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Ubuntu Touch developer preview: What you need to know

You can now run Ubuntu Touch on a select few Android devices, but this is far from a finished product We've been waiting for the first developer preview of Ubuntu Touch for a while now. After a bit of an odd start, today is the day we finally get to try it ourselves. As a long-time Linux user on...
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Canonical delivers Ubuntu Touch for tablets

The countdown timer on the Ubuntu website has ended, and Canonical has made Ubuntu for tablets official. With the tablet version, Ubuntu now scales across just about every screen and device you could imagine, from your smartphone all the way up to your television -- each with their own unique UI...
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Unity Launcher: a little bit of Ubuntu flair on your device

Canonical has laid out its plans to release Ubuntu phones at some point in 2014 -- but you don't have to wait that long to get a little bit of Ubuntu flair on your current Android device. Unity Launcher brings Ubuntu's interesting swipe-in sliding app selector to your device without changing your...

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Canonical releases dual-boot Ubuntu and Android developer preview

Files and instructions available to run both operating systems on your Nexus 4 If you're looking to have a little bit of Ubuntu fun on your Nexus 4 during the holiday break, Canonical has something that should interest you. They have released a method to flash your phone so that it can boot into...
Ubuntu smartphone

Meizu and BQ announced as Ubuntu smartphone partners

More devices from other 'household names' to come in 2015 Canonical, the folks behind the Ubuntu project, has announced their initial hardware partners for the Ubuntu smartphone launch. BQ of Spain and the Chinese giant Meizu have signed on, and will both be delivering products running Ubuntu in...

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More devices from other 'household names' to come in 2015

Canonical, the folks behind the Ubuntu project, has announced their initial hardware partners for the Ubuntu smartphone launch. BQ of Spain and the Chinese giant Meizu have signed on, and will both be delivering products running Ubuntu in 2014.

In a live-broadcast event this morning, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth made it clear that they wanted their initial partners to be specialists at penetrating the emerging markets. That means low-cost handsets are the goal, and while we don't know much about what BQ will be offering we do know that Meizu plans to build an Ubuntu version of the MX3 — which currently runs Android. He went on to say that both BQ and Meizu are a perfect match for Ubuntu

These are two great companies. Two Fiesty companies. Two companies that are great for Ubuntu

We have no details on availibility or pricing, or where these phones will be sold. Shuttleworth has spoken before that Canonical has excellent carrier support and backing, and that he wants Ubuntu smartphones available everywhere. We're going to catch up with Canonical at MWC, and see what else we can learn.

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Files and instructions available to run both operating systems on your Nexus 4

If you're looking to have a little bit of Ubuntu fun on your Nexus 4 during the holiday break, Canonical has something that should interest you. They have released a method to flash your phone so that it can boot into Ubuntu from Android, and boot back to "normal" using what looks and acts like normal applications to the end user.

Looking through the instructions, you'll need to be running Ubuntu on your home computer and know your way around the command line. It's all scripted so there is little room for error, and the only path back is a full wipe and reflash of the factory images. You'll also need to flash an old radio if you want to make phone calls on the Ubuntu side, using a Jelly Bean factory image. 

While this isn't for everybody — and is clearly marked as a developer preview — it is a good way to have a look at how Ubuntu is progressing and still be able to revert back to something more familiar for those times when you need it. Follow the link below, and read everything, if you're interested.

Source: Ubuntu Developer Portal

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A message on the Ubuntu developers list has some really good news for fans of Canonical's fledgling Ubuntu Touch mobile OS -- it's no longer running inside or on top of Android. Previously, Ubuntu Touch booted into Android and used a chroot to virtualize the Ubuntu OS on top of the Android core, much like hackers have been doing since the days of the Nexus One. 

But Oliver Grawert tells us today that this is no longer the case, and the OS now boots into Ubuntu and virtualizes Android services inside an LXC (LinuX Container) during boot. This is a complete 180 flip, and is great news for all fans of Ubuntu on their mobile.

The changes are available in the daily builds, have a look here if you're interested in running one. No word on when things will be merged into the official installer, but we imagine it won't be too far in the future.

