As promised, Canonical has delivered its Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview to a bunch of Nexus smartphones and tablets. In the same week that also saw the announcement of a version tailored specifically for tablets, Canonical really seems intent on driving its easy-to-use Linux flavor to both of the mobile realms, and if you’ve a spare Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7 or Nexus 10 lying around (plus, a little know-how), then you can now get started with the Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview.
Please note that, while some dev-only preview software can be safe for the general public to go ahead and install, this isn’t one of those occasions. Microsoft’s developer alpha of Windows 8 might have been in an advanced enough a state for the vast majority of users to handle, but the purpose of this Developer Preview of Ubuntu Touch is to try and lure actual developers into creating for, and helping to advance, the ecosystem.
With so many Ubuntu (and general Linux) users and fans at desktop level, Canonical shouldn’t have much problem attracting a solid base of willing devs, both for the smartphone and tablet versions of touch-based Ubuntu. Whether this will be a strong enough building block for Ubuntu’s eventual take-off in this fiercely competitive market remains to be seen, but with a slick UI which appears to borrow from several platforms already out there – as well as incorporating some unique, new elements along the way – The Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview certainly looks promising.
Please, please make sure you know what you’re doing before going ahead and installing, and don’t treat this as you would a custom ROM or launcher. Even more importantly, you should make sure your device is compatible with the binaries. Safe devices include:
- Galaxy Nexus (GSM maguro)
- Nexus 4 (mako)
- Nexus 7 (grouper)
- Nexus 10 (manta).
There’s no mention of the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, nor the Sprint Galaxy Nexus, so unless your device is listed above, please do not proceed.
Some elements of the OS are said to be more functional than others, but depending on how many developers wish to jump on board, the purported public release date of late 2013/ early 2014 is most certainly possible. We will, of course, bring a complete step by step tutorial on how to flash the preview onto your device, so stay tuned for that.