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ANN: Ubuntu Core/Touch Android 4.4 support & touch engineering platform/devices/hardware going forward


Hi all,

the Ubuntu Core - Phonedations team used their first days during this
new year to work on enabling the Android 4.4 enablement stack for our
Ubuntu Touch efforts. As moving our platform to a new Android baseline
means that we would have to reinvest into all currently supported
devices, it's time to look at what devices we want to focus on going

Fast forward to the "Summary" section if you are just interested in
what targets will be supported/discontinued. Here is the way of
thinking and the decisions about what devices/platforms we will focus
on going forward:

1. Ubuntu Engineering (UE) will make a strong push on the _emulator_
during the month' ahead. Goal is to support the emulator for arm and
x86 as a _primary engineering platform_ for UE and our App Development
community. Once the emulator bits become available (stay tuned for
further announces) please take the time and start using the emulator
for everything you usually would do on the phone. We really want to
make the emulator a class A engineering platform for everyone and want
to hear about what works and what doesn't. Thanks!

2. Ubuntu Engineering (UE) will _continue to focus on the Nexus 4
phone platform_ and will _not adopt the new Nexus 5 platform_ short
term (before 14.04 is out). We decided against moving to the latest
Nexus phone, because the switching costs were simply too high taking
our current engineering goals/agenda/needs for 14.04 into account. Of
course, once we are on android 4.4, enabling the Nexus 5 should be
relatively easy, so if anyone from community wants to adopt this baby,
please get in touch with me or the #ubuntu-touch team.

3. Ubuntu Engineering (UE) will _discontinue producing builds for the
Galaxy Nexus (maguro) phone_ to ensure we can really focus on the N4
and emulator to polish and drive our Ubuntu Touch engineering agenda
towards 14.04.

4. Ubuntu Engineering (UE) will consolidate the supported tablet
device landscape and focus on making one device shine rather than
producing builds for all the NEXUS tablet platforms out there. The
platform chosen to be supported on our way to 14.04 is the NEW nexus 7
device (razor). The chipset (same as the N4) and form factor were just
too compelling to not make the move; in turn, we will discontinue
producing builds for the old Nexus 7 (grouper) and the Nexus 10

Community Platforms

Note, that while UE will by itself only invests in certain Nexus
platforms, we would be happy to explore how we can support skilled
community members that want to adopt one of the Nexus platforms
through infrastructure and to some degree know how and project
management services. So, if you feel you want to adopt one out of
Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 7 (grouper), Nexus 10 (manta), please talk to me
and the #ubuntu-touch team ....


The primary engineering platforms for the coming month' will be:

 1. emulator armhf for phone and tablet
 2. emulator x86 for phone and tablet
 3. Nexus 4 (mako) for phone
 4. Nexus 7 (razor) for tablet

The following engineering platforms will get EOL'ed:

 1. Nexus 7 (grouper)
 2. Nexus 10 (manta)
 3. Galaxy Nexus (maguro)


The move to Android 4.4 enablement is currently scheduled to happen
ASAP, with our tentative engineering goals indicating that everything
will be ready by end of January 2014.

However, as always, we go as fast as we can and we don't plan to slow
down or firedrill on this one to artificially make an exact milestone
date. Meaning: don't be shocked if we suddenly end up being ready a
week earlier earlier or later. We will send more accurate info about
dates and infra downtime etc. roughly a week before, so stay tuned!

Public Live-Spreadsheet

Since the question about what phones/tablets we will support came up
frequently in recent weeks, UE wants to experiment with providing a
public live spreadsheet that will contain up-to-date data about our
hardware/platform support plans. If you find that useful and/or have
suggestions how to improve this even further, please let us know!

- https://docs.google.com/a/canonical.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Au6idq7TkpUUdHE0RVFyb1lQYm5mYWp1Y0c3SlpZcnc#gid=0

Warning: please realize that while we like plans and usually try to
stick to them, things in this spreadsheet are by far not set in stone
and can change on short or even without notice ... so better don't
plan your business empire around this particular data without talking
to us first :).


Please keep the discussion on the channels below:

 - Mailing list: ubuntu-phone@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
 - IRC: #ubuntu-touch on irc.freenode.net


 - Alexander

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