Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, arguably the most popular Linux based OS for desktops, have stated that a download for the mobile version and the source code behind it will be available by late February.
Ubuntu for Phones was shown in depth at CES a couple of weeks ago and has created mutterings in the industry since. It’s no secret that modern smartphones are massively overpowered for the kind of use many consumers enjoy and Canonical want to make people aware of this and promote Ubuntu as a way of utilising that power. The idea being that this mobile Ubuntu could work as a replacement for your personal computer or laptop; mobile Ubuntu will in fact have all the functionality of standard desktop Ubuntu with support for touch displays, mobile hardware and telephone features.
The released image and code is reported to be optimised for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and once it’s in the open source community, expect some modifications to be happening quickly. If Canonical get their way, the possibility of OEM devices running Ubuntu out of the box is definitely on the cards for the future, although in these early stages it appears that development is going to focus on optimising the code for existing devices running Android.
It should also be noted that this first release is almost certainly not going to be complete, although the core features should be solid.
Ubuntu is now a relatively mature OS and the interface has come on a long way in the last few years and the idea of having a full desktop OS on my phone is certainly appealing. I would however want this mobile update to have matured somewhat before taking the plunge myself. I might be a confident tech user and I’ve spent some time with a variety of Linux distros but I wouldn’t want to be spending too long faffing with Linux settings on my phone or figuring out which patches and packages to be installing for a stable experience.
Personally I run an LG Nexus 4 so I’m going to stick my neck out and say if Canonical don’t focus on that next, then a developer out there somewhere will probably get modifying the source code soon after release.
The (quite long) video below is presented by Mark Shuttleworth of Ubuntu and outlines pretty much everything you might want to know about Ubuntu for Phones:
Interestingly there is also a section on the Ubuntu website for “Ubuntu for Android”. Details are scarce but this looks like it will be an Android app that will launch a Ubuntu desktop when your device is docked whilst still having standard Android as the core OS when mobile. This pretty cheesy video on the Ubuntu website lays out the very basics of Ubuntu for Android: