QA community coordinator Nicholas Skaggs said that the Ubuntu team is a month away from releasing Saucy Salamander, AKA Ubuntu 13.10. As part of the release, the team will also launch an image of Ubuntu Touch that can be installed on supported devices including the Galaxy Nexus (takju or yakju), the Nexus 4 (occam), the Nexus 7 (nakasi or nakasig) and the Nexus 10 (mantaray).
"And while folks have been dogfooding the images since May, many changes have continued to land as the images mature," Skaggs said. "As such, the QA team is committing to test each of the stable images released, and do exploratory testing against new features and specific packagesets. If you have a device, I would encourage you to join this effort!"
"Only four and a half weeks to go and phone 1.0 will be a reality!" added Canonical technical architect Loïc Minier. "Obviously we're all trying to finish or fix lots of things in the remaining time, but that might include hard-to-track-down and painful regressions."
The developer version of Ubuntu Touch was actually released back in February for the devices listed above. The touchy platform is basically a clean mobile interface for Ubuntu, but will also launch the full-blown desktop version when the mobile device is connected to a desktop monitor. This is the very feature Android owners have clamored for over the last several years, only now it's supplied by Canonical instead.
"Everything you need to know can be found upon this wiki page," Skaggs said. "You'll need a nexus device and a little time to spend with the latest image. If you find a bug, report it! The wiki has links to help. Testing doesn't get any more fun than this; flash your phone and try to break it! Go wild!"
Although version 1.0 will be available to download next month, actual devices shipping with Ubuntu Touch won't arrive until late 2013 or early 2014. Canonical already tried to create a flagship Ubuntu Edge phone over the summer by launching a $32 million Idiegogo crowd-funding project, but failed to reach its goal by $19 million. Now it's up to actual handset makers to produce Ubuntu Touch products.
"While we passionately wanted to build the Edge to showcase Ubuntu on phones, the support and attention it received will still be a huge boost as other Ubuntu phones start to arrive in 2014," said Canonical's Mark Shuttleworth. "Thousands of you clearly want to own an Ubuntu phone and believe in our vision of convergence, and rest assured you won’t have much longer to wait."
Ubuntu Touch arrives on October 17, just one day before Microsoft's Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 go live. Clever.