Ubuntu Phone OS is an upcoming mobile operating system based on Ubuntu Linux. Among other things, it has a touch-based user interface that’s different from anything we’ve seen on smartphones so far, including a side panel which lets you launch frequently used programs just by sliding your thumb from the edge of the screen.
But you don’t have to wait for Ubuntu Phone OS to get that side panel – you can download and install an app called Ubuntu Phone Experience on virtually any Android phone today.
Ubuntu Phone Experience Glovebox lets you create a list of apps to bring up in the sidebar, adjust the opacity of the bar, and tweak the sensitivity so you don’t accidentally open the sidebar when you’re trying to do something else with your phone. Right now you’ll have to enable support for apps from unknown sources to install Ubuntu Phone Experience on an Android 1.6 or later phone — it was available from the Play Store briefly, but it’s been removed (probably because the Ubuntu name is trademarked). Until the app has a new name, you can still download the app from a link at the xda-developers forum, provided by developer fmaster1.