Canonical, developers of the popular open-source operating system Ubuntu, have confirmed that they have stopped active development of their operating system for Android devices.
Announced in 2012, the Ubuntu for Android project aimed to allow the Ubuntu operating system to co-exist on one’s phone without the need of dual-booting or virtualization. Because both Android and Ubuntu share the same kernel (Linux), the idea was that a user could access their Ubuntu applications anywhere they went. By docking the phone to a keyboard and monitor, you would be allowed to use the phone as a compact PC substitute. A user would use Android on the go, and Ubuntu when at the office or at home; all conveniently within one device.
Unfortunately for Android enthusiasts, Canonical has confirmed that the project has indefinitely been put on hold. This hardly comes as a surprise though, as in 2013 they announced they were also developing Ubuntu Touch.
While Ubuntu for Android was meant to co-exist on your phone, Ubuntu Touch seeks to completely supplant it. Retaining the same desktop functionality of the Android project, Ubuntu Touch devices would allow you to use your phone as a PC when docked to a monitor and keyboard. However, Canonical has also developed a streamlined touch user interface that would allow easy use of the operating system whilst using the phone’s screen. Since their 2013 announcement, they have partnered with 16 companies to help shape the future of their mobile operating system. This includes mobile giants such as T-Mobile, Verizon, and China Unicom.
While Canonical hasn’t officially killed the Android project, it looks doubtful that they’ll ever revisit it given their focus on Ubuntu Touch. Only time will tell if the project is a success though, as they aim to release their first Ubuntu branded device later this year. Personally, I can’t wait to possibly run Steam from my phone.