13.04 based Ubuntu Touch arrives with few changes
The Canonical developers have announced the availability of Ubuntu 13.04 based Ubuntu Touch images. These "Raring Ringtail" images, available for the Galaxy Nexus (codename: maguro), Nexus 4 (mako), Nexus 10 (manta) and Nexus 7 (grouper) – the four officially supported devices – have been described by some as "beta" images, but are in fact regression test images to ensure the transition from basing Ubuntu Touch on 12.10 to 13.04 goes smoothly.
Once the developers are happy there are no issues with the new images, they will switch over to the Raring based images. Although 13.04 on the desktop is in its final days as a beta, with a release expected later this week, the Ubuntu Touch releases are still early developer versions and Canonical reminds users that the images "are not intended for end-users; please don't go flashing your device thinking you'll have a replacement for android".
In testing, The H very much concurred with that opinion. Although there were a number of minor improvements in the state of the build compared to the "Developer Preview" released at Mobile World Congress and later updates, it was essentially the same experience of mostly proof of concept or "show demo" applications with preloaded data, game icons which lead to still images of the games and an application switcher which can obscure buttons on web pages when a user tries to use the buttons.
Progress is, apparently, being made on the core application development but has yet to be integrated into the images. Other applications that are being developed are being curated by Canonical's Michael Hall and Alan Pope as the App Collection. It seems though that command line access to an Ubuntu Touch device would be required to install any of these as there is no application installer available and they would have to be loaded from the Collections PPA.