Here we are, finally, with our first look at the Ubuntu operating system on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It's certainly a vast departure from Android, but it is running on Android hardware, and we're all neckbeards at heart. And hacking a new OS onto an old phone is an interesting proposition in any case.

Android Central @ CES

But let's face facts here: The Ubuntu OS, in its form we saw demoed tonight in Las Vegas, isn't anywhere near ready for prime time. It's not just laggy -- touch response seemed way, too, too. Hell, they wouldn't even let us touch it. That's not anywhere near fair to the developers, of course -- we know it's not ready yet. That's important to remember when the first system images are finally released, supposedly sometime in February.  But what we did see tonight was kind of intriguing, especially in the context of a potential device for emerging markets. 

As Jerry pointed out in a recent podcast, you're not going to see an Ubuntu phone in a U.S. carrier store anytime soon. Mozilla's Firefox OS is in that same state of flux, too. But we do love the idea of something different. Something to play with. And so, for now, we'll have to remain content with a brief -- and buggy -- demo.


Reader comments

First look at the Ubuntu OS on the Galaxy Nexus


Not gonna lie, I could have done a better job then her. Hell, Phil sounded like he knew more about the OS then she did. Either way, this OS looks really fun and I sort of wish I had a galaxy nexus to try it on. Doubt this will get many apps though.

She is having a hard time trying to use it because its a relatively large phone and its still in alpha stage. She's probably nervous too!

Give me a nerd who understands the options and how to use it over pretty "talent" any day, granted she probably only had a day of using it before the showing. why does it have 3 different recent app trays? and you have to pull out the left slide to hit the home button, to a person coming from ios and android it would definitely take a month or so just to get used to it. Seems too little too late and needs a lot of refinement, and maybe Tabs to pull out the sections you want to go into.

Give the lady a break, she was probably having a long day and the software isn't stable on a non native device. Even us geeks could've had trouble with it.

Not only that. We're all ugly and nobody wants to talk to us, anyway. Don't deny it. Also your personalities suck. You would have crash and burned in her position.

Swipe from the edge to switch apps...check

Swipe from the bottom to bring up options...check

Swipe from the other edge to show apps...check

Finally we finished Windows eig....I mean Ubuntu


Does this seriously not remind people of Windows 8????
How can somebody seriously say they didn't rip off Windows 8 with these features??

Actually, it reminded me of advanced gestures on webOS. A lot of people don't realize that one part of multi-tasking that people miss the most from webOS isn't the card view (which is cool) but the ability to swipe between running could arrange the apps in any order you want & then easily go back and forth. Much quicker & one last step than android. I'm hoping we get a similar option in android, eventually. Once you get used to it, it's very easy& convenient.

Also, ubuntu had a doc on the side long before Windows 8. We've been using that exact same app doc on our Ubuntu netbook for a long time. Not really a unique concept... Apple's doc is just another variation of the same concept.

I don't like the reliance on swiping from the edges, and then having to maintain contact with the screen while I scroll a list. For a large phone, it would seem very difficult to do this with one hand. Any sort of case that makes it harder to swipe in from the edges would be a problem, too.

Agreed. I like what they are doing and I'm super happy that it might actually come to market, but the reliance on swiping for every action might be great for tablets, but would make one-handed operation of a phone precarious and difficult.

The more I think about it, the more I'm reminded of webOS. If the swyping took place along the bottom of the screen (like webOS) you could use one hand and simply swipe with your thumb. Also, dare I say the hidden dock was also present on webOS, just at the bottom, also allowing one-handed thumb control. Swipe up to access the dock, swipe side to side to switch apps, all with your thumb. Ahhh... the good old days...

Windows 8 was not even close to the original "swiping" os.

Well not excited about this anymore, at least for a long time. I have a big hand and I can't imagine this being easy to use, and it seems the entire point of a gesture based system would be that it is speedy and easy to use.

thats also a lot of work to just go home. There should be a home button on the actual ubuntu phone (then again, it may work too much like an iPhone)

One swipe across the screen is "a lot of work"? You don't even have to move your thumb off the screen to a dedicated button. The home button on the dock is just an alternative method, not the primary one. I would like to maybe see drawers on the dock though, where you could group apps, similar to apps folders. It is still early in development so there probably will be some significant changes by the time this sees consumers. It will be interesting to see how this OS shapes up. I gotta say, at least the UI looks beautiful, unlike what I've seen so far from Firefox OS or Tizen. I even prefer it to Sailfish OS, although their UI looks pretty nice too.

