Canonical Updates Mobile OS A Week After First Ubuntu Phone Launched

Last week, the first Ubuntu phone to ever be commercially available came out on BQ's website. Although there is just one Ubuntu device on the market right now, and it hasn't been out for long, Canonical has already released an update.

This development should show, both to consumers interested in Ubuntu phones as well as OEMs who might consider another open source alternative to Android and Firefox OS, that Canonical is serious about supporting its mobile operating system.

When the company announced its IndieGoGo campaign (which ultimately failed) for the Ubuntu Edge device, it promised that the phone would be upgraded for not one, not two, but four years. That's even longer than the three-year support period for Apple's own devices.

So far Canonical hasn't said whether other devices, including the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition, will receive updates for four years, but delivering such quick updates is already a good sign. Canonical must now maintain this strong track record of support.

The list of updates includes:

Battery life improvementsScreenshots no longer show the volume indicatorNotifications can be dismissed by swipingPhotos can be edited directly from the Camera photo rollFullscreen and Normal modes are now supported in Gallery photo displayImproved support for BT devices that require a Pin code for pairing

The update isn't big enough to warrant the launch of a new major Ubuntu version, but some of the updates are quite significant, which implies that Canonical was already working on them before the Aquaris E4.5 launched, but it couldn't push out the update in time before release.

Canonical has also posted the updates to the Telegram app, an alternative to Whatsapp (which currently doesn't exist in Ubuntu's app store).

Sending/receiving documents – no longer limited to just photos and videosTelegram activity on the lock screen – see your Telegram statistics on your lock screen (double tap the infographic to change the information displayed)Image previews are now zoomableImproved notifications supportAdded support for message forwardingVarious other UI improvements and fixes

Canonical hasn't announced any new partners for its mobile Ubuntu OS, so for now the Aquarius E4.5 remains the one and only Ubuntu phone, which can be purchased in Europe through BQ. Canonical promised that there will be another set of updates available for its OS next month.

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Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.
  • Jay James
    I only found three years at Ubuntu edge website. Hope is really 4 years.

    "However you choose to use Ubuntu Edge, the incredible components will keep it running fast and fresh as our software evolves. We’ll push out monthly Ubuntu software updates to add features and polish, and we guarantee to keep supporting the phone for "three years.""
  • bit_user
    I still use Ubuntu on my Linux boxes, but I have to wonder whether there's really a niche for Ubuntu Phone. Do they really think there's a market for this, or is it simply based on desperation?

    For fans of openness, I think Firefox OS is much more compelling. I just wish there were decent phones for it, in the US. Something like the Fx0 would be great.