Canonical has released the latest version of its Linux-based operating system, Ubuntu 13.10. Besides the desktop OS, the company has also released Ubuntu for phones, though it gives a disclaimer that the release is meant for developers and industry partners and warns that it can potentially brick the user's device, leaving it unusable.
The OS can be installed on the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 smartphones and Canonical has given a detailed instruction set for installation, on its website.
It's worth pointing out that the build of the OS only includes
core apps (a browser, calendar, clock, weather, and calculator), allows phones to connect to GSM networks, supports phone calls and SMS, Wi-Fi data connectivity, and rear and front cameras. Also, the OS build offers limited functionality. For instance, the camera app does't support video capture.
Nonetheless, the release is a significant landmark for Canonical and signals that Ubuntu based smartphones are now a step closer to reality as device makers and developers can evaluate and test their devices and apps on the final build of the OS.
Canonical had first released images and open source code for the Developer Preview of the Ubuntu Smartphone OS
for touchscreen devices in February, after announcing the launch
of the OS in January.
Earlier, the company had announced a crowd-funding campaign to build the first batch of Ubuntu Edge phones. However, it failed to raise a target funding
of $32 million to manufacture a limited batch of 40,000 devices, missing it by $20 million.
The Ubuntu Edge phone was said to support dual-boot with Ubuntu phone OS and Android, and would have featured the capability to transform into a PC when docked with a monitor with full Ubuntu desktop with shared access to all the phone's files.
Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, had said that carriers and handset makers "were definitely interested in building handsets which will run the mobile Linux - but that they will not be the top-end "superphones" which the Edge project hoped to produce."