Ubuntu for Android (not to be confused with Ubuntu Touch) is pretty much dead

We were excited when first word of an Android / Ubuntu marriage started to form back in early 2012. We had some quality time with it at Mobile World Congress that year.

It was called Ubuntu for Android, and while it wasn’t the project we all dreamed of — Ubuntu on an Android phone — it was the next big thing. That next big thing is now the next dead thing. Canonical has confirmed that the product is no longer under active development, and won’t be until the team can find an OEM partner willing to play along.

So what was Ubuntu for Android? The idea is that your smartphone, when docked to an external monitor and paired up with an external mouse and keyboard, could seamlessly become a compact Ubuntu computer, giving you a full-fledged Linux operating system that can fit into your pocket.


Ubuntu for Android was a really neat idea, but it required a specific combination of hardware and software to pull off right. That meant each potentially compatible phone had to have its own smart dock, which explains the need for an OEM to play along.

It isn’t far off from Motorola’s Laptop Docks that would launch the web-based Webtop operating system whenever you inserted a compatible phone, a feature that is no longer a staple of their smartphone series.

It’s sad to hear that the project is no longer being worked on, but those are the breaks of a company like Canonical, whose only sources of revenue are from providing support for Ubuntu and raising funds in grassroots-like fashion. It was that reason that the company took to Kickstarter to try and get funds to build the Ubuntu Edge smartphone, a campaign which ultimately failed to attract enough dollars for them to go forward.

Canonical simply doesn’t have the resources and capital to play in the hardware world, which is why they’ve returned to their software roots. They’re still pretty involved with Android, with their Ubuntu Touch platform having been tested on a number of older Nexus devices. Unfortunately they’ve pulled support for all but the Nexus 4 and the 2013 Nexus 7, so there’s no telling just how invested they are into that project.

[Launchpad via OMGUbuntu]

Watch Derek Ross live tonight on TWiT’s All About Android show

TWiT All About Android

Tonight I have the pleasure of joining Jason Howell, Gina Trapani, and Ron Richards on TWiT’s “All About Android” show to talk about well…about all things Android. More specifically, we’ll be talking about some of he happenings in the Android world from the past week such as Android Silver, OK Google Everywhere, OnePlus One controversy, the latest Google Glass update, and plenty more.

The show kicks off around 8PM Eastern Time over at live.twit.tv. So, head on over there to watch us live and let’em know that Phandroid sentcha’. See you this evening!

Reminder: Dead Zebra’s Android ornaments go back on sale at 11pm Eastern tonight


Missed out on those Android ornaments we told you about yesterday? Dead Zebra’s initial stock went out quick, but they held a few back for folks to get another chance to hang the adorable mascot up on their Christmas trees this holiday season. Each ornament — available in either red or blue — includes a metallic finish, and glitter (because glitter + Christmas = love, warmth and fuzziness). They’re available individually for $10 a pop.

As they were earlier this morning, Dead Zebra is limiting this opportunity to a maximum of two units per customer. They are also offering a “tree pack” that includes 5 red and 5 blue ornaments for $90. Note that if you opt for the tree pack, you can’t order the individual ornaments, or vice versa. You could try, but you might not like the fact that your order will likely be cancelled.

That said, if you’ve made your mind up about which route you want to take and you have your wallet ready, be sure to circle back around 11pm Eastern tonight for the second chance to get in on this unique opportunity. US orders are guaranteed by Christmas, but those of you across international waters and borders will have to keep your fingers crossed that your postal service is fast enough to deliver it in time for the festivities.

[Dead Zebra Android ornament Tree Pack | Individual]

Time names Chromecast gadget of the year; what other Android devices made the cut?

Time Magazine has put out another one of their influential lists, with the outlet highlighting the top gadgets of 2013. It’s always interesting to see where different devices end up on this list. There was a time when Apple’s mobile products were automatic winners, but the tide has shifted in recent times. Folks seem to have figured out that a little company over in Mountain View is also coming up with some extraordinary gizmos and gadgets.


So who won 2013′s best gadget accolade? None other than the little HDMI key that could (also known as the Chromecast). This $35 bundle of joy enables folks to stream multimedia to their televisions in an easy-to-use, no nonsense fashion. It uses your home’s WiFi connection to set up an ad-hoc network for streaming content in ideal network conditions, giving you stutter-free HD playback from various different sources (such as HBO Go or Netflix).

