We’ve been cautiously optimistic about Canonical’s chances for really seeing Ubuntu Touch take off this year, especially with the promise of relationships with OEMs bringing us the first commercial hardware intentionally designed for use with Ubuntu. But thus far, if you’ve wanted to experiment with the platform, that’s meant flashing a Ubuntu ROM to one of several Nexus devices. Unfortunately, your options going forward are going to be a lot more limited, as Canonical announces that support for the majority of Nexus models is being dropped.
Last year we were showing you one of those early Ubuntu Touch builds on the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 (first gen), Nexus 10 (above), and even the Galaxy Nexus. Of those, only the Nexus 4 will continue to be supported by Ubuntu Touch. It’s joined by the 2013 Nexus 7, but the first version of that tablet, along with the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 10, are seeing their Ubuntu builds reach EOL status.
“Fine,” you say, “so long as Canonical is focusing on the more modern hardware.” Well, there’s a problem there, too. For the moment, Ubuntu Touch isn’t coming to the Nexus 5. The good news there is that the situation is likely to be temporary, and we should see the phone start getting attention with the release of Ubuntu 14.04, expected for this April.
These sacrifices are framed as necessary to keep work on Ubuntu Touch moving forwards, but they’re still unfortunate, especially for Galaxy Nexys users who were hoping that Ubuntu Touch might breathe some new life into a phone that’s already seen its official source of updates dry up. There’s a chance that volunteers might step up to continue work for these EOLed models, but nothing’s established just yet.