Canonical announced last week that Ubuntu Mobile would be launching across certain markets in October. The company didn’t say if the U.S. would be included in the initial launch, but U.S. based developers can start developing apps for the platform next month. There is a catch though – you must have one of Google’s Nexus smartphones.
The Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview will be launched on February 21, and will initially support Google’s Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 smartphones. The preview is intended for enthusiasts and developers who want to get a sneak peek at what Ubuntu has in store for mobile devices later this year. It will also be advantageous for developers who want to test Ubuntu Mobile apps on a real smartphone instead of an emulator.
There will be two ways for developers to get a hold of the Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview next week. The first will be a set of tools that Canonical will release on its Web site next Thursday that will allow you to flash your Nexus phone to Ubuntu. The other will involve meeting up with Canonical team members at Mobile World Congress on February 25. They will flash your phone to the latest version of the Developer Preview at their booth.
Those who don’t own a Nexus smartphone will be understandably saddened by the limited breadth of the first developer preview, but worry not, as new devices will be continuously added to the list of supported devices. There’s also a pretty big chance that developers will just build support for their own devices once the ROM is released. You can keep on top of developments at the Ubuntu Wiki.