Category Archives: Ubuntu Tablet

Hands-On with Bq M10 Ubuntu Edition Tablet [Video]

bq m10 tablet hands onThe Bq Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet is now shipping and the first “real world” takes how well the device runs are starting to roll in. Not that we haven’t had a good old looksie at it before. Mobile World Congress 2016 played host to the device, gifting us a glut of hands-on appraisals. Back then it was repeatedly said that the […]

This post, Hands-On with Bq M10 Ubuntu Edition Tablet [Video], was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

And We’re Off: World’s First Ubuntu Tablet Is Now Shipping

bq m10 shippingBq has begun shipping the world’s first Ubuntu tablet. Yes, if you pre-ordered one of the Ubuntu-powered slates from Bq last month you’ll want to keep an eye your email address over the coming days. A number of you have already been in touch with us say you’ve received a dispatch notice from the company: @omgubuntu my M10 […]

This post, And We’re Off: World’s First Ubuntu Tablet Is Now Shipping, was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

Ubuntu Touch Apps Available In Ubuntu 13.10


Ubuntu’s convergent goal is to have one OS running across multiple devices. No separate forks; no custom remixes, just one Ubuntu, with different faces depending on the screen it’s being viewed on.

As evidence of that goal the daily builds of Ubuntu 13.10 have welcomed some new applications into the Ubuntu Software Store: Ubuntu Touch Core Apps.

Gallery, Media Player, Notes & the webkit Web Browser are available to install and run on the Ubuntu 13.10 desktop.

All of the applications are in various stages of development (work on Ubuntu Touch and its core apps is ongoing) so don’t expect too much too soon.

That said, let’s take a look at what’s being offered.

Web Browser

The webkit-based web-browser for Ubuntu Touch is fairly basic thus far, but also fairly stable.

The address field, and back/forwards buttons are part of the toolbar (swipe up to show) placed at the bottom.

Tabbed browsing is already supported, and tabs can be launched and closed from a toolbar item. Clicking on a tab and dragging it to the left closes it.

Ubuntu Touch Web Browser

Ubuntu Touch Web Browser

Running on the desktop the browser is fully resizable, and responsive websites – e.g. like ours – adapt seamlessly during this.

If you’re already using Ubuntu 13.10 you can install the web-browser app by clicking the button below.

Install Web Browser App


If you’ve tried out one of the developer preview builds of Ubuntu Touch then you may have already played with the Notes app.

It’s nothing special; it lets you add and remove notes.

Dragging a note away

Dragging a note away

Install Notes App


The Gallery application is the app I am most impressed by already.

Again, if you’ve played with the developer builds on the phone or tablet then nothing you see here will be unfamiliar: you can view your Photo library by event, album or alone.

Individual images can be opened and edited. At the time of writing both Rotate and Crop work fine, but Auto-Enhance does not.

Ubuntu Touch Gallery App

Ubuntu Touch Gallery App

Install Gallery App


Are they usable as desktop apps? Kind of.

As you’d expect,  the interfaces of applications designed around digit input are not particularly mouse and keyboard friendly. Useable? Yes. Ideal? No.

For example, accessing the toolbar (drag up from the bottom) is hard to do with something as precise as a mouse pointer. Overshooting by a pixel or two and you accidentally end up resizing the window.

That and a lack of keyboard navigation are the only real user experience hurdles one comes up against when trialling these touch apps on the desktop.

In fact, if the toolbars were to remain visible when an app was in desktop mode then I’d probably find myself reaching for something like the Gallery app more often than Shotwell.

The important thing to remember is that its early days for these apps, and for touch apps on the desktop.

You’ll be able to go hands on with more than just touch apps in 13.10 – developers are hoping to include a separate Unity 8 session powered by the new display compositor Mir for willing testers to play with.

The post Ubuntu Touch Apps Available In Ubuntu 13.10 appeared first on OMG! Ubuntu!.

New Interface Animations Demoed for Ubuntu Touch

A video demonstrating a new set of animations for Ubuntu Touch has been posted online.

In the clip, Ubuntu designers showcase a range of visual effects for use in ‘core movements’ on Touch, including animations for switching between applications, unlocking the screen, and pressing buttons.

Ubuntu’s Designers are calling the motion theme ‘Paper’, with the visuals created around the idea of evoking ‘…the theme of paper wherever possible.’ Eschewing traditional papery-effects like curls and folds, the team have opted for a more ‘suggestive’ approach using layers and stacking.

The video also shows a number of application designs using the new ‘Suru’ UI.

Earlier in the week Ubuntu designers also demoed a video of their new RSS reader concept called ‘Shorts‘.

New Interface Animations Demoed for Ubuntu Touch OMG! Ubuntu! – Everything Ubuntu. Daily.

Ubuntu Touch Will Be Usable In ‘Couple of Weeks’ Says Shuttleworth

Ubuntu Touch will be featured enough for developers to use daily within ‘a couple of weeks’, Mark Shuttleworth has said.

The current developer preview, which recently gained daily build support, comes populated with dummy data and few usable applications. Developers are not advised to use it as their primary operating system.

But not for much longer, says Shuttleworth. In an interview with Zdnet’s Ben Woods he said:

“…you can’t really use [the current developer preview] as your every day driver, but in a couple of weeks you’ll be able to.”

