Ubuntu for phones has been in the works for more than a year and a half, but the moment that Canonical has been waiting for is getting closer. An RTM version of Ubuntu Touch is now being made and the devs have started to land various improvements and changes for it.
Even now, the new Ubuntu OS can be tested on a few Nexus devices, which are officially supported, and a few others that might work. This is about to change in a few months’ time, when two companies called Meizu and Bq launch the first devices powered by this new operating system in China and Europe, respectively.
Why Canonical chose these two companies to launch the first Ubuntu devices is a different discussion and it has been explained already by Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of the company. The reality is that they can't just give users the new OS in its current state. It might be considered stable, but it's far from a marketable product.
This is the main reason Ubuntu developers chose to separate their work in two branches, the regular release channel, which is now called Utopic, and RTM, which hasn't been made public just yet. There are a number of other channels, including utopic-devel, but regular users are not the target audience for them.
“After asking our dogfooders to perform some testing new blockers have been revealed, sadly. This basically means no promotion for now... But so far landings continue normally. Robert just landed the Mir 0.6.0 which is now migrating to the archive. We will build image #186 as soon as it lands completely in the release pocket.”
“We have also started real-system testing of landings for ubuntu-rtm. Currently the first volunteer was Michał with his recent Unity8 landing. So far so good. After this landing goes through successfully, we'll be switching the spreadsheet and dashboard to support the new architecture,” said Ubuntu developer Łukasz Zemczak.
Right now there are some minor problems that need to be fixed by the devs, but stable updates land pretty often. Everything gets tested constantly, but this is a very young OS and numerous features wait in line to be implemented, which means that bugs show up all the time.
There is no precise launch date for the Meizu and Bq phones beside the already announced “this fall” window.
If you want to try Ubuntu for phones and you have a Nexus 4 device, you can do it right now. Just follow this comprehensive tutorial.