Ubuntu Touch reaches more Android smartphones and tablets
Ubuntu Touch is now available on more smartphones and tablets, thanks to a community porting project
The open-source development community has begun the process of porting Ubuntu Touch, the new name for the tablet- and smartphone-oriented version of Canonical's Linux-based Ubuntu operating system, to devices other than Google's Nexus family.
Revealed earlier this year as Ubuntu for Phones, Ubuntu Touch takes Canonical's icon-centric Unity user interface and adapts it for touch-screen devices. Officially in an open beta, with a full release pre-installed on tablets and smartphones from a handful of manufacturers promised later this year, the software is basic yet still impressive. Taking its design from the desktop Ubuntu operating system, the team has been able to adopt the software impressively for smaller screens - and the ability to connect an external display, keyboard and mouse to a smartphone and get a full desktop-like experience is certainly welcome.
Sadly for those wishing to test the software out for themselves, Canonical has been limited in its support for third-party hardware: the beta, released last week, is only officially supported on Google's Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 devices - leaving those with other handsets out in the cold.
Canonical has, however, made the source code for the project available and asked the community to port the software to their own devices. Currently, it's possible to install community-developed versions of Ubuntu Touch on the Sony Xperia S and Xperia T, the Huawei Ascend G300, two US versions of the Samsung Galaxy S3, the Samsung Galaxy Note and Galaxy Note 2, the Asus Transformer Infinity and the original Transformer Pad.
The above list is in addition to work being done to port the software to the Motorola Xoom, the Samsung Galaxy S, Galaxy S2 and European Galaxy S3, the HTC One XL and One X+, the LG Optimus 4X HD, and the older Nexus S and Nexus One handsets. When complete, this will give Ubuntu Touch an impressive list of supported devices.
For those curious to try Ubuntu Touch for themselves, a full list of supported devices is available on the official website, although the installation process wipes all data from the handset and, Canonical warns, brings with it a small but noticeable risk of damage to the handset's firmware that could render it unusable and the warranty void.