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.
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?