Ubuntu for Phones & Tablets

At the beginning of this year, Canonical announced that it was making an alternative mobile device operating system, called Ubuntu for Phones. With its lack of need for hardware buttons and use of screen sides as hot zones to initiate gesture commands, the underlying UI concept was vastly different from Android.

On the 15th of February, Canonical announced that the Touch Developer Preview of Ubuntu for the Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus 4 will become available on the 21st of Feb. This was intended for developers and enthusiasts to get used to Ubuntu’s smartphone version. This same day tools and instructions for flashing this to devices are now released on the Ubuntu Wiki.

Also, Canonical has announced that smartphones aren’t the only devices that Ubuntu’s touch-based smartphone operating system will appear on. Ubuntu announced, “Ubuntu for Tablets.” This adds another layer to the unified ecosystem that Canonical is trying to create: one interface for all your connected devices. However, many claim that while the graphics may look the same, the code, is in fact completely different, which could prevent seamless application integration between devices. Only time will tell if this issue actually crops up.

Daring users are being warned by the authors of Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview that it’s an experimental development snapshot that can potentially “brick” their devices. And they are not kidding apparently! When you install the software, it will wipe Android from your device—another reason for caution. However, Google has posted firmware images online that can be used to restore a Nexus device to its factory condition. It’s a good idea, though, to make sure the factory image for your device is available from Google before nuking Android from your Nexus device with Ubuntu Touch.

Right Now you better let the experts take a look first, while you can see for examples:

Looks, Design, Features and Requirements

Information for Developers

Current working devices, include

Device Code name Install instructions Code/Image
Galaxy Nexus maguro Touch/Install works with phablet-flash
Nexus 4 mako Touch/Install works with phablet-flash
Nexus 7 grouper Touch/Install works with phablet-flash
Nexus 10 manta Touch/Install works with phablet-flash

but other are reported as “sort of working” and “working in progress” as you may see at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/Devices. The first Ubuntu phones were originally reported to start arriving on retail shelves in October, but that timetable has been revised by Canonical. It now says its mobile OS will be ready for prime time in October, with Ubuntu phones expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2014.