Source: Ubuntu-Devel; Via: +Oliver Grawert

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The new definition of computer has caused Android and iOS to control market share, leading Mark Shuttleworth to close Bug #1 in Ubuntu's bug tracker

Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu, has marked the very first bug on Ubuntu's LaunchPad bug tracking site as "Closed -- Fix Released". In this case, Android is a big part of the fix. As Shuttleworth explains in the final comment on bug #1

Personal computing today is a broader proposition than it was in 2004: phones, tablets, wearables and other devices are all part of the mix for our digital lives. From a competitive perspective, that broader market has healthy competition, with IOS and Android representing a meaningful share 

Microsoft still is the OS of choice on the desktop, both at home and the workplace. But the new definition of computer -- which not everyone agrees with, including yours truly -- combined with the sheer number of Android and iOS devices out there has changed the landscape.

I'm not so sure that bug #1 was really a bug to begin with. I've no love for Microsoft's products nor their business practices, but the free market has chosen, and both developers and users choose Microsoft when it comes to productivity on their workstations more often than the competition. We think everyone should have a choice that's done well, and one that fits their needs.

Of course others, like Shuttleworth, think differently and clearly when smartphones and tablets (as well as televisions and even appliances) are counted alongside the traditional desktop or laptop computer, Microsoft is now a distant third in terms of marketshare. Our advice? Don't get caught up in the details and appreciate the fact that you do have a choice. In either case, be sure to read Shuttleworth's comment if you're a fan of computing and software.

Source: Launchpad Comment  1834; Bug 1

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You can now run Ubuntu Touch on a select few Android devices, but this is far from a finished product

We've been waiting for the first developer preview of Ubuntu Touch for a while now. After a bit of an odd start, today is the day we finally get to try it ourselves. As a long-time Linux user on the desktop (I've even installed Ubuntu 12.10 to prepare) I'm excited, and I know plenty of you folks are, as well. We're going to take a quick look at what Canonical is offering up today, talk a bit about their plans for Ubuntu, and even do a little bit of blogger speculation about it's future.

The most important thing to remember is that this is just a preview, meant for enthusiasts and aspiring developers. We're going to install it to play with (of course) but there's plenty that isn't working yet. The final version is still a ways off, so we can't really draw solid conclusions from what we're seeing today. 

What we can do, is have fun trying it. Hit the break to see the how and why.

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The countdown timer on the Ubuntu website has ended, and Canonical has made Ubuntu for tablets official. With the tablet version, Ubuntu now scales across just about every screen and device you could imagine, from your smartphone all the way up to your television -- each with their own unique UI additions to make for a simple, yet elegant solution for your computing needs. 

The new tablet design is built on the very same Ubuntu core as the rest of the product line, with an emphasis on productivity and security. The new side stage multi-tasking allows for phone and tablet apps on the screen at the same time, and full encryption and secure multi-user logins are an integral part of the operating system. When added to Ubuntu's unique heads-up display, voice activated control and gesture based navigation, Ubuntu on your tablet might be the cleanest design you've ever seen.

Ubuntu on a tablet is something many of us have been wanting. With today's hardware, a full Linux distribution on a 7 or 10 inch screen is more than feasible, and it looks like we're going to get a chance to find out. On Feb 21 when Canonical releases the Ubuntu Touch preview, the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 will be supported in addition to phones like the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4. Hit the break for the full press release, a product video, and the press photos.

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Canonical today announced that the developer preview of its Ubuntu mobile operating system will be available for the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 on Feb. 21.

Ubuntu, of course, is one of the more popular Linux distributions. Its move to the mobile space "marks the start of a new era for Ubuntu," Canonical said in its press release, brining one code base to mobile, tablet, desktop and TV experiences. We took a quick tour of Ubuntu on the Galaxy Nexus back at CES, and what we saw was a gesture-heavy experience that's going to heavily rely on HMTL5 applications as well as any native apps.

Canonical stresses that this is a developer preview and not finalized code, so you probably won't be running this as your daily driver just yet. 

Ubuntu will be on hand at Moblie World Congress later this month in Barcelona, and reps will flash devices at the booth if you're in attendance and need some help.

We've got more details in the presser after the break.

