Always possibility, and now sadly confirmed: Ubuntu 18.10 won’t ship with Android phone integration out of the box.
The feature, provided by the GSconnect GNOME Shell extension, a Qt-free implementation of the KDE Connect service, was proposed for inclusion in Ubuntu 18.10 early on in the development cycle by Ubuntu desktop manager Will Cooke.
Like many, we were excited by the notion of being able to boot up Ubuntu and view Android notifications on the desktop, transfer files to and from our phone using Nautilus, monitor battery life, keep tabs on calls, send SMS messages, and more.
Alas it’s not the be; Ubuntu devs think this nifty little extension remains a little too rough around the edges to appear on (millions of) users’ desktops by default.
It’s a shame but also understandable.
GSconnect will be available in the repos
The “good” news is that the GSconnect extension, freely available on the GNOME Extensions website, will be available to install using Ubuntu Software.
Andy Holmes, GSConnect’s developer, is also working on a new version of the extension that’s been rewritten from scratch.
It’s this new “WIP” version that Ubuntu devs have packaged up for inclusion in the “universe” repository for Ubuntu 18.10 (software in ‘universe’ is not “officially supported” but it easier to install).
Once there they plan to promote the add-on to gather feedback and encourage testing with the broader aim of including GSconnect in Ubuntu 19.04 by default.
New Ubuntu features are like trains: always delayed
Other plans for Ubuntu 18.10 that didn’t happen this cycle for one reason or another include the Unity-esque behaviour of adding icons for newly installed apps to the Dock; the ability to middle-click on the sound indicator to mute; and surfacing a low-bandwidth toggle to limit data usage by background apps and services (including snapd).
There’s plenty to look forward to though: new Yaru theme by default; improved start-up speed of default Snap apps (calculator, system monitor); LibreOffice 6.1; GNOME Shell 3.30; and the ability see ‘verified publisher’ status of Snap apps in the Ubuntu Software store.