Ubuntu for Android

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.

Android Central at Mobile World Congress 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.

Youtube link for mobile viewing

Reader comments

Ubuntu for Android at Mobile World Congress


This is fantastic and I hope I can get it on my Galaxy Nexus sometime however imagine how cool if we could get OS X!

I could be wrong, but that probably won't be possible until Apple releases a consumer version of OS X for ARM chips. Apparently they have already ported Darwin to ARM internally but to the best of my knowledge have not released a full-blown version of OS X for said chips. HOWEVER, things would probably change if you were to get your hands on one of those shiny new Intel phones ;)

Not sure what there is on OS X that is a draw for an android user...The only things OS X is actually good at that Ubuntu doesn't do is media editing...which is going to be very poor performance on a smart phone.

If you just want the look and feel of OS X, then I'm not sure why Ubuntu doesn't fill that void. It's essentially the same as OS X but with a different menu system. It's been a long time since I used Ubuntu but I'm almost positive I hacked up a application dock at the bottom to look like OS X.

Where is Jerry???? Did Phil leave him stateside? Get Mr H a Segway for next years MWC, in fact get two, so Phil and Jerry can race them!

Ok, I want this and that new ASUS Padfone on the same wavelength. Someone go and get these two groups an empty conference room in Barcelona now!

This looks awesome and can't wait to see it, a better alternative to hacking up the webtop function on my RAZR. I just hope they preserve the integration with contacts and phone apps and such for those of us who switch to a different window manager, as Unity is definitely not for me.

I'm a big Moto fan, and I'm hoping drops their Webtop in favor of this. I already have Ubuntu on my desktop, so this would be great. My only reservation is that I really don't like work of setting up a new phone ever 1-2 years, and this would make it even more of a pain.

Yea will we be able to do this on say, the TF101? Cause I have and SGSIIE4GT and it is more than capable of handling the software but it doesn't have an hdmi out port.

There was a flash of what looked like the Windows boot screen, which makes me think they used a virtual machine of some sort. I would imagine that it would be on the slow side, though, since they would have to emulate x86 on ARM. Though it would make for a good tech demo, so I wouldn't doubt that that is exactly what they're doing...

I think that was the part where they said you could use it as a thin client to connect to a terminal server. So, what you saw Ubuntu connecting with a terminal server and starting the application remotely.

freaking balls!!! every time i see this i get goose bumps!!! As soon as this comes out for the gnex im trying it. Even in alpha ill still give it a go. Gonna have to buy the mhl adapter though :(

The only thing that concerns me about this is the need for a custom kernel. Motorola.. I'm mostly looking at you.

So the only question I have is if I run Ubuntu through my phone, will it be using my phones data to connect to the web? I did notice in the video the wifi icon in the upper right screen so I assume you can connect to wifi, but if I can use my phones data plan that makes it even better, at least without having to use wifi tether of course.

Now what I'm really waiting for is for someone to come out with a Ubuntu phone distro and get it running on the phone's screen. Not sure what will come from all this, but it's interesting (perhaps moreso on tablets where hooking up to a monitor becomes less important).