Ubuntu 13.10 mobile version reaches stable status, currently lacks quite a few features and apps

October 17, 2013
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ubuntu touch

Android users have been able to play around with Canonical’s mobile build of Ubuntu for a while now, but today Ubuntu “Saucy Salamander” 13.10 finally has reached ‘stable’ status. This means Ubuntu 13.10 is finally ready to go as an everyday platform – well at least almost.

The desktop variant seems fully ready, but the mobile build is still lacking in several key ways. First, there are almost no apps that are optimized for tablets and smartphones. Second, only a select amount of Android devices are able to run it. Third, no official Ubuntu phones will exist until next year.

Additionally, one of the biggest selling points isn’t there yet. We’re talking about the ability to transform Ubuntu to a traditional desktop experience when hooked to a TV or monitor, which is unfortunately not present in Ubuntu 13.10.

The problem is that the desktop/server version of Ubuntu still uses the older X Window system, while the mobile build requires the new mobile-friendly display server, Mir. The situation won’t change until Mir rolls out to the desktop/server version in Ubuntu 14.04, sometime in April.

The desktop at this stage doesn't fully support the new graphics architecture that is now enabled on the phone OS. It’s something we are working very rapidly towards.
Richard Collins
Canonical product manager for mobile

Beyond the lack of desktop ‘mode’ and scarce amount of apps, Canonical also admits that certain areas of usability still need to be addressed before Ubuntu is really ready to work as a true Android alternative.

Long story short: Ubuntu’s mobile efforts have come a long way since the project was first officially announced at the beginning of the year, but they’re still nowhere near close to where they need to be if Canonical is interested in seriously competing in the mobile arena.

What do you think of Ubuntu’s mobile ambition, still looking forward to Ubuntu on your mobile device or not?

Comments

  • MasterMuffin

    Still waiting for a build with working basic functions (for i9300) so that I can flash it without loosing an important call and being able to make a call if needed! Omnirom as 1st ROM and PA as second for now :)

  • Aria Saarkia

    I was considering flashing this to my Nexus 4, but then after not being able to find any consensus on how you flash it, and then finding out it doesn’t even support 3G, I realised it would be a total waste of my time. Hope they fix these pretty soon, they’re promising the world.

    • http://www.mhall119.com/ Michael Hall

      If you have an Ubuntu desktop, using the phablet-flash tool is the easiest way to flash it.

      Mobile data is also supported and working on the Nexus 4.

  • GasparIPerez

    If you can install the tablet version of Ubuntu on Windows 8 tablets, I’m switching over.

    • z Simmons

      I would think that you will be able to do that on an Intel Windows 8 tablet (assuming you had the technical competence). I think Windows RT tablets are more locked down, though.

  • parma

    I prefer canonical provide some preview/os simulation app on android playstore, to give glimpse of what kind of experience we can expect from ubuntu phone.

    or even better, an emulated ubuntu mobile that run above android, so I can give it a try before serious flashing. should be feasible on high-end hardware.

  • Timmy

    Love the desktop version and would like to flash it on an old iPad or maybe a Kindle Fire XD. Looking forward to more development.

    • z Simmons

      If you can flash it on an iPad, you are pro.

  • 3r0s

    Looking forward to have Ubuntu for PC/Phone/Tablet.
    Hope Ubuntu/Canonical will do it right.