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I don't use live wallpapers traditionally. I find that too often there's a trade off in device performance and or battery life to make it worthwhile. I've made an exception to try this one out, and I'm pretty happy with it. Ubuntu Live Wallpaper tries to capture some of the feel of that great looking lockscreen on Ubuntu for Phones, in a live wallpaper for your Android device. And, while it isn't an exact replica, it's pretty close, and looks great. Currently still in beta, the developers describe it as their "hobby." But for a beta product, it's very well done. 

One of my biggest annoyances with live wallpapers as I mentioned is performance and battery life issues. Even on high end devices, too often things become jerky and the battery life has just been sucked dry. So far, on the Nexus 4 at least, this hasn't been the case with Ubuntu Live Wallpaper. Battery life doesn't seem to be any less than usual, and scrolling through the homescreens -- in my case with Action Launcher -- is as smooth and speedy as ever. 

There's a couple of features baked in too worth mentioning, and some due to arrive in future updates. A double tap anywhere on the wallpaper brings up the option to display either time, or remaining battery percentage. Coming in the future will be the ability to switch between 12 and 24 hour clocks, repositioning the circle, scaling and color change. 

Remember though that this is still a beta product, and the developers are all to aware of performance issues affecting some devices. But, it's free, and worth a look if you're looking for a little flavor of Ubuntu for Phones without getting too deep. You'll find it in the Play Store at the link above, and click on past the break for some screenshots. 

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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.

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.

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And any number of hurdles still stand in Canonical's way, no matter how cool things look now

Canonical has been buzzing in our ears about Ubuntu as a mobile device operating system for a while now. We've seen them tout integrating a solution into Android for a year, and before that they had plans for their own mobile version of Ubuntu that more than a few Linux geeks were following. Today they came full circle and showed off a native OS on an Android phone, getting some of us pumped for the "next big thing."

But with yet another announcement without a single flashable image, will Ubuntu OS even have a chance?

Let's discuss the pros and cons, and see why 2014 might be too late for any success for Canonical. Read on.

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In its infancy for quite a long time now, software maker Cononical today is taking the wraps off of the smartphone variation of its Linux operating system Ubuntu. The interface will be distinctly in the Ubuntu style, and have many features of other modern smartphone operating systems. There are edge gestures, disappearing controls, global search, voice commands and support for both native and HTML5 web apps.

But Ubuntu for smartphones is more than just a phone OS, as it also provides a full desktop experience when the phone is docked to a mouse, keyboard and monitor. With the current specs of phones, its not unreasonable to expect a single device to be able to handle both a phone and desktop operating system when in each situation. Ubuntu is generally pretty lightweight, so it should run nicely while still remaining feature rich (unlike Motorola Webtop before it.)

Let's not forget that Ubuntu is also open source, giving plenty of options to later customization and tweaking by users as well as quick and free updates in the future. Canonical is holding an informational conference call to provide more details on the launch of its smartphone OS today, which should answer some burning questions. Canonical will also be showing off Ubuntu for smartphones at CES in under a week. In the meantime, take a look at the quick press release after the break.

More: Canonical

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Web browsing on the Nexus 7, using Ubuntu and Firefox

I love fiddling with things. Especially electronic things. I admit, I've fooled with ARM builds of Ubuntu on Android devices, or running them in a chroot environment. I read the comments and forums, so I know I'm not the only one. The problem is, that while it's fairly easy to do, if you're not comfortable with terminal commands you just won't be doing it. Canonical, who is using the Nexus 7 as a sort of reference for Ubuntu on ARM touch devices changed that today by releasing a simple one click installer.

Now, anyone who can install Ubuntu on their computer can just as easily install it on their Nexus 7. It's not very practical, and you'll likely flash back to Android after a few hours of playing with it, but it is extremely cool to play with for a few. If you're the type who likes to hack and flash at your Nexus 7, you will want to try this. Read on.

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A lot of people love the idea of having a full-blown desktop version of Ubuntu on their Android tablet, including the folks at Canonical. Today we see that they have released a semi-official installer to do just that -- install Ubuntu (a special build based on 12.10) right to your Nexus 7, as a full native install.

It's also pretty easy to do -- they provide a PPA repo for the installer an dependencies, and all you need to do is type a few commands, have fastboot set up and working, and find the USB cable that came with the device. Of course your bootloader has to be unlocked, but that's easy enough to accomplish when you've got a Nexus device. 

