One of Linux's biggest players is heading to mobile. The new Ubuntu has a gesture heavy interface and will be entering the market amid a number of mature operating systems. We have reservations about how it will fair in the crowded mobile market, but for now Canonical's open-source OS is still a work in progress. Follow along here as Canonical works to bring mobile Ubuntu into consumers' hands.
Feb 23, 2016
The most powerful Ubuntu phone is still not good enough
If there's one thing tech enthusiasts love more than an underdog, it's an underdog with high specs. The Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition is just such a device. It's powered by the same 14nm Samsung Exynos processor as the flagship Galaxy S6. It has a 21-megapixel camera with laser-assisted phase-detect autofocus and a Hi-Fi audio chip from ESS. Clad in an aluminum unibody shell and sporting an AMOLED display, it's as modern and good looking as any smartphone out here at Mobile World Congress. But it runs Ubuntu, and that makes it too much of an underdog.Read Article >
Jun 2, 2015
The second Ubuntu phone is coming out this month
Canonical, the creator of the Ubuntu operating system, took a long two years to get its first smartphone to market after first detailing its plans in 2013. Its next phone won't take anywhere near that long. Canonical today announced that the second Ubuntu phone — the Aquaris E5 HD Ubuntu Edition — is coming in mid-June, only four months after the Aquaris E4.5 UE saw release. Like its predecessor, the new device is being built by Spanish manufacturer BQ, but Canonical promises the Aquaris E5 HD features some improvements over its older sibling.Read Article >
Primary amongst these is the larger screen. Where Canonical's first phone had an underwhelming 4.5-inch screen capable of qHD resolution (540 x 960), the Aquaris E5 HD Ubuntu Edition houses a 5-inch IPS HD display, working at a resolution of 720 x 1280. While there's no LTE capability and the newer Aquaris uses the same MediaTek 1.3GHz quad-core chip as before, the phone comes with more built-in storage: 16GB to the E4.5 HD's 8GB. It also boasts two cameras — one 5-megapixel on the front, and one 13-megapixel on the rear — and two SIM slots so users can switch between two different operators.
Mar 4, 2015
The Ubuntu phones are an audacious attempt to take on Android
The mobile journey of Linux-based OS Ubuntu has felt like an eternity. Canonical, the company that leads development on the platform, first announced the smartphone OS back in 2013; after an unsuccessful dalliance with crowdfunding, Canonical said over a year ago that phones from BQ and Meizu would launch with the platform in 2014. That goal was missed, but the BQ device was made available a few weeks ago, and it's on show at Mobile World Congress alongside a Meizu counterpart.Read Article >
Ubuntu is late to the smartphone party, and not in a way that could be described as fashionable. But Canonical remains bullish on the future of the platform. "We're taking on Android," says mobile VP Cristian Parrino with a confident grin.
Feb 6, 2015
The Ubuntu phone is real and going on sale next weekRead Article >
It's been a long road, spanning more than two years of adversity, but Ubuntu finally has a smartphone to call home. It's called the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition and is built by Spanish company BQ. This little-known manufacturer of tablets and e-readers is adapting one of its Android handsets to run Ubuntu and selling it for €169.90 (just over $190) in a series of flash sales across Europe. It's an unusual way to release a phone: followers of the @ubuntu and @bqreaders Twitter accounts will be the first to be alerted any time the Aquaris E4.5 UE becomes available to buy.
Feb 19, 2014
First Ubuntu smartphones launching this year
Ubuntu smartphones are finally coming to market. Canonical has announced that Meizu and bq will both begin selling Ubuntu smartphones before the end of the year. The phones will be made available globally, though given the manufacturers on board, they'll likely be targeted toward emerging markets, where Ubuntu will have an easier time standing out beside iOS and Android. There are no details yet on what the phones will be like, but we could learn more next week at Mobile World Congress. Engadget also reports that Canonical is also promising that two manufacturers with "household names" will begin making Ubuntu phones in 2015.Read Article >
It's been a long road to this point for Canonical. A mobile version of Ubuntu was first announced nearly two years ago, and its actual launch date has seemingly been up in the air since then. The OS became available to developers about a year ago, and last summer Canonical attempted and failed to crowdfund a particularly high-end launch device for the platform. Now Canonical is going with a much lower profile launch, but it's still gained a good amount of awareness on the way here. According to Engadget, Canonical also aims to have the top 50 mobile apps running on Ubuntu by the end of the year — an ambitious feat that would bolster the platform in a major way.
