Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ubuntu developer preview available for Nexus 4, Galaxy Nexus on Feb. 21

Those wondering if they would have to search far and wide for a Galaxy Nexus smartphone to flash with the upcoming Ubuntu for Smartphones pre-release can rest a little easier. Canonical, the company behind the new platform, has extended the developer preview to cover Google's current developer phone, the Nexus 4, the company said on Thursday.

Of course, that means that developers will struggle with getting their hands on Nexus 4s, instead, as that device continues to be in short supply at Google's Play Store, at least at the time of this writing.

Tools for flashing the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 phones will be available on Feb. 21, the company said. Those who are attending Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, from Feb. 25-28, can get their devices flashed for them by Canonical team members, at booth number 81D30, App Planet Hall 8.1, where Ubuntu will be shown on a range of devices.

Not only that, the company said that they will expand the smartphone experience throughout the year, adding more devices, and updating the tools and instructions -- available here -- as time goes on. Instructions for the Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus will not be posted until Feb. 21, as noted above, but a teaser page is now available.

The company's press release added:
The (developer preview) release also marks the start of a new era for Ubuntu, with true convergence between devices. When complete, the same Ubuntu code will deliver a mobile, tablet, desktop or TV experiences depending on the device it is installed on, or where it is docked. Ubuntu 13.10 (due in October) will include a complete entry-level smartphone experience.

Canonical has published a Preview SDK and App Design Guides to allow developers to create applications for the full range of Ubuntu platforms. The toolkit provides a range of documented templates to enable native applications to be created quickly and easily. The App Design Guides explain how these templates can be used to design and build beautiful and usable apps.

Blackberry Touch developers will be familiar with the Qt/QML environment, which supports rich native touch apps. Developers will not need to cross-compile or package applications differently for phone, tablet, PC and TV. One platform serves all four, a single application binary can do the same.
Android apps will not run directly on Ubuntu. Ubuntu apps are written in the QML toolkit and HTML5 technologies. On the other hand, Android apps are mostly written in Java.

However, Android apps can be run in the Android emulator in Ubuntu desktop. One could imagine such an emulator for Ubuntu for Smartphones, too, but none has been announced, yet.

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