Ubuntu Touch Launches One Day Before Windows 8.1

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.

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  • tonyzet
    Will mac sue them for synchronized attack to their ios?
  • stevejnb
    Not really sure this is going to change much anything... Though a certain type of person will have some fun loading it onto some touch devices.
  • William Witry
    Options are always good as they drive innovation and downward pressure on price.
    There is already a mobile device called Touch from Zen. They gonna get sued.
  • JD88
    Glad to see this is finally happening.

    The vision of having a completely uncompromized mobile environment transform into an equally uncompromised desktop environment when docked with a keyboard and or mouse is very interesting. An operating system that adjusts itself based on screen size and the input devices attached to it.

    Plug your phone into a dock connected to a monitor, mouse, and keyboard and it becomes a desktop. Plug your tablet into a keyboard dock and it becomes a desktop. Disconnect and it's instantly back to tablet mode. No fussing with different screens, silly start buttons, or a touch interface that also has to be mouse compatible.

    Also, since most of the Ubuntu app repository is already optimized for ARM, there are very few compatibility issues that way.

    I'm not sure how well received another mobile os will be, but Ubuntu Touch has generally received some pretty good reviews from testers.

  • jonmann
    can't wait to try out Ubuntu Touch on my nexus 10
  • cgramer
    Why no love for toro or toroplus? :-( We're Galaxy Nexuses, too!
  • sykozis
    I'll wait until launch and see how the reception is before trying this out....sounds good though...
  • Johmama
    I've been flashing nightly builds onto my Nexus 4 for a while now, and I haven't seen too much progress in the past few weeks. I'm sure that they'll make their deadline, but there are still a few things that need to be ironed out. I can't wait to flash a truly stable version of Ubuntu Touch in a few weeks!
  • FrankInKY
    I enjoy experimenting with OSs on my desktop but I have my regular OS ghosted so I can restore it when done trying out another OS. Is there a way to ghost the OS on Nexus 7 before installing a different OS? Or do you have to reinstall the old OS and lose all settings and configurations?