I had the opportunity to take the Ubuntu Touch for a spin on my Galaxy Nexus and I have to say, it sure is something different. It's and interesting different. Looks like it could be fun too but, the preview build is really lacking usable features.
Lets have a look at the interface.
When Ubuntu first boots you are welcomed with a bright Ubuntu screen that says there are tweets received. At first I didn't know what to do with this screen. I was tapping and touching, pinching and zooming and sweeping and swiping then finally I swiped from the left to the right and I got the Ubuntu menu which was well designed based on the Ubuntu 12 interface. The icons were of good quality and all in all everything was looking pretty good.
I was beginning to get a little excited at the possibility of taking this for a real test run since I have wanted to give it a try ever since I found out that Ubuntu would be coming to and Android device near me.
(I should point out my device is a Samsung Galaxy Nexus GSM. I am rooted and running PARANOIDANDROID 2.99 with a Trinity Kernel. I had no problem flashing this preinstalled .zip from Ubuntu but I can't say you wont. There are a few ways to give this a try should you so please and all the instructions can be found here.)
A gentle tap on the bottom icon of the swipe menu which is the Ubuntu logo and I was off to the races, accessing the home screen and four other screens all with a slight swipe left or right.
There are five screens all together as listed from left to right; Music, People, Home, Apps and Videos.
Some of the best features of the Ubuntu Touch are the ability to switch to desktop mode via HDMI. I'm sure if you're reading this you have likely see some of the videos of Android devices booting to a desktop Ubuntu experience when connected to an HDMI TV or monitor and I wish I could have tested it.
|Motion blur from scrolling while snapping the picture|
Disappointment quickly set in as I discovered, at least in my attempts, I couldn't really do anything at all with this software. It came preloaded with contacts that couldn't be edited, messages that you couldn't get to and apps that wouldn't work. Some of the apps like the calendar and the calculator worked fine but anything that required the use of network access was a no go, at least for me. I did manage to get it to use my wifi but aside from and animated wifi icon at the top of the screen nothing happened. An sms was received during the test run but try as I might I couldn't locate it to reply.
I would like to point out that I am not knocking this software. I was aware that it had limited functionality and was not intended for anything near a daily driver. I was hoping however to use a little more of the functions within the Ubuntu Touch.
Everything here looks promising and I didn't even get the chance to connect to and HDMI via MHL to see what the interface looked like in desktop mode since the battery was running low and the phone appeared not to be charging while booted to Ubuntu. This is after all just a preview that I thought was worth previewing and if you're willing to flash other roms to your device, you may want to take a look too. If the efforts from Canonical continue I'm sure it wont be long before I get to take this for a real world test drive and I might just love it!
A short review of the new Samsung Galaxy S4