It’s like Roku, except in stick form. It’s cheap, it’s easy, and it works, which would make it a very nice holiday gift for anyone looking to upgrade their home entertainment experience. While it’s not quite as open as we’d like it to be just yet, Google promises that they are working on bringing the tools that will help facilitate third-party development. You’ll find all of the details on the Chromecast in our official review, so be sure to check that out if you want to know more about what this little guy can do. Don’t forget to mingle with the rest of the Chromecast community over at AndroidForums.com.

Other big winners

Of course, the Chromecast wasn’t the only device on this 10-item list. A couple of other Android and Android-related products made the cut. The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX (check out the forums) came in at #7, with Time giving props to instant remote control support system Mayday (which they consider to be a ground-breaking feature).

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX

At #4 was the Pebble smart watch, an e-Ink wrist dweller that can connect to your smartphone and display social updates, notifications and messages. We’ll also give a nice nod to the Nest Protect, a smoke detector and carbon monoxide monitor in one which can alert you to potential life-threatening dangers inside your home while you’re away. Here’s the full list of products which made the list:

  1. Google Chromecast
  2. iPad Air and iPad Mini
  3. Oculus Rift Development Kit
  4. Pebble Smartwatch
  5. iPhone 5S
  6. Xbox One
  7. Kindle Fire HDX
  8. Nest Protect
  9. Leap Motion Controller
  10. Nokia Lumia 1020

No matter what you like and which side of the mobile wars you stand on, one thing can’t be argued: 2013 was a great year for tech. Let’s hope 2014 brings us even more innovative ideas. Let us know what you think about the list in the comments below!

[via ChromeSpot]

Happy Thanksgiving from Phandroid!


It’s that time of year again, folks — the time where you eat a ton of food, pass out, and then wake up at the crack of dawn to stand in cold lines and save big money on big gifts for the upcoming Christmas season. I could only be talking about Thanksgiving, the day that turkeys loathe (no matter how happy they look in those grocery store sales ads in the days leading up).

On behalf of everyone at Phandroid, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, and hope you guys will take some time today to truly enjoy yourself, your family, and whatever other company you might be around. And try not to open your mom’s new Nexus 7 and play with it before you put it under the Christmas tree this year — that’s just rude. Adieu!

Snapdragon 805 is official; 2.5GHz quad-core application processor and a 40% more powerful GPU

Qualcomm Snapdragon Chips

The folks at Qualcomm have officially announced the latest addition to the Snapdragon family. This release is for the Snapdragon 800 family, and brings with it a lot of improvements that should have people clamoring for this hot piece of Silicon. It’s called the Snapdragon 805, which hints toward this being a slight upgrade. There’s nothing “slight” about this jump compared to the 2.23GHz Snapdragon 800 currently sitting inside phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Nexus 5, though.

For starters, the Snapdragon 805 will feature a faster 2.5GHz quad-core Krait 450-based application core. It will also house the new Adreno 420 GPU, which Qualcomm claims is 40% more powerful than the Adreno 330 found within the base Snapdragon 800 configuration. Beyond all that, it also features increased memory bandwidth at about 25GB per second.

All that power enables the Snapdragon 805 to support resolutions up to 4K, which some industry folks are trying to get known as UltraHD. While it’ll be quite some time before a smartphone or even a tablet is able to natively display 4K content, this should be great for those who are planning to hook their devices up to any 4K televisions they are planning to buy in the future.

It’ll obviously take some time before we start to see these things inside consumer-ready devices, but Qualcomm suggests the first devices with Snapdragon 805 will begin shipping in the first half of 2014. In the meantime, we’d be happy just to see more phones with current Snapdragon 800 chipsets launch by the end of this year.

Samsung Galaxy NX now shipping for $1,700


Android-based cameras have always excited us. The Galaxy Camera, while not quite as nice as some other point-and-shoots within its price range in the area of picture quality, offered a unique software experience that not many other cameras could keep up with. That’s why we were drooling over the Samsung Galaxy NX when Samsung first announced it.

