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Ubuntu Phone support will end in June, app store will close in December

The Meizu PRO 5 was the last officially supported Ubuntu Touch phone. (Image Source: Ubuntu Insights)
The Meizu PRO 5 was the last officially supported Ubuntu Touch phone. (Image Source: Ubuntu Insights)
The mobile OS will no longer be updated after June of this year, while the Ubuntu Touch app store will be closed by the end of the year. These moves will essentially kill off Ubuntu Touch.

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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.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2017 04 > Ubuntu Phone support will end in June, app store will close in December
Sam Medley, 2017-04-25 (Update: 2017-04-25)
Sam Medley
Sam Medley - Review Editor - @samuel_medley
I've been a "tech-head" my entire life. After graduating college with a degree in Mathematics, I worked in finance and banking a few years before taking a job as a Systems Analyst for my local school district. I started working with Notebookcheck in October of 2016 and have enjoyed writing news articles and notebook reviews. My areas of interest include the business side of technology, retro gaming, Linux, and innovative gadgets. When I'm not hunched over an electronic device or writing code for a new database, I'm either outside with my family, playing a decade-old video game, or sitting behind a drum set.