone. Even if they offer us a million quid. It says so in our privacy policy.
If you would like to offer us a million quid, email at once.