Developer preview of Ubuntu hits Nexus 4, Galaxy Nexus on Feb. 21

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.

Android Central at Mobile World Congress

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.

Touch Developer Preview of Ubuntu to be published on 21 February 2013

  • Touch Developer Preview of Ubuntu for Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 will be available
  • Daily update mechanism to follow progress in Ubuntu
  • Canonical will flash phones at MWC for industry, developers and enthusiasts
  • Preview SDK and App Design Guides already available for developers building touch apps for Ubuntu

London, 14th February 2013:  Images and open source code for the Touch Developer Preview of Ubuntu will be published on Thursday 21st February, supporting the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 smartphones.

They are intended for enthusiasts and developers, to familiarise themselves with Ubuntu’s smartphone experience and develop applications on spare handsets. Tools that manage the flashing of the phone will be available on the same day in the Ubuntu archives, making it easy to keep a device up to date with the latest version of the Touch Developer Preview.

Attendees of Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, 25th - 28th February can have their phones flashed to Ubuntu by Canonical team members at the Ubuntu stand, booth number 81D30, App Planet Hall 8.1, where Ubuntu will be shown on a range of devices.

The code release is a milestone in the development program for Ubuntu’s phone experience, and enables developers to port the platform to other devices. “Our platform supports a wide range of screen sizes and resolutions. Developers who have experience bringing up phone environments will find it relatively easy to port Ubuntu to current handsets” said Pat McGowan, who leads the integration effort that produced the images being released. “We look forward to adding support for additional devices for everyday testing and experimentation.”

The install process and supported device list are maintained at and will be updated as new devices are added.

The release also marks the start of a new era for Ubuntu, with true convergence between devices. When complete, the same Ubuntu code will deliver a mobile, tablet, desktop or TV experiences depending on the device it is installed on, or where it is docked.  Ubuntu 13.10 (due in October) will include a complete entry-level smartphone experience.

Canonical has published a Preview SDK and App Design Guides to allow developers to create applications for the full range of Ubuntu platforms. The toolkit provides a range of documented templates to enable native applications to be created quickly and easily. The App Design Guides explain how these templates can be used to design and build beautiful and usable apps. Blackberry Touch developers will be familiar with the Qt/QML environment, which supports rich native touch apps. Developers will not need to cross-compile or package applications differently for phone, tablet, PC and TV. One platform serves all four, a single application binary can do the same.

On Ubuntu, native and web or HTML5 applications sit as equal citizens and so those developers already developing HTML5 applications will easily gain support for Ubuntu.

“This release marks the threshold of wider engagement - both with industry and community.” says Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu. “For developers, contributors and partners, there is now a coherent experience that warrants attention. The cleanest, most stylish mobile interface around.”


  • This is probably on for the GSM Galaxy Nexus(at least officially), but when I got my Galaxy Note, I kept my Nexus around in hopes that someone would get it running on the Sprint version.
  • It doesn't take much to make a GSM Android ROM work on the CDMA variants. While the solution might be a bit different I'd imagine it'd still be fairly easy to do so for Ubuntu even if it's not official.
  • Awesome!
  • would love to multiboot this with android on my nexus 4 :D
  • And with all the leftover storage space, you can have Angry Birds and an mp3. :)
  • ROFL!!
  • Hahaha! So true.
  • I think thats possible, but it would require software between bootloader and both systems
  • It's definitely possible, I can dual boot Android and Ubuntu on my Nexus 7 with the help of the Multiboot patch available on XDA developers...the kernel would have to support it but it's just a small merge that any kernel developer can do,
  • Sure will try this on my N4.
  • Guna finally dust off my GNex for this.
  • w00t!!!! OMG, I can't wait!! My n4 is getting sooooo much love this week!!! :D
  • Will this be able to run on other phones in the future? My spare s2 is perfect to develop this.
  • They mentioned October as the official or non Dev release date and felt that support for more phones would occur then. That's the meaning I took from the article. .
  • Anyone know if this will work with the Verizon Nexus version?
  • most likely not "out of the box"... someone will have to port it (and they will)... It will be a simple port to migrate from GSM to CDMA, so it should happen rather quickly.
  • There's no guarantee Ubuntu Phone OS even supports CDMA.
  • Again, people will port it if it does not. Simple simple.
  • I can only HOPE that Verizon will get an official phone with OS on.
  • I can't wait for the 24th
  • I really don't understand (beyond nerd-adventurism) why anyone would want an Ubuntu phone. There will be practically no ecosystem for it, massive fragmentation beyond anything Android suffers, and there are already several solid options available with far more support and incentive to succeed- Android (Stock,Touchwiz, Sense, Optimus, Xperia, etc) iOS, Windows Phone 8, Tizen, and Blackberry QNX. Choice is always good, but again, I can't see more than just a few thousand nerds worldwide taking this serious.
  • If any other open source mobile distribution can make it, it'll be Ubuntu.
  • Alright, It's the 21st. Where is it?