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Ubuntu for Android Development Stuck in Limbo

Ubuntu for Android sounds like a great idea. As an Android smartphone, customers use the device like any other model on the market, making calls and playing Candy Crush Saga. But when connected to a docking station, Ubuntu kicks in, providing a complete open-source desktop.

According to Canonical, Ubuntu and Android share the same Linux-based kernel. So when the device is docked, the Ubuntu platform boots up and runs concurrently with Google's Android platform. That way both desktop and mobile functionality can exist in different runtimes.  

Visit the Ubuntu for Android page, and you'll see that it's not something that can be downloaded by everyone. Still, we really haven't heard anything about Ubuntu for Android for a couple of years. Is Canonical putting it aside to focus on Ubuntu Touch, or is the company still developing the Ubuntu/Android platform?

News of a possible abandonment sprouted from a comment made by Canonical interface designer Matthew Paul Thomas who opened a bug report on Launchpad.net. He stated that the current website describes a "must have" product for high-end phones in 2012. Because Ubuntu for Android is not in development, then the page needs to be retired.

However, the page remains active, and references to "2012" no longer exist thanks to web director Peter Mahnke.

So does that mean Ubunto for Android still exists? An email from Canonical spokesperson Marina Engelvuori to PC World verifies that it's no longer in development because its progression has stalled. We really haven't heard anything about the dual OS because Canonical doesn't have any launch partners for the platform. Canonical needs one of these to continue the development.

"We are currently not in concrete discussions with launch partners, but we are still very much open to such a partnership," Engelvuori writes. "We are focused on Ubuntu for Phones at the moment, therefore we are not actively pushing for Ubuntu for Android. However, if a prospective partner steps forward, we are very much open to launching Ubuntu for Android."

So there's the answer; it's stuck in limbo until a launch partner signs on. Interested phone makers can get in touch with Canonical by heading here and filling out the form.