Canonical to 'dogfood' Ubuntu smartphones before end of May

The team working on Ubuntu's Touch smartphone OS plans to start using it as an everyday phone before the end of the month.

Canonical, maker of the open source Ubuntu operating system, is planning to test out living day-to-day with smartphones using its Ubuntu Touch OS before next month.

Rick Spencer, vice president of Ubuntu Engineering, wrote in a blogpost on Wednesday that he aimed to get the Ubuntu OS image into a usable state so it could be used as the Canonical team members' main smartphone before the end of May.



"We should drive as hard as we can to making it so that we can use our phones with Ubuntu Touch as our real daily phones as soon as possible. Really eat our own dogfood, so to speak," Spencer wrote on his blog on Wednesday. "So, we committed our teams to making it so that by end of May, the phone images will be usable as our daily phones."

But it won't quite be a smartphone as you know it, at least not just yet.

Spencer and his team define "usable as our daily phones" to include functionality such as sending and receiving calls and texts, browsing on 3G or wi-fi connections (and switching between them), the ability to import, add and edit contacts, and the proximity sensor functioning to dim the screen when you lift the phone to talk. He also wants the phone to retain user data when updating the OS.

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There are some things, however, that Spencer can't envisage happening in the same time frame — such as the ability to find and install new apps or features missing from existing apps — but added that it would likely help speed up the development of the platform as "progress accelerates when people are using, in addition to building, software".

Canonical first showed off its smartphone and tablet plans at the beginning of the year, but the company has yet to announce any hardware partners for its tablet, smartphone, or TV projects.

At the time it said the first Ubuntu Touch based smartphones would go on sale around January 2014, with tablets to follow around April.