Ubuntu Unity 8 Convergence Desktop Mode

Published on by Jim Mendenhall

The team over at Canonical have been hard at work on realizing the dream of “convergence” for several years now. While, to many, it seems like the promised convergence of phone, tablet, and desktop Ubuntu will never be realized, progress is being made (and more importantly, demonstrated) in new builds of Ubuntu for devices like the Nexus 4.

I recently decided to give Ubuntu touch another try on my aging Nexus 4 phone, and I have to say, I’m very impressed! The Nexus 4 is by no means a cutting-edge phone, and it feels underpowered compared to newer Android devices. Nine months ago, the Ubuntu experience on the Nexus 4 was unbearably slow and pretty much unusable. Today, with the upcoming OTA-9 release, Ubuntu runs significantly faster (although, still much slower than Android) and is approaching something I might attempt using on a daily basis.

For me, the most interesting part of running Ubuntu on the Nexus 4 is the ability to check out the progress being made on convergence. With the help of a SlimPort to HDMI adapter, a Logitech M557 Bluetooth Mouse, and a Logitech K480 Bluetooth Keyboard, I was able to connect the phone to an HDMI monitor and try out the Unity 8 desktop mode. Yes, convergence at last!

Things in Unity 8 are still rough around the edges, but you can start to see the a clear picture of where Canonical is headed with all of this convergence stuff. It feels a little bit like 2004 when Ubuntu for desktops was just getting its start.

Here’s a short video I recorded to give you a taste of the current state of Unity 8 on the desktop.

Have you been able to try out Unity 8 in desktop mode? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below!