It's been quite some time since the Ubuntu phone OS was first unveiled, and the developers have released a video that gives us a look at where the operating system currently stands, what works, and what doesn't.
A lot has changed since the first images of the phone were released. The phone functionality, for instance, actually works this time. The video gives us a look at a number of things, including gestures, a couple of the native apps and notifications. As we've heard before, Ubuntu for mobile will use the Unity launcher—the same interface that is used in the desktop version of Ubuntu.
Swiping from the left edge of the screen gives access to a column of your commonly-used apps. Swiping from the right edge lets you multitask between your opened apps. Swiping from the bottom edge brings up the contextual menu for the app, and swiping from the top edge brings down the notification centre, with different screens for different notifications. Because of this interface design, the operating system doesn't need any hardware buttons save for the power and volume buttons.
While there is still quite a bit of lag in the operating system, judging by the video, it has been improved a lot compared to the demonstration Canonical gave at the Mobile World Congress this year. Things like phone, messaging and social networking are working fine. The developer has noted that the lag is present because of the fact that development is currently focused on getting the operating system's core functionality to work, and performance upgrades will come later.
The operating system looks quite close to being ready to ship. I believe that in a couple of months, once the devs have ironed out all the lag and refined the gesture system a bit, I wouldn't mind flashing the Ubuntu ROM on to my Galaxy Nexus. The operating system is definitely on track to being launched this year.
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