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Ubuntu for Android Left in Limbo as Canonical Focuses on Ubuntu Touch

April 30, 2014 - Written By Tom Dawson

When it was first announced, the idea of Ubuntu for Android sounded excellent. Running Ubuntu – a popular Linux distribution for Desktops, similar to Windows or Mac OS X – alongside Android seemed a great idea. Being able to plug in your phone to a docking station connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse to turn your smartphone into your computer was something out of the future. However, the project never really got anywhere, as support from partner vendors was thin to say the least and now, it looks like Canonical has all but given up on the innovative project. News broke earlier in the week of the company behind Ubuntu ceasing development on the platform and since then a official word from Canonical has appeared.

The news was sparked by a bug report about a portion of the Ubuntu website “describes Ubuntu for Android as ‘the must-have feature for late-2012 high-end Android phones’. Ubuntu for Android is no longer in development, so this page should be retired.” The fact that the text from 2012 still remained unchanged should be warning sign enough, but now Canonical has issued a statement saying “We still believe that U4A is a great product concept and that consumers would welcome the feature. The development within Ubuntu for U4A is complete. To take the development further requires a launch partner in order to make the necessary modifications on the Android side.” Speaking to PC World, Marina Engelvuori, a representative for Canonical says that the company isn’t in “concrete discussions with launch partners” which sounds very much like Canonical is looking to focus better on Ubuntu Touch.

Ubuntu for Android was always going to be a project that required vendor support. After all, the work on the project was pretty simple for a company like Canonical. As Ubuntu and Android share a very similar Linux kernel, only slight modification would be needed for Ubuntu to nestle in the background. Storage was of course a big concern, anyone who has tried to install Ubuntu to their Chromebook will realize that 16GB of internal storage just doesn’t cut it. While not dead in the water, it looks like Ubuntu for Android is looking for a lifeboat, and it sadly seems like one won’t be coming along any time soon.