Share this Story

Ubuntu for Android Gets Shown Off and Detailed, We Want This as Soon as Possible

Up until now, we have only heard rumors and seen still pictures of what Ubuntu running on an Android device will look like. Today however, a video has surfaced of the service up and running and it is exciting to see. It was promised that Ubuntu for Android “transforms your high-end phone into your productive desktop, whenever you need it.” While you might be skeptical at that claim, after watching the video your opinion might change. 

Unfortunately, the video is in Portugese because this was being shown at a tech conference in Brazil, but you do get a good idea of how the system works just by watching. Plugging the phone into the dock launches the Ubuntu system, which runs parallel to Android. It is not emulated by any means and gets to use all the power your phone has to offer. This means that system features like notifications can be swapped between Ubuntu and Android seamlessly. It makes Motorola’s Webtop system look silly.

Unfortunately, the caveat of this new development is that Ubuntu needs access to each phone’s drivers which means that OEMs like Samsung, Motorola and HTC would have to be interested in this to get it running at the speed that it should. Once that happens though, Ubuntu will give a new meaning to the Android phone dock.

Does this excite you? Would you use your phone as a desktop if it ran this smoothly?


Via: Unixmen

Cheers Dominick!

  • salinuxguy

    This would soooooooooo rock. Even if the phone couldn’t handle the task, the fact that you could have the phone instance of Ubuntu sync with a more powerful laptop/desktop means all your computing is seamless. I want bad!!!!!!!

  • Enchanted

    This is the smartest thing I have seen in the mass tech market since ever.
    Smart, smart, smart.

  • This is the best combination of mobile to desktop integration I’ve seen yet. One device two separate but united platforms. Apple has tried to do it by slowly integrating their App Store into all platforms, Microsoft is doing it by using the same platform across devices, but Ubuntu is smart by keeping the learning curve minimal while still providing a unified platform.

  • JavaDeveloper

    I’m looking forward to use Eclipse that way =)

  • M S

    I am eagerly waiting for this to come out. I have even deferred my laptop purchase. Let’s see…

  • As i understood wine apps (and lot of other x86 soft) will not work on it

  • This might be the single best hope of having massive desktop Linux popularity become a reality.

  • mikeym0p

    Am I the only be that would be super excited to see this on the n7 running miui. Activating miracast could boot ubuntu

  • “Up until now, we have only heard rumors and seen still pictures of what Ubuntu running on an Android device will look like.”

    That is not true. Video demos were shown back in february. Canonical presented Ubuntu for Android also at MWC.

    • daengbo

      I also played with it at Computex in Taiwan, where Canonical was showing it off to thousands of people.

      I was so nonplussed when I read this first line of the story. I didn’t know whether to trust a single detail after that point.

  • mikespace

    I found this months ago on the Ubuntu site… I hope that its released soon. I would love Linux desktop from my phone.

  • Guest

    No, I would not.

  • jeff419

    Just threw the entire contents of my wallet at my screen. Luckily I didn’t have any rocks in my wallet.

  • Anthony_Armando

    ubuntu needs to ditch unity. i hate it. absolutely hate it.

  • This is awesome and I can’t wait for the day when my phone literally is my PC.

  • Ethan

    Daaaaaaaamn. This is ridiculously impressive.

  • I was planning on having a Dual boot Android Ubuntu build on my Transformer Infinity but this is a much better option, I hope Asus is interested in becoming a partner!

  • mgamerz

    Why does nobody ever mention WebTop?

    • lye

      1. people mention it, other people just don’t read articles: “It makes Motorola’s Webtop system look silly.”

      2. because it blows

      • mgamerz

        Yes, it does blow, but a ton of the elements in Ubuntu for Android came straight from that. In fact, I think they are just building it on top of it.

        • lye

          Sounds like a settlement case.

          • mgamerz

            I think Ubuntu worked with Moto on the first one, and developed it, but did not market it as Ubuntu.

          • lye

            I think Samsung worked with apple on the iphone and developed the hardware, but it was not marketed as samsung.

          • mgamerz

            I’m not saying it is bad… It’s just that this was seen before. When I saw their prototype designs, it was almost a clone of WebTop with a a Ubuntu Skin. Look at the mobile phone view. I have an atrix and sometimes I wish it would get recognition for helping start this 🙁

          • lye

            You made webtop?!

          • mgamerz

            -_- I said Atrix…

          • lye

            i see

          • mgamerz


  • lye

    Would be a [email protected] game changer if it manufacturers played nice… which they won’t. Would destroy iphone.

  • So I just noticed the time in that picture is 12.04, which happens to be the version number of the latest release of Ubuntu

  • mmoreimi

    I’m as hard as a diamond in an ice storm right now

  • vitriolix


  • Allen Byrd

    As soon as Adobe software (namely Photoshop and Premiere) is supported on Linux, I’m going to Ubuntu. Immediately.

