Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview now available for download, compatible with Nexus hardware

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from Omaha, NE
Published: February 21, 2013

Ubuntu phone, tablet

Right on schedule, Canonical has released the Touch Developer Preview version of Ubuntu for phones and tablets. The software is now available to download and is compatible with four different Nexus products: the Nexus 4 ("mako"), Nexus 7 ("grouper"), Nexus 10 ("manta") and Galaxy Nexus ("maguro"). Unfortunately for owners of a CDMA-flavored Nexus, since only the GSM "maguro" Galaxy Nexus is listed as being compatible with the Touch Developer Preview, Sprint and Verizon Galaxy Nexus users will have to sit this one out. 

As is to be expected with a developer preview, not all of the functionality that one would expect from a final production unit is present in the Touch Developer Preview. Canonical says that the shell and basic apps will work and that users should be able to connect their device to the Android Developer Bridge (adb) tool. Some basic networking functionality is also present, as Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 users will be able to connect to GSM service as well as make phone calls and SMS messages, and all Nexus devices also have working Wi-Fi and cameras.

Obviously with this limited functionality and device compatibility, the Touch Developer Preview of mobile Ubuntu will only appeal to a certain set of users. However, those folks that are feeling brave and want to install Ubuntu on their Nexus device can now do so, and it's good to see Canonical offering the software to the public.

Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth recently confirmed that the full entry-level version of mobile Ubuntu will be made available for Nexus devices in October and that the first official Ubuntu-powered phones will ship in early 2014. That means that we're still a ways off from seeing the final version of Ubuntu for phones and tablets arrive, but it also gives developers some time to tinker with this Touch Developer Preview and build some apps for it. So now that it's finally here, are any of you going to take the plunge and install the Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview on one of a Nexus device?

Via Ubuntu App Developer, Touch Developer Preview: Release notes, install instructions