Samsung is ending its innovative “Linux on DeX” feature.

The nifty bit of tech, which went by the name ‘Linux on Galaxy’ during its formation, enabled owners of certain Samsung devices to run a fully functional version of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS as an ‘app’.

The idea was that users would put their Samsung smartphone or phablet in the DeX dock accessory to connect to external monitor, mouse and keyboard and use their device like a traditional desktop PC.

And while the tech never left beta, it worked well enough for many.

Linux on DeX ubuntu screenshot
Samsung’s Linux on DeX used Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

But this weekend Samsung announced the feature is being axed ahead of an upcoming Android OS update.

In an e-mail sent to users of the feature titled “End of Linux on DeX Beta” Samsung writes:

“Thank you for supporting Linux on DeX Beta. The development of Linux on DeX was all thanks to customer interest and valuable feedback. Unfortunately, we are announcing the end of our beta program, and will no longer provide support on future OS and device releases.”

The tech giant also adds that Linux on DeX will NOT be supported by the Android 10 update heading to select Samsung devices soon.

“Once you update your device to Android OS 10, you will not be able to perform a version rollback to Android Pie,” it cautions.

Although Linux on DeX was a undeniably cool features it’s possible that Samsung’s developer-orientated feature didn’t see particularly wide adoption, (or rather, enough adoption to be worth the investment).

But the lack of adoption likely had nothing to do with the way the feature was implemented, or due to Ubuntu.

It seems no matter how many times phone makers try to introduce a “converged” experience — from Motorola Atrix to Ubuntu Phone to Windows Continuum to Samsung DeX — the gambit never catches on.

And I reckon that this repeated failure isn’t down to devices ‘not being powerful enough’ or ‘lacking the right OS’. I think it’s just inconvenient to use your phone as a desktop PC.

convergence 1.0
The practicalities of convergence

Admittedly the conceit is beautifully simple — use your phone as a PC — but the practicalities of having to lug proprietary docks, monitor, keyboard, mouse or touchpad, power cable, HDMI cable, speakers or headphones, port splitters, etc creates a lot more friction than it claims to remove.

Me? Sitting on my couch with a laptop (or heck, even just my phone) is far more practical than finding a surface with enough space to cook up a spaghetti bolognese of wires and peripherals and the like.

How about you? Do you long to use your phone as a PC?

Thanks to everyone who sent this in

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