The Nexus 7 is the official reference device for Ubuntu development on ARM touch devices, and the purpose of this is for users to run and find bugs. Don't go thinking the install will be perfect, as there's a list of things that need attention. Rotation doesn't yet work, there are some scrolling issues, Bluetooth isn't working, and the camera isn't active. Nothing that can't be overcome, but know ahead of time what to expect.

Don't get me wrong, I think this is great, and that Ubuntu is a great choice to run on a small tablet. I am a little miffed that a so-called developer preview is only available as a one-click application, specific to Ubuntu. I may think Ubuntu is a good choice for my tablet, but I don't think it's the best choice for my desktop. I would have liked to see the images and scripts delivered in a package that advanced users could use without installing Ubuntu on their computer. Hopefully they can address this and let everyone play.

Full instructions, and notes about known issues and tester protocol can be found at the source links.

Source: Ubuntu (1), (2),; via OMGUbuntu

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Back in December we first had a look at CMC (CyanogenMod Compiler), and it's come a long way since. What started as a command line tool to help download, sync, and build CyanogenMod for any supported device has turned into a full-featured program, complete with a GUI and plenty of polish. With CMC you'll be able to sync with your preferred branch (Gingerbread or ICS) for any officially supported device, then build a flashable zip file with just a few button clicks.

A few warnings are needed here. Firstly, what you're left with when finished is a completely unsupported (by the CM team) nightly build -- don't file bug reports or expect much assistance if there are issues. Next, there's the fact that you're spending time (as in a lot of time) downloading a couple Gigabytes of code and then building it yourself versus just downloading a 100MB file. Finally, we can't forget that fiddling with custom firmware is a great way to ruin your expensive Android device, and only you are responsible for what you do.

If you understand, and are OK with those minor details, this is a great way to roll-your-own CM without much experience. It's a great introduction to software compilation, and the pride of building your own installation is something special. You'll need to be running Ubuntu (versions 10.04 through 12.04 are supported), and the .Deb files will setup and install any dependencies. Give it a look, and be sure to thank lithid-cm for this cool tool!

Source: XDA-Developers; via OMGUbuntu

Thanks, obi!

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The folks at Canonical (the masterminds behind the Ubuntu Linux project) have been kicking around the idea of a mobile version of Ubuntu for about four years now. First hearing about it back in 2008, many a nerdly smartphone user (guilty) just couldn't wait to get Linux on their handset, but it never really came to light.

That could be changing, as a job listing at Canonical for a "Business Development Manager (Ubuntu Phone OS)" has popped up, and it mentions the "launch of Ubuntu as a smartphone operating system" in the description. Now we're not privy to the inner chambers at Canonical where all the secrets are kept, but this has to mean one of two things -- either a big push for Ubuntu for Android, or a full fledged Ubuntu Mobile OS following in the tracks of Kubuntu Mobile 11.04. Either one makes me get all warm and fuzzy inside.

But here's the thing -- we have a Linux-based smartphone OS, and it also happens to be the market leader. Of course we're talking Android. With Google behind the project, Android was able to succeed when others, like Maemo, simply tanked. I'm not so sure the average user is ready for a new Linux based smartphone OS, no matter how bad some of us want it to happen. It's going to have to have polish, be easy to use, and have a couple hundred-thousand apps to succeed. A multi-purpose device that runs a celebrated and successful OS while mobile (Android), and a fuller, desktop style OS (Ubuntu) while docked is the right way to go here I think. We'll just have to wait and see.

Source: Canonical; via PhoneRPTEngadget

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There's been quite a bit of buzz since the announcement of Ubuntu for Android, and there's quite a bit of buzz in Hall 7 here at Mobile World Congress. That's where Canonical is showing off just what Ubuntu can do when paired to a dual-core smartphone, and it remains every bit impressive as when we got our preview a week ago.

The basic idea is this: Your smartphone (at minimum a dual-core device) will have a custom Linux kernel. And on top of that runs Android and Ubuntu. They run in parallel; when you plug your phone into a HDMI display, it switches from Android to Ubuntu and you get a full desktop experience.