  • PyroHoltz

    This would be a great addition to a powerful phone, masquerading as a computer in your pocket.

  • imns

    I can see this running on a hacked ouya console. $100 for a fully functional replacement to my atom/ion powered nettop currently connected to my tv.

  • johnc7995

    Slightly unrelated, but anyone else waiting for Steam for Linux before they replace Windows 7 with Ubuntu as their daily OS?

    • vitriolix

      I already use Ubuntu as my primary, but that’s because I’m a developer and like the tools on Linux better than any other environment. Would definitely love to ditch my gaming dual boot partitions though once steam is out.

  • JoshuaNewsome

    I’ve been dreaming of this since I first got a smartphone. I am praying there is no trouble with OEMs getting this up on consumer devices…

  • Drivers are available for Nexus devices! LET’S GOOOOOOOO

  • vawwyakr

    Definitely super interested. As phones become powerful enough then they could (using designs like this) replace all personal computers. Its exactly what I have been looking for I just wish Ubuntu was working more on the Android side of it, that is getting it built into the reference design for Android in the nexus phones.

  • Vyrlokar

    I just wish they manage to get it to run on Transformer series tablets. Being able to switch at the drop of a hat between Android and Ubuntu when you plug in the keyboard dock (but make it configurable, so you can select if you want to auto-swap or not, and make it possible to launch and close Ubuntu manually), and these tablets become perfect netbook replacements.

    • TheWenger

      I would drop my Nexus 7 for a Transformer Infinity if that were to become possible.

      • Or you could keep the 7 and use wireless streaming to stream to your TV.

    • vawwyakr

      good idea, hadn’t considered that one before. I have a prime and I would totally love that ability, I’ve been struggling right now trying to decide if I really want a laptop since the prime cover all my laptop use cases except programming.

    • You guys need to watch the video with the captions on. It’s absolutely hilarious seeing the attempt at translation. “Collusus conflict.” “My son of sam in the department of justice.” Greatness!

      • Bigwavedave25

        Histerical! Nice.

      • it almost sounds like a song:
        That she was the scene,
        defeat the key.
        And that is sort of thing
        reported: the Sim City discipline.

        Did not want to be a king.
        They want me to customer.

        Comparisons, idealistic.
        Needed to keep it.

        Precisely what expenses?
        Ones that didn’t make it to be.
        Was that what he had said? Something else.
        “I think she’s a statistic. Responsible, principle supporters.”

        And listening to you looks cool just missing at sea.

        The uprising technicalities connecting with Simpson’s ex.

        Visit, because that’s all.

        One Republican, unstoppable, unable.
        Thanks for joining us.
        Colossal conflict, if need be, wasn’t.
        “The Only Thing To Do” is, you know, basically legitimate now.

        My Son of Sam grievances: Department of Justice, I’ll see you soon.

        Based on those people, jump on.
        You know that I should also make it.

        Occupied Woodstock.
        Kelsey Grammer.


        And etc.

      • YF

        I was at the event… too bad I missed this demo.

        For all of you that don’t speak Portuguese, watch one of the English versions:

    • Alix
  • Does anyone know what phone he is using? Because if we can find out which phone we will know that the manufacturer of that phone is onboard with updating the drivers to allow for the Ubuntu OS. Looks kinda HTC Rezoundish but its not got the red accents.

    • It’s definitely a Moto phone. you can make out the brand name at the top at about 0:19 if you’re in 720p but I can’t make out the bottom, and I don’t know my Moto phones very well.

      • It looks like the bottom is an AT&T logo and looking at 0:19 it looks like motorola on the top.

        • That’s what I was thinking. but wasn’t sure.

          • Thanks all, and hopefully that’s a good indication that Motorola will probably be one of the first to push updated drivers out to their phones.

          • The guy clearly says Atrix dois… Atrix 2

    • He’s using a Motorola Atrix 2

    • All of the videos I’ve ever seen posted, this one and on the ubuntu for android homepage are all Motorola devices.

  • RedPandaAlex

    I think this would be better handled at the Google level. I think much like Android expands to a tablet-sized user interface when loaded on a tablet, it should be able to expand to a desktop-sized user interface when plugged into an external monitor, a user interface that allows apps to be freely moved and resized.

    Lets say you use libra office as shown in the video, but then you want to make a small change on your phone. You’d have to pull up a different app to do that and worry about file management, syncing data between ubunutu apps and Android apps, etc. If you just have a Google Docs app that has a phone-optimized UI, a tablet-optimized UI, and a desktop-optimized UI, it can make your workflow a lot more streamlined.

    • sammy sasoon

      if this whole thing takes off im sure google would buy it and do just that and yes i believe you r right as no matter how much i love ubuntu it still wouldnt be able to sync completely seamlessly on all levels

    • With Libre Office for Android in the works, a simple Google Drive sync would take care of things

    • bazinga73

      To be honest, Ubuntu is really fine and stable when it comes to desktop UI. To reach the same level, it would take years for Android. I would rather keep this Ubuntu.

