Nexus 5 debate over Ubuntu vs. Android


It’s a busy time in the mobile industry at the moment, with many new impressive devices being launched in time for the holiday season. One of the most awaited devices is the Google Nexus 5 smartphone, and now there is a Nexus 5 debate over Ubuntu vs. Android.

The Nexus 5 has been the subject of plenty of leaks and rumors and recently some impressive benchmark results. One of the pleasures of owning a Nexus device for many Android enthusiasts is that they offer a pure Google Android experience. Another aspect of using a Nexus phone is the appeal of being able to customize the device.

The Nexus 5 is expected to launch running Android 4.4 KitKat and both the phone and the new operating system are anticipated to arrive next month. Recently we discussed the Ubuntu connection for the Nexus 5.

We noted that as the Ubuntu for Phones operating system was also due to arrive in October, this could be exceptionally interesting for those waiting for the Nexus 5. Since then we’ve heard that the Ubuntu Touch OS is heading for an October 17 release.

The idea of using an alternative mobile operating system on the Nexus 5 has generated plenty of enthusiasm. Looking at the comments we received shows that some people are really excited about this, and that it adds even more attraction to owning the Nexus 5.

Ubuntu has up until now been a desktop OS and the move to mobile is winning a lot of praise by those impressed with Ubuntu’s ideas of convergence. Others agree that Ubuntu is “the icing on the cake” and that Ubuntu for the Nexus 5 is a “killer feature.”

However, there are also comments from those who are unimpressed by the Ubuntu developer preview on a phone and prefer the Android OS, or insist that they will only use Android.

It’s soon pointed out though by various other commenters that Ubuntu Touch hasn’t released to the public and so is not yet fully optimized. There’s some feeling that because of this it’s inappropriate to judge the Ubuntu mobile OS so hastily.

Although there are plenty of Nexus 5 buyers who will never use anything other than Android or don’t want to void their warranty, it also seems that there are others for whom the option to run Ubuntu Touch is a real plus.

We’re really interested to hear your views on this so we welcome your comments. Are you a potential Nexus 5 purchaser who only intends to use the Android OS? Alternatively, maybe one of the key selling points of the Nexus 5 to you is the ability to run Ubuntu?


18 thoughts on “Nexus 5 debate over Ubuntu vs. Android”

  1. shadyguy says:

    Never going to happen. Google own Android, and the whole point of the nexus series was a developer friendly device running stock android that got the latest updates quickly. using Ubuntu, another companies creation, is stupid and beyond the whole point of “Nexus”

    1. Justin Warkentin says:

      Since there are currently no phones that ship with Ubuntu and Ubuntu is awesome on the phone, how then do you propose that someone run the awesome OS with an awesome phone? It has to go somewhere and it just so happens that Canonical officially supports the Nexus phones so that makes them a great option.

      I don’t buy Nexus phones for the stock android experience. I already get enough of that since I flash Cyanogenmod on to every android phone I use. I want Ubuntu now. There are plenty of good reasons to buy a Nexus phone besides stock android – like the price for starters, and the fact that they’re officially supported with Ubuntu.

  2. myNameIsNotSteve says:

    @disqus_xEdhj6By3t:disqus I’m not quite sure what you mean by “never going to happen”, because that’s exactly what did happen with the Nexus 4. Its openness to modification resulted in it being the phone that Ubuntu Touch was designed on, so it’s not a question of “never”, but of “how long”. Within weeks of their release, I bet that Ubuntu touch will also be running on the 5. Pure Android is only one of the reasons that the Nexus series is so appreciated, the openness for development is hardly stupid, it just seems like it doesn’t interest you. Take care,

    1. shadyguy says:

      I meant to run it out of the box. Of course canonical can continue making Ubuntu touch, and its actually pretty nice on my Nexus 4, but my point is there.

  3. greg S says:

    The phone will never be shipped with Ubuntu its paid by Android nexus is supposed to be a purely android device. However we can expect it to continue to modifiable.

  4. A friend tipped me to rumors about the Nexus 5 today. I was one of the disappointed Ubuntu Edge backers. I still want my “Formula One” of smartphones. But Nexus 5 looks like a step in the right direction. I want to run Ubuntu, but I want the ability to dual-boot Android. I’ve been using a Palm PrÄ“ with webOS since it launched over 4 years ago. This just might be my reason to upgrade. The tipping point will be how Ubuntu works with Miracast. The Edge had an HDMI port. A wireless HD display connection would be even better!

  5. Monica says:

    Who would want to use Ubuntu on a smartphone? It’s missing all the good apps. It would be like using a Windows phone and getting stuck for not finding the app you need. It’s like using a least better search engine than Google, after getting used with all the cool feature Google search has. There will be no Google Maps, no Google Voice, no VoIP app to make calls using your Google Voice number, and so on.

  6. RDGinSA says:

    Sure, I am interested in a Ubuntu smartphone (I was also an “Edge” would-be investor), so I will definitely follow the Nexus 5 and the porting of Ubuntu Touch to it. With respect to the comment about the lack of “apps” on Ubuntu, I would respond that there is already a host of existing Linux programs and apps that run on Ubuntu, and many developers have indicated they plan to bring apps to the Ubuntu Touch platform. Other interesting possibilities include Nokia Here maps being available on many platforms (Nokia has already stated its intention to do this after Microsoft completes its acquisition of Nokia’s Devices & Services division), which I presume includes Ubuntu and would provide Ubuntu users with a mapping service entirely competitive with Google Maps. Of course, all of these are anticipatory statements, and we will just have to wait to see how it plays out. Nevertheless, I am optimistic about this platform.

    Another upcoming piece of mobile hardware is the Asus Padfone. In its various configurations, it would be seem to be a natural platform for Ubuntu Touch.

  7. Justin Warkentin says:

    Since the Nexus line seems to be the only one Canonical is focusing on supporting right now that was a key point in my decision to purchase the Nexus 5.

  8. Marco Veldhuizenâ„¢ says:

    nexus 5 ja die heb ik besteld zit levertijd van 2 weken op. als ubuntu touch komt gaat die er op in een dualboot ja ik weet het dat kan zoganaamt niet. toch lukte dat mij met de nexus 4 en galaxy nexus en dat doe ik zelf. ik pas de scripts aan die het geheugen in 2en splitst en nog veel meer komt veel bij kijken om het goed te doen.

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