Does a ‘couple of weeks’ seem optimistic to you? Perhaps so, but with the momentum building behind Ubuntu Touch it’s certainly not improbable.

Watch our hands-on with the Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview below.

What features or fixes would the Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview need for you to use it full-time?

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Ubuntu Building Own Display Server, Unity To Switch to Qt/QML

Canonical has today publicly confirmed that they are working on a new cross-platform displayer server for Ubuntu.

Called ‘Mir‘, the X Window Server replacement is tasked with ’enabling development of the next generation Unity’. Which, in yet another about-turn, is to be rebuilt in Qt/QML.

The news isn’t much of as surprise. Earlier this year Canonical’s Jono Bacon made several remarks in a Q&A session that hinted at the possibility of an alternative display manager.

’’…The simple reality is that X doesn’t meet those needs, Wayland doesn’t meet those needs.’

From looking at the commit log for Mir this opinion has been held since June last year, which is when work on Mir appears to have begun.

Why Mir?

When Mark Shuttleworth set out his grand goal of Ubuntu being ‘convergent’ – running across mobiles, tablets, desktops and TVs – he also threw down a series of technical hurdles that would first have to be overcome. One of the steppest to clear was always going to be the choice of display server – the the part of the system that draws the UI, and user interaction with it, on screen.

Currently Ubuntu uses X.

X is efficient at doing what it does but it has a problem: it is built upon code that’s almost 30 years old. A mature code-base brings with it legacy support for features and functions that are no longer needed on modern desktops, much less phones and tablets.

Intending to address this is Wayland – a relatively new display protocol that integrates features (like compositing) directly into the display server rather than adding them on as an afterthought.

The choice facing Canonical was to adapt one of these existing display server technologies/protocols to work across form factors, but compromise on vision, or create their own one from scratch.

Canonical chose the latter., with Mir built specifically to meet the aims and goals of Unity.

Task Ahead

The big task for Canonical going forward will be to persuade GPU vendors to invest in and support Mir.

Canonical say that they are ‘in contact with [and] working closely’ with graphics chips makers to support Mir and, perhaps more interestingly, ‘…distill a reusable and unified EGL-centric driver model that further eases display server development in general and keeps cross-platform use-cases in mind.”

But for now Mir is only able to run atop of free graphics drivers.

When Will It Arrive?

From the Mir Spec on the Ubuntu WIki, Mir is intended to replace SurfaceFlinger, the Android display server used in the Ubuntu Touch images, at some point in the near future. with the desktop targeted after that.

There is a Staging PPA for Mir is also available.

Around May this year we should see the first useable demonstration of Mir with Unity Next (the ‘new’ Qt/Qml version of Unity) on Ubuntu Touch.

By April 2014, the date of the next LTS release, Canonical hope to achieved full convergence, with Mir and Unity Next running across all platforms.

For more information on Mir head to the Ubuntu Wiki.

Mir Specification

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“World’s First Ubuntu Tablet” Starts Taking Pre-Orders – But Is It Legit?

Ubuntu_Tablet_SmallerAn Australian website is taking pre-orders for an Ubuntu tablet – but is it legit?

I was pointed to the website of the ‘intermatrix u7′ on Google+. It bills itself as ‘the world’s first Ubuntu Tablet‘.

But before you part ways with your hard-earned cash, take a step back and consider what’s really on offer here.


The Intermatrix U7 website lists ‘October’ as the shipping date for the device. This is a wee bit disingenuous on their part.

Whilst October is the ‘target’ for the entry-level smartphone experience to arrive in Ubuntu, it is not the expected date for the Ubuntu Tablet interface.

Indeed, work on the tablet interface is expected to continue into 2014, with Mark Shuttleworth saying that spring 2014 is the most likely date we’ll start seeing tablets turn up on shelves.

That’s not to say that work on the tablet UI won’t be at a satisfactory level by October, but with Mir, and a boat-load of interface and app work to be done, it’s best not to presume it will be.

Then there’s the fluctuating price.

Currently the U7 is set at AU$299 but, according to the website, it is expected to increase in price at a later date. Luckily for you if you order now you get to lock in this super-cheap price.

That tugs on my cynicism like a dog on a trouser leg. Delve into the Terms & Conditions and you’ll learn:

  1. You are placing a pre-order for a product that has not yet entered manufacture or assembly
  2. You should expect delays
  3. The shipping date is an estimate, and carries no guarantee.
  4. Final specifications are subject to change based on component availability & compatibility

Further more is the worrying assertion that, despite having charged your card the second you place your pre-order, you agree that:

  • An order for goods on this website shall not form a binding contract until expressly accepted by Intermatrix


Pushing aside my cynicism for a second, the specifications of the Intermatrix U7 do read like a Tablet capable of running Ubuntu Touch:

  • 1.5GHz Quad-Core Cortex A9 CPU
  • Quad Core Vivante GC1000+ GPU
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 16 GB Flash Storage
  • 7-inch IPS Capacitive Touchscreen
  • Front and rear webcams

No word on battery life, but since all the above is ‘subject to change’ it probably wouldn’t mean much anyway.


The Intermatrix U7 may well be a genuine product backed by a genuine company. But at barely a month post-tablet reveal, it’s a little too early to take cash upfront for something that won’t be available for potentially another year.

It is, of course, for you to judge. Hit the button below to visit the Intermatrix website to learn more.

Intermatrix U7 Website

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