Canonical has finally launched its Ubuntu for Phones OS, but so far it's just a Touch Developer Preview for enthusiasts and developers.Canonical teased us for almost two months with the release of its promised OS, but Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview was finally launched today, February 21.
In order to use the new operating system you will have to install it on a compatible device: Galaxy Nexus (maguro), Nexus 4 (mako), Nexus 7 (grouper), and Nexus 10 (manta).
You will also have to flash your device in order to accommodate the new OS, and Canonical has provided extensive tutorial on how to perform this task. The installation is quite simple and anyone with an Ubuntu OS will be able to run it.
So far, only a few features are available, as detailed by Canonical:
• Shell and core applications;
• Connection to the GSM network (on Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4);
• Phone calls and SMS (on Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4);
• Networking via Wifi;
• Functional camera (front and back);
• Device accessible through the Android Developer Bridge tool (adb).
Canonical also warned its users that there were some known problems with the Ubuntu for Phones. For example, the memory usage has not yet been optimized for the devices. It is possible to experience application crashes due to having too many applications open at the same time. The workaround is to close apps that are not being used.
Another problem is related to the timezone. Users will need to set it manually from the command line, but there are clear instructions in the official tutorial.
The last issues that need to be mentioned, although the list is quite extensive, is that the OS currently supports only limited voice and SMS over GSM. Other technologies such as CDMA, LTE, Airplane Mode, and so on, are not yet supported.
"Touch Developer Preview for Ubuntu" is released for free non-commercial use. It is provided without warranty, even the implied warranty of merchantability, satisfaction or fitness for a particular use.