    • daengbo

      Eric Schmidt stated about a year and a half ago that Android and Chrome OS would eventually merge (“when the technology matures”). I assume that docking is in Android’s future.

  • Liderc

    I’ve always thought this was the future of computing. We’ll simply take our phones from our desktop dock attached to 30” monitors and take them to work and put them in a dock to our 30” monitor there. Tablets will still have their place, but once desktop functions can be achieved on the hardware in a phone, there will be no need to have a big tower anymore.

    Laptops will most likely still be around, but the hardware could simply be replaced by our smart phone’s and just using the monitor and keyboard like the moto lapdocks.

    • I don’t know if that’s where the future of computing is *actually* going, but that’s my dream world too. I’ve wanted that scenario ever since I picked up the HTC Droid Incredible the first time.

      • Liderc

        I don’t see any reason why it couldn’t. We essentially double our processing power every 2 years in phones, so it’s likely we’ll catch up to desktop capabilities within the next 6-10 years easily.

        • For *most* desktop uses, I agree…but gaming is a different matter entirely. Until the major players in the PC/Console arena make equivalent games for phone->dock->monitor scenarios, the Windows towers will still be around. Phone and tablet gaming has made leaps and bounds, but it’s still not PC/Console ready.

          • daengbo

            Gaming is steadily moving toward consoles.

          • Sad, but true, I think. I’ll be a PC gamer hold-out until it is no more though.

          • Timothy McClure

            There will always be hobbyists, but hobbyists don’t make up most of the market.

        • frodo

          uhh, and desktops would approach small supercomputers of today in 6 to 10 years.. i hate to be a downer here but desktops are here to stay. that is what gets the real work done. you dont develope on a cell phone or tablet- if you do you need another hobby. ubuntu has extended my computers , made computing fun and been a real thorn in MS stragedy. but phones are gadgets. yes, phones are gadgets.. i can sleep, eat, talk and live without them unlike many. they are designed to make you feel way more important and wanted than you really are.. period.

  • htowngtr

    Should work great on the Nexus


    • It’s open source. . .

      • lye


        • juliusaugustus


      • SchwannyT

        “SHUT UP AND LET ME BUY YOU A BEER!” then.

  • 1MPR0BUS

    “Would you use your phone as a desktop if it ran this smoothly?”

    Yes and No. It really depends on how the user treats a desktop. My desktop at home is for gaming/development/3D processing so even if Ubuntu ran smoothly on my Galaxy Nexus the likelihood of me using it as a full time desktop is slim because it wouldn’t meet the requirements that I need for desktop computing.


    There are some handy tools in Ubuntu that I wouldn’t mind having direct access to at the flick of a switch. Imagine if you had this hooked up via HDMI to your actual Desktop Monitor with a Bluetooth Keyboard and Mouse. Any time you needed to quickly hop onto Ubuntu its literally right there at the tap of the screen on your phone rather than having to dual boot or run a Virtual Machine of Ubuntu.

    All in all its very interesting but the capabilities of the Phones Hardware in correspondence to the Ubuntu Operating System will really make or break the usefulness of an application like this.

    • MikeM

      Definitely not as my primary desktop but its a great feature to have. Say a hotel room TV with HDMI?

      • 1MPR0BUS

        This is exactly my thought. On the go or on travel for work it is awesome. For home use we’ll have to see what kind of functionality and performance that we get.

        • zeke

          Did that this summer at a conference using the hacked Motorola Bionic webtop. No messing with opening my carryon for TSA – just brought my phone, a HDMI cable, and a BT keyboard. Didn’t even need the hotel wifi!

          But since Moto killed the webtop and Google just gutted the company, I think this is my only hope going forward.

          This is really a killer app that could bring more users to Libreoffice and Linux in general!

    • AJs

      I bet with a tegra 3 chip set you could run some pretty good games like counter strike source or league of legends. Probably nothing to intesne like crysis, but still, moble lan party!

  • Seth McDonald

    I would definitely use this.

  • Eric Richardson

    I want this in my life.

  • ” It makes Motorola’s Webtop system look silly.” It’s also 2 years later and clearly Webtop was the inspiration for such a system.

    • RedPandaAlex

      Also, today’s webtop is just the tablet UI of Android–no more of that firefox stuff.

      • Allen Byrd

        Eww. I was expecting more from Firefox OS. It doesn’t look good so far. It’s like a crappy combo of iOS and Android.

        • kixofmyg0t

          He meant Firefox was the Browser. FirefoxOS however doesn’t look good at all.

          • Allen Byrd

            Ah, okay. Thanks.

  • Today however… yeah, if today is the 30th of July then yes today
    Published on Jul 30, 2012 by ubunterobr

  • Defnitely interested 🙂