Did they really have to put a big stripe that says "HOME" on the home screen?
Nice use of real estate.

Probably the presence of Big Phil from Android Central had her nerves going a bit. She will get better, give her a chance (plus Alpha software too)

I wouldn't say that you won't see a phone in a carrier store soon because they seem to be really trying with carrier support and you never know. But you won't see anything soon regardless because it's not 2014 yet.

Why do they think not using hard buttons is a feature? Anyway, I've seen nothing yet that makes want to try this even when it's finished.

Feel really bad for her. Either she was not familiar enough with the device and OS she was in place to talk about, or she was not comfortable talking about it on camera.

Actually looks pretty nice for an initial look at the OS though. Looking forward to future developments on this.

I like it. It could be more user friendly but it's better than any other OS I've seen. At least it is very different from any other OS I've seen. I want an OS like the one on Star Trek. Lol.

It looks way too much like Windows phone with all the swiping and I think they should add some form of soft keys like we see on stock GNex ROMs.

If only Windows Phone had gestures like its cousin, Windows 8/RT. It makes the start button at the bottom of Windows tablets seem useless. Using gestures on webOS (Touchpad) and Meego (N9) was delightful when I had those devices.

Looks like a custom launcher. I bet a good developer will drop a launcher that mimics that experience before ubuntu os itself is actually available.

Does anyone know if this will flash on any Samsung Galaxy Nexus devices? I am on Sprint and it looks like it might be worth picking one up on ebay if it will work with CDMA. I know webOS won't do a CDMA Nexus yet.

Perhaps we don't have enough info yet.

As to the person demoing: They are trying to hold the phone so that it can be shown off on video. This isn't how they would normally hold the phone, so yeah, they're going to have a bit of a rough time. Cut them a little slack.

Alternatively, she thought Phil was "teh hotness!" and got a little nervous...

As to the OS: I'd love to try this. I would hope that the carriers would at least think about carrying it. If not, hopefully the custom ROM community can get hold of it and start porting to existing handsets.

I like Ubuntu, it's a nice desktop alternative.
That said, this makes WebOS on Android look slick (not to mention relevant).

I am going to go ahead and say what we all are thinking. The phone is nice and all that, but I wanted to see to whom the hands and the voice belong!


I will say this, that Gnex stil looks great for being over a year old. My X and Tbolt didn't last me a year and Gnex may last me 2years. Love having so many options in ROMs, now maybe a whole new OS is possible. Nice!

Looks cool and I'm sure nerds everywhere will love it. That said......

It's an entirely gesture based mobile OS, which means, for the mass market, it's DOA.

This Blog post is so bias, of course nothing could be as good as Android. LOL no seriously, Ubuntu Phone OS is not laggy, its just this particular video. Some people just dont know how to touch a touch screen.

I want an Ubuntu Phone OS, and its nothing like Android, Windows or iPhone.

I totally agree.
C'mon folks, there is like 10 different videos from Ubuntu phone at CES availablre right now...and this is BY FAR the worst of all of them. Obviously she did not do a good job, nervs or whatever...but you all should check on the other videos to get a better impression.

True it is alpha, true it is still buggy...hell, I find my GS3 with jelly bean buggy too!! But what they have accomplished in such a short time is outstanding and the integration accross mobile, desktop, etc could be a game changer.

Thumbs up and looking forward to get my hands on one fo this.

People commented bad on how the Ubuntu phone os gesture's were to much for a phone, but then blackberry 10 is released & they start sucking off on how great the gesture features are! They use the same 4 screen corner techniques that Ubuntu phone os uses. The same collected messaging, the same swipe back to live desktop previews & more, I'm sure it's not the video because there are a bunch of videos in YouTube that show Ubuntu phone working very good without the show person catching a nervous breakdown, but seriously this os seems great & the only thing I see that I wouldn't like is the gallery, those album previews are way too big for a mobile screen!