Ubuntu touch has become a news after they released the developers preview on February 2013. Since then i had been waiting for an Ubuntu device to experience the thrill. But unfortunately they have released the developers preview only for Nexus 4 and i ain’t got one. After a lot of googling and findings, i have got some Ubuntu flashable files for Nexus S. And after a few moments our Nexus S was ready with Ubuntu for testing.
” Wow this UI is super cool ” That was the response of my room mate after seeing the mobile with Ubuntu. It’s fresh , neat and eye catching. If you are a regular user of Ubuntu desktop, you will feel right at home when you switch on the mobile. The standard purple and orange theme of desktop versions has been well ported to the Ubuntu touch. Icon designs are very much similar to the desktop.
There is no physical button support on Ubuntu touch and you don’t expect UI buttons like ICS/JB neither. Ubuntu touch works completely with the gestures you make on the screen. The combinations of this gestures makes the transition of UI. This will be little agonizing for everyone, but as like everything else, you will get used to it eventually.
Swiping from left will bring you a desktop style vertical apps bar, you can customize this with your favorite apps, and when you swipe from right side, it gives you access to the recent apps. Scroll down from the top, just like the android status bar, will let you manage the OS system controls such as battery, network, message and sounds. The Universal search option too will be revealed with this action. Swipe up when you are in any application, and that will bring up the application specific settings menu.
Message and Dialer
Swipe down from the top and then you will see the messages, Facebook updates, missed called and almost everything in communication. Message app looks very simple and elegant. The quick reply is very handy.
You open the dialer then it’s a wow, the color combination is simply awesome and trendy.
Camera app in Ubuntu is very basic, just gives you an option of zoom-in/out , toggle flash etc. It will allow you to use front facing camera too. Music and Videos available with Ubuntu will do the job fine , but i didn’t find an equalizer or any advanced music settings. The Browser app does require a mention here, It gives you a full screen view without having any button on the interface. Swiping up from the bottom will bring up the address bar, page forward-backward controls. If you swipe up a little more it will take you to the app-settings menu.
Canonical has put a lot of energy to make the Ubuntu touch similar to the Ubuntu desktop version. They have even promised that the Ubuntu touch applications can be run in desktop and vice-versa. This way once you connected your mobile to a projector or a big screen, it works same as a desktop.
Ubuntu touch is still in beta release, it has a lot of bugs, device hanged multiple time when i was using it, and most of the apps doesn’t work in the way it should. The text/information displayed in the screenshots including messages, calendar notification, contacts are preloaded with the OS. They may need at least 6 to 8 months to make the OS available to the public, may be more.
Being a techie, I just can’t leave this place without appreciating the Canonical and Linux community for making this wonderful asset. I personally believe, few years ahead, multiboot will be very common in mobile devices. Just like the computer running with multiple OS. And if Ubuntu can contribute in this, then it will be the beginning of new era.
Instructions and download links for installing Ubuntu Touch on Nexus S can be found here. This release is not meant for daily use as it’s just a beta release. Download and install it at your own risk. Neither me nor AndroidNova will be responsible if you brick your device. Happy flashing.
A big Thanks to my roomie Salah for providing the device by knowing the potential risk involved.
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