Ubuntu for Android is imminent

Posted by Charbax – November 15, 2012

An official Canonical YouTube channel released this video:

This can mean that Ubuntu for Android is imminent. They seem to suggest that consumers can soon choose Ubuntu support next time that they buy a smartphone.

Here are some of my questions about Ubuntu for Android:

- Does Canonical work only on specific exclusive hardware and chip makers? Is there some kind of exclusive partnership with a Samsung or other Smartphone/chip maker to optimize and fully hardware accelerate Ubuntu on Android for them?

- Does the PC/Laptop Docking happen through a standard MHL connector compatible with multiple designs/sizes of phones and tablets?

- Are most Android 5.0 phones going to be compatible with alternative OSes to boot on top of Android? Can we soon just download the 700mb Ubuntu app made on Android Native Development Kit (NDK) on Google Play Store (if our Android device is officially supported with full hardware acceleration) to activate the on-top-of-Android-boot functionality?

- Can Chrome OS on Android be available at the same time? How about Google TV on Android? My big guess for Android 5 is that this multi-OS strategy is going to be a deep new feature of the next Android release. Dock your next Android device and it can switch or boot on the external HD display any alternative Linux OS such as Chrome OS, Google TV, Ubuntu, and maybe even Windows RT.

Also watch my previous Ubuntu for Android videos:

  • Maventwo

    And the Ubuntu phone/pc-dock must be standardized so as many different Smartphone makers will design their smartphones for the dock, if it will be a succesful concept!

  • I’d like to see them build docks that work with any device, any size, you can perhaps move the MHL adapter on a slider on the bottom, and change the side holders to fit any width of device on the dock. Thus adjustable MHL position and sides width so perhaps any and all MHL devices can be compatible.

  • I don’t think that WindowsRT will be supported since it cannot run on top of the same Linux kernel as Android like Ubuntu for Android does.

    Ubuntu for Android puts little overhead on Android. Windows RT alone, requires 2GB of RAM and a quad core SOC.

    Moreover, you cannot buy a WindowsRT licence, it comes with a WindowsRT machine, which has a locked bootloader so you cannot put anything else onto it.

    Running two completely different OS-es in parallel would be very taxing and would completely destroy your battery runtime.

    We can safely say that this is NOT an option.

  • Sure it’d be a change. But I think during 2013, high-end Android smartphones are fast enough, have enough RAM, that if Microsoft change their minds, Microsoft is being forced to change their time simply by Android gigantic world domination, I think it makes sense that Microsoft try to add Windows RT as a $29 app in Google App Store. And run it in parallel next to Android, Ubuntu, Chrome OS and any other.

  • pug_ster

    This idea is not exactly original. Motorola was trying to do it for the motorola Atrix/atrix2 but it didn’t exactly pick up steam. Hopefully Ubuntu can pick up where Motorola has failed.

  • Bob

    Android can handle large screens on its own since 3.0 honeycomb. Seems simpler.

  • Porus


    I’m not sure I’m really convinced by this idea and here’s why:

    1. Ubuntu is more powerful than Android, it should not run as a guest OS on Android. Ubuntu should be the base OS (Linux) for Android on the phone, i.e. version of Ubuntu should simply run an Android UI like KDE, Unity or GNome. The Dalvik VM should just be available to run apps in the Google eco-system, running Ubuntu as a guest OS in Android is a computational waste.

    2. Most of the applications on Ubuntu today are native applications that are only compiled for Intel and not for ARM. There is a lot of work to be done in this space, but not enough is being done here. Ubuntu may make sure that important apps like LibreOffice are available for ARM, but the set of applications is always going to be limited to what Canonical can port or get ported.

    3. What about Oracle Java? Still need it on a PC. Wanna develop Android apps? A good IDE is Eclipse that needs Oracle Java. Prefer OpenOffice? Needs Oracle Java!

    As I see it, the situation is pretty screwed up, as:

    1. With the NDK (limited to ARM as far as I know) and limited C/C++ support, Google somehow doesn’t want to make Android a Linux distro as we know and love, i.e. Ubuntu :-).

    2. Google still believes in Chrome OS (Lord only knows why) and doesn’t want convergence with Android. Google has limited native (C/C++) apps on Chromebooks.

    3. And now, tragically, Canonical has perhaps acknowledged that it can’t compete against Android, and hence we’re gonna get these weird hosted OS solutions.

    Perhaps device convergence doesn’t really suit OEMs and software vendors. I wonder why Canonical’s even trying these weird solutions. Sorry guys I needed to rant, with sad news from the likes of TI it was just that kind of week.


  • Greg Freeman

    I am wondering if the locked bootloader will eventually hurt MS. As a Linux user I have always “VM’ed” Windows. If RT has a locked bootloader, as a Linux user I am not goinna go back to MS just beacuse. As Linux (Android) has a very large mobile marketshare, this Ubuntu on top / alongside of Android idea has the potential to knock MS off of its higher than mighty stoop. At least one can hope…

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