Ubuntu for Android runs out of steam in absence of OEM interest

Canonical’s work on Ubuntu Touch continues ahead, and earlier this year we got confirmation of the first hardware partners that will build handsets specifically designed to run the upstart platform. But while this smartphone OS has been the major component of Canonical’s mobile interest, it hasn’t been the only project it was working on, and before we had Ubuntu Touch system images we could download and flash on Nexus phones there was word of Ubuntu for Android, intended to bring a desktop experience to docked smartphones. Unfortunately, it sounds like those plans have gone off the rails a little, and Canonical has now confirmed that it’s “not actively pushing for Ubuntu for Android.”

Ubuntu for Android was supposed to let you plug your phone into a mouse, keyboard, and external monitor, and be able to interact with a full-fledged Ubuntu desktop. We’d largely forgotten about it, but then this week a Canonical dev posted a bug report to an online tracker claiming that “Ubuntu for Android is no longer in development.”

While that report has since been taken down, Canonical has confirmed the news to an extent. Basically, the company says that it loves the idea of U4A (as it calls it), and while it’s done all the work it can to help make U4A a reality, actually getting it out for any phones would require the cooperation of manufacturers to get things in place on the Android side of things, and no one’s expressing any interest.

Canonical says that while it would still be all about launching U4A should some OEM step up to get involved, its main focus is on Ubuntu Touch right now, so it’s not actively seeking out U4A partners.

That’s a shame, as Ubuntu for Android looked pretty darn powerful from the demo we saw, but we can also understand where Canonical’s coming from: you can lead an OEM to water, but you can’t make it drink.

Source: PC World

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Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!