The HTML5test Device Lab: We’re open!

Ever since I started collecting and reporting HTML5test scores I noticed the enormous diversity of browsers on mobile. There are not just a handful of popular browsers, but literally dozens. And even worse, you can run the same browser on the same OS on two different devices, but still get significantly different test scores.

On desktop, testing a website is pretty easy. You just install a couple of different browsers and a couple of virtual machines running some old versions of Internet Explorer and you’re basically done.

On mobile it is a bit more complicated. You’ll need devices. And devices cost money. If you’re a big company you can probably afford to build your own device lab, but for an independent designer that can be very costly. And even if you can afford to buy all those devices, not many companies actually realize this is a problem. So what happens is that designers usually check websites on their own phone and maybe on the phone of a friend and be done with it. And that is why we have some many ‘mobile’ sites that only work well on iPhones.

One of the solutions to this problem is getting devices in the hands of developers.

The HTML5test Device Lab

Little over a year ago I read an article on Smashing Magazine about Jeremy Keith opening up his own device lab to other developers and ever since I’ve been thinking about doing something similar myself. When the subject of the Open Device Lab movement was brought up during PhoneGap Day last september I decided to step up and do the same.

As of today I am going to be running an Open Device Lab: the HTML5test Device Lab. If you want to test your site on a large range of different mobile devices, all you have to do is make an appointment and visit my lab. The coffee and Wi-Fi are free!

Over the last couple of years I managed to collect a substantial number of devices for my day job and for testing the HTML5test site itself. A couple of weeks ago I reached out to a number of companies with my idea and I’ve gotten some very good responses. Last week BlackBerry sent me some devices I did not have yet and I’ve gotten some pledges and support from other companies too. Want to help out? Please read our wish listThanks!

Right now the lab has 71 devices available for testing. If you want to know how your website looks on an ancient BlackBerry, on a Nokia N9 or a Firefox OS device – we’ve got them. Need to test on iOS? No problem, we’ve got devices running iOS 2.2 to 7.0 and you’re welcome to use them.

Other Open Device Labs

The HTML5test Device Lab isn’t the only one. There are more than 70 Open Device Labs across 22 countries. Head on over to for more information and locate the one closest to you.

Device Wish List

I’d like to think we already have an impressive amount of devices available for testing in the HTML5test Device Lab, but there are some devices we have not yet been able to find. Below is our wish list:

  • Nokia Asha 501 – thank you Nokia
  • Jolla Sailfish
  • Sony Playstation Portable – thank you Arjan Eising
  • Sony Playstation Vita
  • Sony Playstation 3 and 4
  • Sony eReader
  • Kindle Touch
  • A device running BlackBerry OS 5
  • A Palm Pre 2 running webOS 2
  • A device running Tizen – thank you Samsung
  • A mid-range or high-end device running Windows Phone 7 – thank you Nokia
  • A mid-range or high-end device running Windows Phone 8 – thank you Nokia
  • A Nexus S, Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7 2013 and Nexus 10 – thank you Google and KitKat
  • Xbox 360 and Xbox One
  • An iPad 1 or iPad 2, an iPad mini with Retina
  • Any device that runs some version of Android
  • And basically any other device running a web browser

If you can help us acquire any of these devices, please contact me. Maybe you have some old phone lying around in a drawer somewhere, or you work for a manufacturer that may be willing to sponsor us? And otherwise, please consider donating something using Paypal, so we can buy our own devices or maybe a nice coffee maker for the lab.

We’re happy with any device you have and even if you have devices we already have, we’ll make sure they will find a new home at any of the other Open Device Labs.


I’d like to thank everybody who donated in the last couple of weeks. Last week we were able to add three new devices to our testing lab: a Nokia 500 running Symbian S60, a Nokia Asha 203 running S40 and a Nokia Lumia 610 running Windows Phone 7.5. With these additions we hope to be able to update the HTML5 compatibility tables more quickly and solve problems with running on these platforms before actually releasing new versions of the test.

We are still actively looking for new devices running Windows Phone 8 and Android 4.2, but also older devices running older versions of Android 1.6, iOS 3 or 4, Maemo, Meego and Windows Mobile 6. If you have a new or used device you want to donate to our lab, please contact me below in the comments, on Github or Twitter.

Any device or donation will help us improve

Thanks in advance!