Probably the most impressive aspect is in how it handles the data and applications from your Android phone. Ubuntu's got full access to your contacts and apps. So you can search your contact book to send an e-mail or make a phone call, right there from Ubuntu. Apps run in windows form, but Canonical tells us that will be refined some by launchtime, still set for later this year.

The other remaining question is exactly how us mere mortals will be able to get Ubuntu onto our phones. It's not just an .apk that you can download. But we're more than positive some enterprising neckbeards will have it all worked out.

We've got some a walkthrough video from Mobile World Congress after the break.

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There's been a lot of talk about Ubuntu since they let it out that they're working on some goodies for Android devices, and it got us to thinking. In the real world (you know, that one that exists outside the Internet we hear so much about) Linux holds a tiny sliver of consumer market share, forecasted at less that two percent for 2012 according to Gartner by way of Wikipedia. Compare that to the five percent of the market that Apple holds, and the whopping 93 percent that is the Microsoft juggernaut. But based on the chatter the past couple of days, I'm thinking that people who read Android Central don't really fit those numbers. That means I gotta ask, or I'll never know. Cue our late-night poll for the evening:

 

What OS do you use on your desktop?

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You probably heard the big news about Canonical's plans to build Ubuntu for Android devices. It's something I'm extremely excited about and have been tinkering with myself since the days of the Nexus One. This latest -- and finally official -- iteration resembles (and is being compared to) something we've seen before from Motorola -- Webtop. We got to sit down and talk to the folks at Canonical for more information about Ubuntu for Android this week, and I'm here to tell you, chances are this won't be like Webtop at all.

It won't suck. And here's why:

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This, folks, is Ubuntu on Android. An honest-to-goodness, not janky or VNC'd, full build of the Linux distro powered by an Android smartphone.

We'll let that sink in.

Canonical -- the company behind Ubuntu -- today announced that it's bringing the full Ubuntu experience to multi-core Android phones in the same way that Motorola has attempted to extend its hardware to a more traditional computing experience with Webtop. That is, you'll connect your phone to a keyboard and display, and from there have full control over a proper Ubuntu experience, all powered by the phone. Because your Android smartphone is already running a Linux kernel, the marriage between your phone and Ubuntu is darn near seamless. The Ubuntu build actually shares the kernel from your phone and boots in parallel.

Canonical gave us a walkthrough of the experience, and it really couldn't be more simple. Dock the phone, and Ubuntu Unity fires up. Photos and videos are instantly available in the desktop experience.

But photos and videos are chump change. You've got full Chromium and Thunderbird apps. VLC. The Ubuntu Music Player. If it's on Ubuntu, it can be on your phone.

But the real power is in the ability to launch your Android apps within that desktop experience. Same goes for contacts. Or your network settings. Or your notifications. It's Android within an Ubuntu experience. And it's pretty slick.

As for hardware requirements, you'll need a dual-core smartphone with at least a 1GHz processor and 512MB of RAM. You'll need 2GB of storage free as well, plus USB host mode and HDMI out (MHL adapters will work, Canonical tells us), plus video acceleration. Older phones need not apply, basically.

It's worth repeating that this is your phone powering Ubuntu -- not the Ubuntu desktop on your phone. We're going to get a close look at Mobile World Congress next week in Barcelona, Spain. Stay tuned. For now, we've got Canonical's full press release after the break.

More: Ubuntu

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It appears that a U.S. customer has gotten his hands on an HP TouchPad running Android, courtesy of Qualcomm.  Details are a bit sketchy, but we can see an HP TouchPad, still in the protective film, apparently booting and running Froyo.  Could this be faked?  Certainly anything is possible. But in the video ( see it after the break) you can see and hear the folks holding the unit talk about the TouchPad booting up with Ubuntu of some sort, then springing into life with a plain vanilla Froyo build.  We also see the Quic logo, which stands for Qualcomm Innovation Center. 

It makes sense that the folks at Qualcomm would be able to get Android (whether natively or running in a chrooted environment via another OS) up and running, they designed the processor in the thing.  The real question is why they were working on this, and how did it end up outside the office in the hands of a customer?  Hopefully we can find an answer, and it helps all those working on a port of their own.  Hit the break for the short video.

Source: NotebookItalia (Italian)

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