Canonical has released a new version of its Ubuntu operating system designed for smartphones and tablets in mind. Available as a developer preview before a full launch early next year, the software is available for download at this time and is compatible with a handful of different products Nexus: Nexus 4 (“Mako”), Nexus 7 (“pooling”), Nexus 10 (“blanket”) and GSM variants of the Galaxy Nexus (“maguro”).
Besides the limited device compatibility, there’s not much you can do with the software at this point. Canonical says that the shell and core applications like browser, contacts, gallery, camera, and working notes and users should be able to connect your device to the Android Developer Bridge tool. Wi-Fi support is also present, while Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 users can connect to GSM networks to make phone calls and send SMS messages.
The new system aims to offer true multitasking operating with Windows Vista option 8-esque side that lets you have two applications open and on screen at the same time. It also supports multiple accounts with full encryption of personal data, a voice search function, and a number of gestures to navigate the operating system.
Ubuntu for phones and tablets will run full desktop operating system, ie, developers can create a single application for both the desktop and smartphone, and this also allows a device to become a full PC when docked with a monitor, mouse and keyboard. Canonical says that the main purpose of this release is early to attract developers and to contribute to the project.
Those interested can head on over to the Ubuntu wiki for instructions on how to install the Developer Preview Touch. If you want to try Ubuntu without deleting apps from your dual boot device is also an option.