Ubuntu Touch, seriously?
Ubuntu Touch was a powerful daily driver back when Ubuntu actively maintained it. They abandoned the canonical a few years ago; however, an open-source organization called Ubports Foundation decided to take up the challenge to keep the software. Since then, Ubuntu Touch seems to have come a long way.
I needed a small device that I could carry around and something my wife could use as a Computer during travel. We could bring a laptop everywhere, but where’s the fun in that? My wife already uses Ubuntu, and I had an old OnePlus 2 lying around, gathering dust. So, we could potentially have a powerful computing device, connect it to a monitor/screen, and we could have ourselves a Mini Computer for work.
Ubports has an installer (available on Mac, Windows, Linux) that works fine most of the time. It needs an unlocked bootloader, but don’t worry about it. Ubports helps you with that too.
The installation process is practically a breeze, along with a few moments of anxiety. Here are the relevant steps.
Step 1 - Enable Developer Options & OEM unlocking
There are a couple of caveats before you start wrecking your phone, though.
- Enable Developer Options.
- Enable OEM unlocking and enable USB Debugging.
Step 2 - Connect phone to Mac/PC using USB cable
Connect your phone to your Mac/Windows machine via a cable.
Step 3 - Select your phone
It’s better to select your device manually and get started. They’ve got a pretty long list of supported phones, and there’s our sweet OnePlus 2.
Step 4 - Wait for the installation to succeed
All that’s left is for us to wait. The phone will restart a couple of times, once into Fastboot Mode and then installing the new OS, but we don’t have to worry about that. Soon, you should see Ubuntu’s beautiful boot screen.
Step 5 - If you’re stuck
Well, if you’re stuck, you have to rinse and repeat the above steps.
Is it worth installing Ubuntu Touch on my OnePlus 2?
Yeah, it depends. In terms of performance, the OS is smooth. More than the Android that it came with. However, here are the reasons why I wouldn’t use Ubuntu Touch again:
The list of WiFi options showed up 5GHz frequency too. I thought to myself, “Did my OP2 just gain the capabilities to connect to a 5GHz WiFi frequency?” But soon, I would be disappointed. The WiFi did show up, but the phone cannot connect to 5G connections. So, back to the old 2.4 GHz WiFi!
Where’s the sound?
The phone couldn’t play sound after installing Ubuntu Touch. Why is that? It turns out it was a known issue. Plugging in earphones and then plugging them out solves the problem.
Fingerprint and Hardware buttons don’t work
This post points out everything that doesn’t work with Ubuntu Touch. It seems like a long list if you ask me.
Bluetooth doesn’t work
I won’t be able to connect my Bluetooth mouse and keyboard with my phone.
Connectivity to a Monitor
The OnePlus 2 device doesn’t work with a USB-C-to-HDMI cable and a monitor. Ubuntu Touch has something called Convergence, which seems to work with the Miracast protocol. This is different from the Chromecast and requires another connector.
I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m not sure if I even want to invest in a Miracast HDMI Dongle just for this experiment. It would be disappointing especially if that didn’t work.
I guess I’ll just hold on to Ubuntu Touch for a while before I flash my phone with another OS. This time I’ll probably go with stock Android.