Ubuntu Phone support will end in June, app store will close in December
And then there were two.
June will mark the end of an era Ubuntu Touch users. Canonical announced earlier this month that they were ending development of the Unity desktop for Ubuntu, arguably the most popular Linux distro in use today. The Unity project (which had the goal of creating a consistent experience across desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones) was officially shuttered. On the desktop side, Ubuntu will shift focus to GNOME for its desktop, but what about mobile devices?
Earlier this month, it became clear that Canonical, the organization behind Ubuntu, would also cease development of the Ubuntu Touch OS for mobile devices. Ubuntu Touch was one of the few alternatives to iOS and Android with a corporate development team behind it, but it will soon be dead. This move will also kill off the convergence project, Ubuntu’s vision of using mobile devices as full-fledged desktops via a connections to a monitor and input devices. The question shifted from “if” to “when.” In a recent letter to NetworkWorld, Canonical has painted a pretty clear picture of Ubuntu Touch’s demise.
Their full response, posted on NetworkWorld, reads:
Firstly, Ubuntu phones and tablets will continue to function. Currently OTA updates are limited to critical fixes and security patches only. This will continue until June 2017 after which we will no longer deliver any further updates. Users will be able to continue to download apps, and developers can continue to push updates and bug features to existing apps until the end of 2017. However, it will no longer be possible to purchase apps from the Ubuntu Touch app store from June 2017. Developers of paid apps already in the store will have the choice between making their apps available for free or withdrawing them from the store.
By the end of June, only two months from now, Ubuntu Touch will no longer be supported. This means no more security updates, bug fixes, or other improvements/changes to the platform from July on. On top of that, the app store for Ubuntu Touch will be frozen with no further additions. Developers that charge for their apps will either have to pull the apps or offer them at no charge. And the final death knell will ring sometime in December when the app store will stop operations altogether.
If you’re one of the few enthusiasts still using Ubuntu Touch, it’s time to look for an exit and find another phone.