If you don’t remember, it’s a mirror-less interchangeable lens camera that provides photo performance comparable to a DSLR. It runs Android, and it looks downright awesome. Our drool dried up when we saw that outrageous price tag, though — $1,700, and that’s not including any extra lenses you might want to scoop with it (it comes pre-equipped with  compact pancake lens for wide-angle shots).

If the price tag didn’t scare you off, though, you might be happy to know that the device is now shipping from Amazon. Photographers can expect some serious muscle here, with The Galaxy NX coming with Android 4.2.2 and TouchWiz on-board, and features a 20.3 megapixel APS-C sensor, 8.6FPS of continuous shooting, 1/6000 shutter speed, and Samsung’s hybrid auto-focus system.

For software performance, the NX touts a 1.6GHz quad-core application processor, a 4.8-inch HD display, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage (expandable via microSD card slot up to 64GB), Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi N, aGPS with GLONASS, and more.

It’s a pretty decent device under the hood, so you should have plenty power to do whatever you need with all the photos you end up taking. Be sure to find it at Amazon and order one if you’ve been waiting for this bad boy to launch. Looking for hands-on video with this thing? Look no further.

LG “Glasstic” trademark hints toward Google Glass-esque wearable

lg glasstics

Smart glasses are still a fairly new concept, so not a ton of companies have thrown their hat into the game just yet. A lot of them are thinking about it, though — especially after Google decided it wanted to make this thing mainstream. Korea-based LG seems to be working on their own smart glasses, with a new trademark being filed for a product called “Glasstic.”

Filed November 14th, the trademark specifically mentions that it could be used for areas of mobile phones and spectacles, as well as clocks. There’s not enough information to draw any meaningful conclusion right now, but no one says we aren’t allowed to dream a little.

So what could we be seeing from LG in the near future? Will the company be creating its smart glasses experience? If so, will they use Android or some proprietary piece of software? Or could they be looking to claim a spot as the first third-party OEM to adopt Google Glass and launch a product line out of it?

None of it is for certain, but we’re glad that they’re at least thinking about something. Wearable smart glasses probably won’t take off until well after Google successfully launches their own creation to retail early next year, but competitors will have to get started on the future of their portfolio now if they don’t want to miss a potentially big train.

Dead Zebra opens “The Vault,” offers classic figurines at great prices


Our friends at Dead Zebra have opened what they call “The Vault,” and no, it’s not quite as epic as the vaults featured in games like Borderlands or Fallout 3. This vault is more like an over-stock warehouse where they keep extra figurines to replace lost shipments and the like. Well, as it turns out, a ton of these figurines were never used, and they’re just taking up way too much space.

They want to get rid of all the excess baggage now as they begin to make room for new launches in the weeks and months to come. You can find figurines like Go Go China, the Werewolf and the Power Vampire and more for $10 – $20, which is a nice discount considering these rare specimens are often on sale for a bit more on eBay.

Dead Zebra also has a number of “damaged” products for a discount. The figurines themselves aren’t actually damaged, but the box they come in are. If you aren’t a sealed collector and you just want some new figurines to prop up on your desk, these will be a great option at just $6 a pop. Dead Zebra’s site has the full list of items, so whether you want to treat yourself to another toy or need a great gift for an Android lover this holiday season, head over there and get shopping.

All-white Limited Edition OUYA revealed with 16GB of internal storage


While the 8GB of internal storage inside the OUYA wasn’t a huge problem for most, some have been a bit unhappy with the paltry initial offering. Thankfully OUYA has been listening, and has decided to bring us 16GB of storage… inside the new all-white OUYA. The device is now available for $130, which is just over $30 more than what the original launched for.

$30 for just 8GB more is a bit unnerving, but OUYA will soon be giving folks another option for expanding storage as the company has promised a software upgrade that should enable support for USB flash drives. We’re not sure how well that will work for installing games and apps, but it’s a heck of a lot better than being confined to what comes pre-installed.

The timing of this release is interesting, with Sony’s PlayStation 4 now available and the Xbox One set to launch this Friday. OUYA continues to contend that their console offers tremendous value, and that it deserves a spot in your home up next to the big boys.

Whether that turns out to be reality remains to be seen, but they certainly aren’t shy about trying to steal some of the spotlight from the major players of the industry. Be sure to order one at OUYA’s site if you’re interested .