Thanks to the fact that my Nexus 7 is currently out of commission, I haven’t yet gotten the chance to try out the recently released Ubuntu Touch builds for the various Nexus devices. Even though I’d like to give Ubuntu Touch a try, I can’t sacrifice my only smartphone when so many things don’t work yet. However, development on Ubuntu’s mobile OS experiment has has been progressing rapidly, and the Touch platform has just been synced with the latest Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail code.
While the Ubuntu Touch builds were at first mostly demonstrations of the interface, newer builds have been growing more stable, and this latest update has finally added some of the Ubuntu team’s own apps to back up the various icons. It is still just the basics, like a calculator, and most things don’t work, but it is nice to see some progress. It is also said that this build runs better than previous versions, which were sometimes difficult to use and demonstrate.
Ubuntu Touch is still only officially available for the Nexus 4, 7, 10, and Galaxy Nexus, but according to Jono Bacon it is currently “working on 40 handsets with 25 in progress.” All these builds are still far from complete, and are in beta or even alpha stages. Still, if you want to try them out and perhaps help look for bugs, the Ubuntu-based installer is extremely easy to use, and rooted users can just flash Ubuntu Touch like any other ROM.
I’m still going to wait until I win a Nexus 10 or dual booting is available on the Nexus 4 to try Ubuntu Touch, but I still like to see the development progressing nicely. As I said before, the Nexus 10 and Ubuntu Touch could turn out to be a potential laptop killing combo once Ubuntu Touch is mature enough. Then again, it might be a little while before Ubuntu Touch is really ready for practical use, so I’ll likely be using my Chromebook for at least a while.