Ubuntu for Android was a free and open source variant of Ubuntu designed to run on Android phones. It was expected to come pre-loaded on several phones. An Ubuntu for Android mock-up was shown at Mobile World Congress 2012. As of April 2014, this project is no longer under active development by Canonical which stated "development within Ubuntu [..] is complete. To take the development further requires a launch partner in order to make the necessary modifications on the Android side." While Canonical is "very much open to such a partnership", its current focus is now on Ubuntu for Phones (and tablets) that does not include Android (but also uses the Linux kernel).
- Both Ubuntu and Android run at the same time on the mobile device, without emulation or virtualization, and without the need to reboot. This is possible because both Ubuntu and Android share the same kernel (Linux).
- When the device is connected to a desktop monitor, it features a standard Ubuntu Desktop interface (Unity).
- When the device is connected to a TV, the interface featured is the Ubuntu TV experience.
- Ability to run standard Ubuntu Desktop applications, like Firefox, Thunderbird, VLC, etc.
- Ability to run Android applications on the Ubuntu Desktop.
- Make and receive calls and SMSs directly from the Desktop.
According to Canonical a phone needs the following requirements:
- Dual-core 1 GHz CPU
- Video acceleration: shared kernel driver with associated X driver; OpenGL, ES/EGL
- Storage: 2 GB for OS disk image
- HDMI: video-out with secondary framebuffer device
- USB host mode
- 512 MB RAM
Note: Most smartphones cannot use MHL and USB simultaneously on a single port. To use both features at the same time, a separate HDMI port is needed (Motorola Razr/Razr HD, Xperia S/Acro S, Asus Padfone), or the upcoming MHL2 port. There is also a non-standard solution available (Samsung Galaxy S3/S4/Note2).
Katherine Noyes, writing for PC World, noted "As a longtime Ubuntu fan, I have to admit I'm especially excited by the prospect of having my Ubuntu desktop available on my phone, wherever I go."
Joey Sneddon, writing for OMG! Ubuntu! noted "Both [Android and Ubuntu] run at the same time on the same device. The net result of this is a super efficient workflow."
Ubuntu for phones
Main article: Ubuntu Touch
In a conference in London, on 2 January 2013, Mark Shuttleworth unveiled the concept for an upcoming mobile operating system - "Ubuntu Touch", that will probably be released "by the end of the year. The device(s) on which it will be released will deliver a personalised, full screen-to-screen experience - with a 'welcome screen, not a lock screen'". Thereafter, a concept for one phone with Ubuntu for Phones was published on Ubuntu's official channel on YouTube, in which it is shown as a simple, rounded bar-type smartphone, with no buttons on the front, unlike what is usually seen on most smartphones. The Welcome Screen is shown to have the standard Ubuntu background image, with digital clock on top, and small-to-big circles in the centre, circulating Unread/Notifications/Talk Time. Each of these parts appear and fade each after the other, while changing the colour of the circles in the background and the placement of the little ones. From the Welcome screen, the user could swipe to any of the four directions: up for notifications, left for the app menu, swipe from the right to launch the previous app, and swipe from the bottom to display the operations menu. Also, the user would be able to launch Voice Control by touching the bottom-right corner outside the interface, where the soft buttons would be on other smartphones. In the main menu, you could swipe far to the bottom and release to launch the Home Screen. The Ubuntu for Android project, as said, is the first step for this new phone OS. Developers will be able to create one app, with two interfaces: a smartphone UI, and, when docked, a desktop UI. The software would then be integrated with Qube, and Quickly development (as told in the OMG! Ubuntu's Google+ hangout). Full information about the phone and OS is currently available in Ubuntu's official page for the product "Ubuntu on phones". Ubuntu.. A Developer Preview was released in February 2013.