Ubuntu Phone OS is a Linux-based operating system for smartphones and touchscreen devices such as tablets, and it’s still very much a work in progress. When the developers at Canonical started showing off Ubuntu Phone OS in January, it didn’t support phone calls, cellular data, or much of anything else. It didn’t even really run any apps.

But over the past month the team has been working hard at making the OS capable enough to use as a “daily driver” on a smartphone. And they’ve kind of done it.

Now you can make and receive phone calls or text messages, access the internet over a cellular connection, and run a few apps.

Ubuntu Phone OS

Canonical vice president Rick Spencer notes that you can now enable cellular data on a Samsung Galaxy Nexus running the latest pre-release builds of Ubuntu Phone OS. Unfortunately you’ll have to fire up a terminal app and enter a line of text to enable or disable data. There’s no GUI interface yet, but that should be available by the time the first stable build of the operating system is available later this year.

Another new feature is support for social sharing. You can now enable support for Facebook and Twitter sharing, letting you send content from many apps to either social network.

Meanwhile, Jono Bacon has posted a 10 minute video showing off a recent build of the phone, including support for phone calls and text messages, power management improvements, the web browser, and a few third party apps.

Basically there’s nothing stopping a technically-minded person from using Ubuntu Phone OS as the primary operating system on a smartphone like the Galaxy Nexus right now.

There aren’t as many apps available for Ubuntu Phone OS as for Android or other operating systems yet. You need to drop into a terminal window in order to perform some actions. And the system occasionally slows down for no apparent reason thanks to some development bugs.

But if all you really want is a phone that you can use as a phone, but which you can also use to test and help develop a new smartphone operating system based on Ubuntu, it’s starting to look like the OS is in good enough shape for that.

You can download the latest Ubuntu Touch preview images for smartphones and tablets from the Ubuntu site, and install the software by following Canonical’s guide (or our Liliputing guide, which I think is a little easier for folks who are used to flashing custom Android ROMs).

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16 replies on “Ubuntu Phone OS now supports cellular data, social sharing, more”

  1. No mobile network on my nexus 4. calls and texting work but no internet access

  2. i love this , finally something that will be better than andriod, i hate android

  3. I agree, the beautiful irony is that in Ubuntu it’s only two clicks away from turning it OFF. The spyware complainers should should stop using Ubuntu. They normally believe in little green men and Elvis is still alive. So this spyware what does it do? Maybe collect info so Mark can clean your bank account out or tell your wife about a affair, maybe send your info to the KGB so the can convert you into a spy. Come grow up, two clicks its of or use another os.

  4. Hi

    I’m guessing a factory-unlocked iPhone 3G is too old to run Ubuntu Touch?


  5. @3ed17794d6966d01d0a0b69a73db7a99:disqus

    Nooooo, but it DOES come with Ubuntu spyware preloaded. OK with you?

      1. WHICH piece of Ubuntu spyware?

        You mean that Shuttleworth has now introduced at least ONE MORE PIECE of spyware which I haven’t heard about?

        All you have to do is (a) know the history of Ubuntu and/or (b) contact Richard Stallman, who will pack your ear full.
        Better still, ask Ubuntu and Canonical directly about their inclusion of spyware.

        Better still yet: stay current on subject matter you comment on.

        1. Isn’t it funny that the same people that complain about Ubuntu anonymously collecting search history, is also the same people that gladly uses an Android phones.
          And the beautiful irony is that in Ubuntu it’s only two clicks away from turning it OFF, while in Android thats really not the case.
          Funny! don’t you think? 😉

        2. I understand your concern but so far Ubuntu Phone doesn’t have Amazon integration yet and there’s no other spyware either. May come later down the road but no reason for concern at this very moment.

    1. Its not bloody spyware its called a scope that connects your search to the internet which enables ease of use on the internet when searching for stuff. One search to rule them all. If you type bucket in the Ubuntu Dash search it goes off to the internet and looks for a bucket. Personally I think its a great idea saves doing 2 or 3 moves to open up a brower then go to google.com and search for a bucket that way…

      All this bullcrap about spyware on Ubuntu Linux is complete load of well as I said crap.

      By the way there is the option to turn that feature off so really its not spyware… Ubuntu is OPEN SOURCE not govenment owned like Googles Android, Apple or WP8..

      Freedom is still there with Ubuntu Touch OS

    1. Yes that’s called a wireless signal, which apparently you have no right to expect any sort of privacy on.

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