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Ubuntu Developer Preview to Arrive February 21 for Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4


If you are either an Ubuntu enthusiast or developer looking to get your hands on the new touch-based Ubuntu smartphone OS, then February 21 is your big day. The images and open source code will become available for Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 devices through their Wiki site. As an interesting bonus, attendees of MWC in Barcelona can choose to have their devices flashed with the new OS directly by the Canonical team. 

Any of you devs excited to get your hands on Ubuntu finally?

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 wiki.ubuntu.com/TouchInstallProcess 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.”

Go to wiki.ubuntu.com/TouchInstallProcess to download Touch Developer Preview of Ubuntu from Thursday 21st February.
Go to developer.ubuntu.com to download the SDK to develop applications for Ubuntu.
Go to http://design.ubuntu.com/apps to read the Apps Design Guide giving advice about designing and building beautiful and usable apps for Ubuntu on the phone.
Visit Canonical at Mobile World Congress: Booth Number: 81D30, App Planet Hall 8.1.
About Canonical & Ubuntu

Canonical is the company behind Ubuntu and the leading provider of services for Ubuntu deployments in the enterprise. With global teams of developers, support staff and engineering centres, Canonical is uniquely positioned to help partners and customers make the most of Ubuntu. It also operates Ubuntu One, a cross-platform personal cloud service for consumers. Canonical is a privately held company.

Ubuntu is a free, open-source platform for client, server and cloud computing. It is the most widely used Linux on the top 1000 websites by traffic, the reference platform for OpenStack deployments, the most popular guest OS on public clouds, and ships on PCs from Dell, Lenovo, HP and other brands. Since its launch in 2004, it has become the preferred choice for open desktop and scale-out computing, from Fortune 500 companies to hardware makers, content providers, software developers and consumers.

Via: Engadget

  • Pedro

    Now I have a use for my retired Gnex!
    Test Ubuntu and decide if it’s worthy of my true Nexus 4.

  • hopefully someone can make a VZW galaxy nexus rom out of this

  • Awww.. now that’s the news i was waiting for!!

  • Nicholassss

    Ubuntu phone might steal my heart from android if things keep looking this good.

    • Aaron

      I don’t know how to feel. I’m so torn right now. One thing is for certain, Ubuntu is looking way better than BB10 and WP8.

      • Tony Allen

        I know that the app selection is going to leave you yearning for more.

        • Aaron

          Probably, but Ubuntu is still looking more innovative than the “me too” BB10 and more attractive than those boxy live tiles on WP8.

  • I want Ubuntu and Android to have a baby.

    • shecalledmejay

      well Valentines day was yesterday, hopefully Android didn’t screw up and got lucky 😉

      • Otto Dieffenbach

        Then we’ll have to wait nine months till October for the official release.

  • David Narada Brown

    i think i will allow more experience people the opportunity to play with this before i flash it. just want to be aware of what i could be losing an a method to restoring android afterwards. after all i am just a FLASHER. did that come out right?

    • Butters619

      Since both Android and Ubuntu are built on Linux kernals, I’m sure if would flash like any other ROM. Write to the system and boot partitions. It might replace recovery as well, but I’m guessing they left a way to go back to Android.

      And they mention that is should be easy to port to other phones, so yeah probably not much different than flashing a ROM.

      • itznfb

        One of the major differences between Android and Ubuntu is that Ubuntu runs on bare hardware instead of inside a JVM. I would imagine that it needs a different bootloader.

        • Dave

          The JVM is loaded by the OS layer, the bootloader is only necessary to boot the kernel, which is Linux in both cases. At that point, the kernel takes over.

      • Dave

        It should work just like Ubuntu for the Nexus 7, which leaves the bootloader untouched. You simply use the factory image to flash back to Android.

    • brando56894

      You’ll always be able to get Android back, you just have to flash the factory image from your PC.

  • brkshr

    I will be trying this!

  • derek connolly

    I am assuming the Galaxy Nexus installer will be for GSM Gnex only.

    • polioman

      They really should clarify this, but yeah, probably GSM only.

    • snowblind64

      Hard to say. You’re probably right, though the VZW Galaxy Nexus is identical to the GSM version in all regards except for the radio basebands.

    • itznfb

      In one of the other articles a few weeks ago I remember seeing it would be for GSM only. Which is expected.

      • Tony Allen

        I’m wondering if you’ll be able to flash for the VZW GNex anyway, just minus phone functions, to get an idea for the OS with the hardware. Similar to the way I can flash Wingray and Stingray ROMs on my Wi-Fi Xoom and it works no matter what.

        Would be a blast to tinker with this on my VZW Nexus now that my Note II is my fulltime device.

        • brando56894

          I want to try it on my VZW Gnex also, it shouldn’t be that hard to port the RIL considering it’s commonly done today in Android.

        • michael arazan

          You can probably get it to work on the Gnex for vzw, but it probably won’t get phone or data connection afterwards, maybe wifi. If you have a second device it would be worth a try.

        • itznfb

          There shouldn’t be any reason you couldn’t flash it onto a VZW Gnex. It’ll most likely turn it into a small WiFi tablet though. That’s IF the WiFi still works. I’m not sure if it shares the same hardware with the GSM version. Either way…. I’m sure the dev community will get a port working.

    • Otto Dieffenbach

      I’m hoping they noticed the way that vzw is treating their nexus like a bastard son instead of what could have been the second coming of the OG and at least put some work into the LTE radios and differences in hardware.

  • MikeCiggy

    Wondering if they are using the same type of bootloader Android uses. Would it be possible to backup android, flash this, play, then restore my android backup. I could see big problems with the internal storage format though.

    • brkshr

      I would imagine you could at least flash stock android images again & restore the nandroid. I’m betting Ubuntu will make it easier than that though.

      • PhoenixPath

        aubi? (wubi for Android)

        • brkshr

          That’s kinda what I was thinking.

    • Dave

      If you’ve ever restored the factory image, you will notice that it sets up the partitions during that process. Like I said, I have experience with the Ubuntu build for the Nexus 7, and that is how it works in that case.