More than two months ago we promised to keep you informed about the further planing for the next upcoming Ubuntu Touch release 14.04. You might think we did not do this. Somehow your right. Because others did this already more or less detailed.
But we tried to have a look behind the scene, and focusing onto the big picture, and the vision of Ubuntu touch we posted about a lot.
From the big picture point of view, the touch OS will further evolve, but with less obvious results for the usual consumer.
A lot of development resources will be busy with fundamental tasks, like SDK enhancements, IDE plugins, the Ubuntu Touch emulator, cross compilation, push notifications, media service, download manager, online accounts, Web Apps support, apps convergence, security tasks. A lot of work needs to be done to get Ubuntu Touch not only running on tablets – actually it is already running on tablets, but to use the bigger view port of tablets efficiently, and to run Ubuntu Phone apps in Side Stage.
That means lesser resources for the review processes of the community work. The work on some core apps slowed down already. Even more community developers would’nt help. But those core apps are not only missing badly needed functionality, they also have to be adapted to the tablet form factor.
What does this mean for the 14.04 release and for the announced first Ubuntu Phones in 2014? We will have Ubuntu Touch adapted to the Tablet form factor, but basic functionality will still be missing. For example the work for a native mail client does not even have started.
For the announced first Ubuntu Phone this means it will either be postponed or the target group will be what we posted already earlier. Actually one might notice that the target group might be the same than Firefox OS Phones are aiming at. Even though the hardware requirements of Firefox OS are lower than those of Ubuntu Touch, the first Ubuntu Phone – depending an its price – can most likely compete with Firefox OS Phones, and not with other Phones running Android, iOS, Windows Phone or BlackBerry.
That does not sound that good up to here. But – a big but, there are those reasons why we liked the Ubuntu Edge that much. They still are valid for the Ubuntu Touch OS. People who like the Ubuntu Edge for the same reason will wait for Ubuntu Touch to be “finished” (see our definition of complete). It is the same state of mind people started using Linux on their PCs, and Ubuntu Touch will have the same slow but constantly growing user base. The waiting will be longer. Our best guess for now is release 15.04.
But maybe we are wrong. Maybe we do not see the work that is really done at the moment, we underestimate the amount of resources working on the project, more community developers are jumping on the third party app train, or maybe the handset manufactures are also developing on Ubuntu Touch. We will see. Stay tuned!