Ubuntu for phones delayed until 2014, but on Nexus 4 now

The Google Nexus 4 is one of the only phones powered by the new Ubuntu smart phone OS this year as official phones are delayed.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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The Google Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus are the only only phones powered by the new Ubuntu smart phone OS for a whole year, as we won't see official Ubuntu phones until 2014.

Smart phones powered by Ubuntu software were set to launch in October this year, but have now been put back until the first quarter of 2014. That's a delay of a good few months, not to mention a whole year of new Android smart phones and a new iPhone, no doubt selling like hot cakes -- making it much harder for rival platforms to establish a foothold.

A delay of this size can cause problems for new or niche platforms -- just look how Microsoft's Windows Phone is struggling to establish itself having come late to the smart party.

A high-end phone is promised from a big-name manufacturer, potentially challenging the op-end smart phones arriving this year. 

Ubuntu OS for smart phones is a new operating system based on the popular Linux distribution. There's also a version for tablets, the idea being that the different versions are coded closely enough to allow apps and features to work across your phone, tablet and computer. Although phones powered by Ubuntu won't appear until next year, the software will still be available in October.

In the meantime, you can try out Ubuntu for phones on the Nexus 4 or Galaxy Nexus. Or you can preview the tablet version on your Google Nexus 7 or Nexus 10 slate.

Is Ubuntu going to miss the boat? What do new platforms need to do to force their way into the crowded market? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.