Sep 19, 2013
Ubuntu's smartphone OS will be ready to launch on October 17thRead Article >
The Ubuntu Edge smartphone may have missed its crowdfunding goal by a huge amount, but the Ubuntu Touch operating system is far from dead — it now has a planned release date of October 17th. That's according to a blog post from Canonical employee and QA community coordinator Nicholas Skaggs, who said that Ubuntu is "committed to delivering an image" of the OS for supported devices (Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10). That's backed up by a post on the Ubuntu Phone Team mailing list that confirms "phone 1.0 will be a reality" in four and a half weeks. In the meantime, both posts implore interested users to download the current images and report bugs to the QA team to help them get everything sorted out before the October launch. As for when we might see official Ubuntu Touch phones, Canonical promised them for early next year.
Aug 22, 2013
Ubuntu Edge smartphone misses its crowdfunding goal by over $19 million
When Canonical launched its crowdfunding campaign for the Ubuntu Edge smartphone last month it set an ambitious goal: raising $32 million through Indiegogo. As it turns out, that goal was a little too ambitious, as the campaign has wrapped up nearly $20 million short. After 30 days, Canonical was able to raise just over $12.8 million from more than 27,000 backers.Read Article >
While the campaign rocketed to nearly $3.4 million within the first 24 hours, the influx of donations quickly slowed at that point. It led Ubuntu to reset the pricing scheme several times. Under the original structure, the first 5,000 backers would receive a phone for $600, while everyone thereafter would need to pay $830. Limited tiers of $625, $675, and $725 were eventually added to the mix, and in the end a $695 tier was put into place for the remaining duration of the campaign. Even with the new tiers, the campaign stood at only $8.3 million as of August 7th. It is important to remember that in the context of crowdfunded campaigns the Ubuntu Edge actually has been quite successful — breaking $12 million is a considerable achievement — but that's little consolation when the project doesn't get funded in the first place.
Jul 22, 2013
Can the internet raise $32 million to build the Ubuntu Edge smartphone?
Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, is launching a crowdfunding campaign to finance its first Ubuntu smartphone, the Ubuntu Edge. For the company to succeed with its plans, it'll need to raise $32 million in just under a month. The Ubuntu Edge will be a 4.5-inch 720p smartphone with a multi-core processor, 4GB of RAM, and an unprecedented 128GB of storage. It'll be LTE-ready and run the touch-optimized Ubuntu Linux, of course, which we've had the opportunity to play with a few times over the past months. Users committing to either $600 today or $830 thereafter will get an Ubuntu Edge in May 2014.Read Article >
Jul 22, 2013
Ubuntu Edge phone emerges ahead of 'groundbreaking' Canonical event (update)
Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux, looks set to become the latest software maker to launch its own smartphone. Renders of a device labelled "Ubuntu Edge" were shared on the company's website before an Ubuntu event later today. The images depict a harshly angular device with a distinctive wedge shape at the top, two volume keys, and a power key. There's also another key at the top, but it's not clear what that'll be for. There are no physical buttons for navigation — the OS is gesture-based, after all. Here's our early preview of the OS from Canonical's January launch event:Read Article >
Jul 11, 2013
Verizon becomes potential launch partner for Ubuntu phone
Ubuntu is slowly making its way toward consumers' smartphones, and it looks like Verizon has taken an interest. The telecom giant has become a member of the Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group, a number of companies partnering with the open-source operating system's developer, Canonical, to give feedback on the software. Members are also given the chance to be one of Ubuntu's mobile launch partners — though that doesn't mean that Verizon will necessarily be one when the platform launches next year.Read Article >
Verizon isn't the only big name partner on board to help out Canonical: T-Mobile's parent, Deutsche Telekom, is among the group, as is China Unicom and seven others. However, Ubuntu itself still has a little ways to go. The operating system finally landed in developers' hands back in February, but our early looks at it weren't as thrilling as Canonical might have hoped. Canonical is still aiming to reach consumers early next year, and it at least looks like the developer will have some carriers to speak with about supporting its new OS.
