Remember Ubuntu for Android? More than two years ago the developers at Canonical introduced a new software platform that would let you use an Android smartphone as an Ubuntu desktop. But we haven’t heard much about Ubuntu for Android since early 2012.

This week a redditor noticed a bug report that suggested Ubuntu for Android was no longer in development, so the website should be removed.

PC World dug a little deeper and discovered that while Ubuntu for Android isn’t exactly dead, it’s also not coming to market anytime soon.

ubuntu for android

So here’s the concept behind Ubuntu for Android: Your phone would essentially have two operating systems: Ubuntu and Android. During day-to-day, on-the-go use, you’d interact with Android. But connect your phone to a docking station and hook up a mouse, keyboard and monitor and it would switch over to Ubuntu.

That way you could access any of the million or so mobile apps available for Android when you’re out and about. But your phone would become your PC and let you run full desktop apps like Thunderbird, Firefox, GIMP, or LibreOffice when you’re at your desk. You wouldn’t have to sync your files between your phone and your PC (or home and work PCs), because your phone and your PC would both fit in your pocket… in the same device.

Canonical says the development of Ubuntu for Android is pretty much complete and the software could be implemented… with the support of a hardware partner. But so far no smartphone makers have expressed any real interest in using Ubuntu for Android software, and a Canonical rep tells PC World that the company isn’t “currently in concrete discussions with launch partners.”

That said, Canonical’s still open to the idea… so if you happen to be a phone maker and you want to partner with Canonical, you can find contact info on the team’s website.

Ubuntu Touch

For now, Canonical seems more focused on bringing Ubuntu Touch to smartphones and tablets as an alternative to Android instead of a compliment to it. The first Ubuntu phone should begin shipping later in 2014.

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20 replies on “Ubuntu for Android is on hold indefinitely”

  1. Sad I was hoping MS, Apple etc would jump on this & set a great trend.

    Someday maybe …

  2. Mark Shuttleworth is now following through with all his grandiose bullshit plans and promises, and this is how he’s doing it.

    By not doing anything.

    Big surprise, Space Cadet.

  3. I’m glad that Ubuntu Touch will have this feature, but I’m bummed that Ubuntu for Android is on hiatus. For some people, it would be nice to have that desktop hidden within your Android smartphone

  4. the whole concept of running a ubuntu in chroot under android didn’t make much sense right from the start.
    running Dalvik-VM on ubuntu would make by far more sense… but noone does such thing as compiling dalvik to some real linux. There you see how free this software is.

    1. Funny, because I’m writing this in Midori running on Arch Linux in a chroot under Android on a Nexus 7. It works very well, and my tablet + keyboard cover is a good laptop substitute.

      1. i didn’t say that it won’t work.

        it might even be easier than the other way round, because of all this clusterfuck that android does with building a “stripped down” linux-kernel and compiling everything against BSD-libc.

        Still: it’s kind of a chimera and no sane person would prefer this over a clean system with less WTF.

  5. I agree with the other posters, this was probably due to pressure from Google, but this actually makes sense for Ubuntu. It would be much better in the long run for Canonical to have this feature in the Ubuntu Phone OS. If Ubuntu Phone is going to make an impact, it’s going to have to offer something different that no other mobile OS can offer. If they can implement this dual-desktop approach well, it could really help Ubuntu Phone take off.

    1. Very true. If the development of this is complete then I guess the resources could just go to Ubuntu touch’s dock features.

      I am curious though whether apps compiled for ARM (phone platform) will be enough for desktop docking. As of right now, it seems ARM apps aren’t as capable as x86 & amd64 apps.

      1. Architecture doesn’t matter that much anymore. It all depends on the language. If you’re using a cross-platform language, such as Java, you make an equally capable app for both ARM and x86.

  6. Is Ubuntu Phone/Touch supposed to have the desktop docking ability built-in?

    1. Not yet, right now consider it a fork version optimized for phone use that will eventually have compatibility with the traditional desktop Ubuntu but it will take awhile…

      1. Really? I heard that it was going to be in the first final build of Ubuntu Touch.

        1. Nope, rather they’re getting some apps you can also use in regular Ubuntu but full cross compatibility is still something they’re working on…

          The priority was getting the phone UI and app ecosystem working first…

          1. Eh, I can’t blame Canonical for that. But they had better get it going once the core parts are intact.
            I think that the desktop dock would be one of the most unique and useful features.

          2. You’re not the only one hoping that happens soon… especially, now that it doesn’t seem there will be an alternative…

  7. I’m guessing one possible reason for a lack of interest from hardware makers could be google. they’ve expressed a dislike for dual boots. It could he that using this would prevent google certification.

  8. software for hardware that cannot exist is not good software.

Comments are closed.