Canonical has offered developer previews of the smartphone flavor of Ubuntu since February 2013, but today the company released a new feature that makes it easier than ever for users to dip their toes in the mobile Ubuntu water. This new solution is the Ubuntu Dual Boot developer preview, which allows users to install Ubuntu onto their Android device and switch between the two OSes with just the click of an app icon.
Over on the official Ubuntu Developer blog, Canonical explains that after unlocking their device and enabling USB debugging, users can load the Ubuntu Installer app onto the compatible Android hardware and let Google’s green robot handle the installation of Ubuntu itself. Once complete, users can hop back and forth between Android and Ubuntu simply by clicking on the “Ubuntu Dual Boot” app.
So what do you need to get your dual boot on? Canonical specifically calls out the Nexus 4 as being a compatible device, but it also notes that the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 should work as well, but that it hasn’t tested them to be sure. The device must be on Android 4.2 or higher and have both an unlocked bootloader and at least 2.7GB of free space. Finally, users will need to have ADB tools installed on their computer.
As I mentioned before, interested users have been able to load Ubuntu on their Nexus hardware for the majority of 2013. This new dual-boot solution is definitely the most attraction option for the Ubuntu-curious to date, though, as it allows them to easily escape back into the world of Android without having to go through the work of reflashing the OS. That said, this is still called a “developer preview” for a reason, and so only users that are comfortable with terms like “ADB,” “bootloader” and “flashing” should load the Ubuntu Dual-Boot software onto their device.
What do you think of what you’ve seen of Canonical’s Ubuntu Touch OS so far? Have you installed the developer preview onto any of your devices?