Feb 21, 2013
Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview for Nexus devices now available
As promised, the Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview for smartphones and tablets is now available for download. The Developer Preview is the precursor to the full launch, pencilled in for early next year, and is likely to be unstable at times. We previewed the phone UI last month, and more recently had a look at the tablet UI running on a Nexus 10 tablet.Read Article >
Feb 20, 2013
Ubuntu for tablets hands-on: an intriguing mix of Windows 8, Android, and Kindle Fire
Canonical unveiled its Ubuntu phone OS last month, and a tablet friendly version this week. The company is betting on creating an operating system that will mimic its desktop OS on mobile platforms. Tomorrow, a developer preview will be released for Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 owners to install and try out. I got the chance to take a closer look at the operating system today, and it's clear Canonical is mixing together the best bits from its rivals.Read Article >
Feb 19, 2013
Ubuntu phones won't ship till 2014, might be locked down by carriers
Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported that smartphones running Ubuntu Linux would ship in October of this year. Ubuntu boss Mark Shuttleworth says that's a mistake. Today, the founder clarified that while a smartphone friendly version of the operating system — Ubuntu 13.10 — will be widely available in October with developer preview builds available this week, phones likely still won't ship until early 2014. Though the OS will be ready for phones this year, he explained that the devices themselves would probably still need months of carrier testing.Read Article >
As we've discussed, that's a long time to wait for a new operating system given how fast the mobile industry moves, but timing might not be the only thorn in Canonical's side. During a conference call about Ubuntu's new touchscreen tablet interface, Shuttleworth told us that the company is working with a mystery OEM partner on two devices, both low-end and high-end smartphones, but that those devices might be branded and controlled to some degree by the cellular carrier that ends up selling them. It's a strategy similar to that of Tizen, a rival Linux-based operating system.
Feb 19, 2013
Ubuntu Touch Preview coming to Nexus tablets this Thursday with Windows 8-like multitasking
After unveiling its phone OS last month, Canonical is today launching its new tablet-ready Ubuntu interface. Like the phone experience, Ubuntu for tablets is optimized for touch, relying on edge gestures for navigation — there are no physical buttons required. If you've seen our hands-on with Ubuntu for phones, everything will look fairly familiar: the main interface itself is similar to the phones OS, with the same focus on a universal hub for search, apps, and content, while the notification center utilizes sideways swipes to give you quick access to things like settings, mail, and tweets.Read Article >
The tablet UI is based on the same OS and code — albeit optimized for ARM and x86 Atom chips — as the regular and phone versions of Ubuntu, which Canonical says enables "true device convergence." That means if you plug your phone or tablet into a TV, you’ll have access to either the PC or TV Ubuntu interface and apps. Canonical teases that a PadFone-like device could essentially be all you'll ever need — phone, tablet, media streamer, and PC.
Feb 15, 2013
Ubuntu Developer Preview for Nexus 4, Galaxy Nexus arrives February 21st
As was promised, enthusiasts and developers will be able to flash Ubuntu onto their Galaxy Nexus' before the end of the month. Canonical has announced that the Developer Preview of the new operating system will be released on February 21st. The surprise, however, is that the company has added support for the Nexus 4, and users with the latest Nexus phone will be able to download and flash Ubuntu onto their devices on the 21st as well. Additionally, the source code for the operating system and the tools needed to flash phones will come out on that date.Read Article >
We used the mobile version of Ubuntu on a Galaxy Nexus last month when it was first announced, and we found the gesture-heavy operating system attractive and unique — if a bit sluggish. The first phone designed for Ubuntu will come out this October, but Canonical is making sure to get the operating system into developers' hands early to secure as many apps as possible before that date.
