Canonical has announced that it is set to release the first public preview of its Ubuntu Phone operating system
for smartphones. The initial release
will be available in two builds, one for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and another for LG's Nexus 4, while source code will also be posted for developers to begin working on installations for other devices.
The smartphone OS, which was previewed earlier this year at CES, takes a slightly different approach than iOS, Android or Windows Phone. Multitasking takes from the desktop Ubuntu build, placing apps in a sidebar that can be accessed by swiping in from the edge of the screen. Swiping up from the bottom provides access to application menus, while the notification menu drops down from the top.
In the future, the mobile OS promises to enable a phone to serve as a desktop computer when attached to an external display and a Bluetooth keyboard. The company is currently focusing on the mobile software, however, as it waits for more powerful phones that are better suited to running full Ubuntu desktop software in docked mode.
The Nexus images and open-source code will be published on February 21 ahead of the Mobile World Congress expo, where the company will show off Ubuntu on a wider range of devices.