The Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview has been made available for download.
Though not a complete, finished version of Ubuntu’s new ‘convergent’ interface, the preview offers developers and enthusiasts alike the chance to go hands-on with the most talked about interface change in Ubuntu’s history.
But it must be stressed that it is an unfinished version of Ubuntu that is not intended for use as your sole mobile phone OS.
So far four devices are officially being supported. These are:
- Samsung Galaxy Nexus
- LG Nexus 4
- ASUS Nexus 7
- Samsung Nexus 10
Being an early release there isn’t an awful lot to play with. The only ‘working’ applications are:
- Phone (Dialer, SMS, Address Book)
- Web Browser
- Media Player
Other applications included are either web-links (Ubuntu One, Twitter, Facebook, etc) or static interface snapshots of example apps (Music, Weather, Ski game).
Developer can install their own applications. But as the preview lacks a Terminal application this has to be done via SSH. More details about that can be found on the Phablet Wiki page.
As if to emphasise the ‘not ready for a default phone os’ is the lack of support for key mobile technologies in this preview.
WiFi works, but 3G/Data doesn’t. And although GSM (for voice and SMS) is technically supported you may find it patchy, or non-existent, at times.
You also won’t find Bluetooth; a WiFi ‘off’ button; or a settings pane for advanced network set-up.
Some ‘known issues’ (see the release notes) there a significant number of issues affecting the Nexus 7.
- Interface stuck in portrait
- Video and audio decoding don’t work
- Camera doesn’t work
- Login-screen looks awry
- No multi-user login
So you’re eager to play with the preview? You’ll need a Nexus device (unlocked), a cup of coffee and a link to the following page…