Jan 3, 2013
The Ubuntu phone has a speed problem, and I'm not talking about lag
As software launches go, yesterday's announcement of Ubuntu for phones was quite the success for parent company Canonical. Having already promised to deliver their Linux operating system to mobile platforms, Ubuntu's makers weren't really breaking any new ground, yet their small-scale event stirred imaginations and conversations among mobile phone users. Perhaps it's a sign of our growing discontent with the iOS-Android duopoly that has gripped the market, or maybe it's a symptom of Ubuntu's own popularity as the leading Linux OS on the desktop, but the Ubuntu phone has quickly become a lightning rod for refreshed discourse on the future of mobile software.Read Article >
It's a shame, then, that it appears to be tracking a terminal trajectory into irrelevance.
Jan 2, 2013
Hands-on with Ubuntu's brand-new, gesture-based phone OS
Our top London agent Vlad Savov just got his hands on the new Ubuntu phone OS and was able to get a quick look at some of the new OS's trademark features, including its new gesture-based interface. There's a bit of lag while swiping through the phone's different panels, but overall it looks to be quite the attractive and intelligent interface. Unlike nearly all of the major phone operating systems, there's no "home" button to speak of in Ubuntu — it's all based on gestures.Read Article >
There's also no "lock screen" to speak of; users can just swipe in from the edges to access their content any time, rather than having to get past a gatekeeper sort of screen before accessing their apps. Swiping down from the top can bring up a variety of menus, including messaging and settings, depending on where exactly you swipe. All in all, it's an attractive-looking OS, and Galaxy Nexus users should be able to flash the Ubuntu phone OS images to install for users soon. However, the first real shipping devices won't be available until early 2014.
Jan 2, 2013
Ubuntu phone OS announced, first devices shipping in early 2014
As already teased and promised, today Canonical is taking the wraps off the mobile version of Ubuntu, which is built around the existing Android kernel and drivers, but doesn't use a Java Virtual Machine and promises to use "the full power of the phone." Supporting both ARM and x86 processors, the Ubuntu phone OS will be compatible enough to let Android phone makers run it on their devices with minimal adaptation.Read Article >
Ubuntu for Android, announced in February of last year, will be the first step to getting this new ecosystem out to shipping devices, which Canonical chief Mark Shuttleworth says will definitely arrive at some point during this year. While no carrier or manufacturer support has yet been announced, the first Ubuntu for Android handset should be provided by a "high-end" Android device maker.
Jan 1, 2013
Ubuntu touch-based OS teased for January 2ndRead Article >
A countdown teaser has been posted to the Ubuntu homepage that’s currently set to expire on January 2nd. The banner bears a "So close, you can almost touch it" tagline, implying an announcement based on touch support for the OS. That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise considering Canonical’s recent hints at the future of Ubuntu. In a Slashdot Q&A last month, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth made it fairly clear that a cross-device OS was on the cards, with full mobile and tablet support set for Ubuntu 14.04 sometime in 2014.
Feb 21, 2012
Ubuntu for Android hands-on: a full Linux operating system when you dock your smartphone
Canonical is announcing its Ubuntu for Android platform today, a fusion of both Google's mobile operating system and the Linux-based Ubuntu desktop OS. While you're on the move it works like any other Android phone, but when you place the handset into a dock, it becomes a fully-fledged version of Ubuntu with Unity UI. Canonical sees devices like this as the future of personal computing, giving you access to all of your data wherever you are and changing the user interface in response to the situation you use it in.Read Article >
For those of you who are reminded of Motorola's Webtop interface, you aren't far off — Canonical is using an Atrix 2 with modified software to demonstrate the concept. However, Ubuntu for Android offers far more functionality than the browser-oriented Webtop. The two halves of the phone are deeply integrated, designed to make switching between Ubuntu and Android as seamless as possible.