Canonical may not have gathered the necessary funds to put its Ubuntu Edge smartphone into production, but its mobile operating system will soon be available to download for free. PC World reports (via The Verge) that Ubuntu Touch will be ready to go on October 17th, and anyone with a compatible Android device will be able to install it.
Right now, though, only Google’s Nexus line of devices are supported. The Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 are all capable of running Ubuntu’s mobile OS, but dedicated hardware devices from the open source entity won’t be released until 2014. Canonical says that there’s been some interest from potential hardware partners in the wake of the Edge campaign, but there isn’t any solid news to share just yet.
Ubuntu Touch essentially brings the desktop OS to smartphones and tablets. Anyone who installs the OS will be able to use their device almost like a traditional desktop, with support for mice and keyboards, as well as video output to monitors. But the OS will be tailored to touch interfaces too. A layout more akin to iOS and Android will run when the phone isn’t docked, and Canonical has an SDK and open APIs that should allow developers to easily adapt their apps for the mobile version of Ubuntu.
If you’re curious to see exactly what Ubuntu looks like on a phone, then watch our preview of the developer version of the OS from CES 2013.