Canonical has launched Ubuntu Touch OS - a slick mobile version of Ubuntu. The public release follows testing with developers over the summer, in an effort to squash bugs and prepare the mobile OS for a general release.
But don't expect every Android smartphone on the market to support Ubuntu Touch out of the gate. Currently, it's compatible with only the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 - all prime to be hacked with whatever mobile OS you want to run. It's not an easy install process either and will take some sorting through directions to figure out if you're not too developer saavy.
Nonetheless, the Ubuntu phone UI is aimed at offering a simpler solution than Android and other mobile operating systems, according to the company. The lockscreen is more than just a barrier to the rest of the OS. You can unlock to any app you like, and navigation is reminiscent of the frame drags used in Windows 8's Modern UI and BlackBerry PlayBook tablets. As we noted in our hands-on in early 2013, unlike Google with its multi-OS approach to its ecosystem - what you get with Ubuntu is the same full version of the software as on all your devices.
Canonical says the first devices to ship with the OS aren’t expected until late 2013 or early 2014. There haven't been any specific devices announced, but to give you an idea, the “entry level” Ubuntu device is expected to run a 1GHz Cortex A9 processor, 512MB – 1GB of RAM, 4-8GB eMMC + SD, and a multi-touch display. The high-end Ubuntu “superphone” calls for a Quad-core A9 or Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM minimum, multitouch, and desktop convergence.
Canonical recently tried to raise $32 million for the Ubuntu Edge from "enthusiasts and mobile computing professionals". The funding goal was not met, but Canonical tells Pocket-lint it plans to move full-steam ahead. The release of Ubuntu Touch indicates that.
Canonical also noted in the past Ubuntu Touch testing for the Motorola XOOM, more Galaxy Nexus’s, Sony Xperia S, Sony Xperia T, Samsung Galaxy S III (international, Verizon Wireless, and AT&T), Huawei Ascend G300, Samsung Galaxy S (GT-I9000), Samsung Galaxy S SCL (GT-I90003),Samsung Galaxy Note, Samsung Galaxy Note II, Samsung Galaxy S II (international), HTC One X, HTC One XL, HTC One X+ (multiple versions), Asus Transformer Infinity, LG Optimus 4x HD, Nexus S, Nexus One, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Wi-Fi, and the Asus Transformer Pad. It's not clear when customers will be able to instal Ubuntu Touch on those devices.
If you fancy getting away from Android and hopping on another mobile OS, Ubuntu Touch may be for you. Check out the video overview and our hands-on.
This article has been republished from September.