Ubuntu touch OTA-14 arrives with hardware support improvements and more

The UBports project (which took over the development of the Ubuntu Touch mobile platform after Canonical retired) unveiled recently, the release of the new Ubuntu Touch OTA-14 firmware update, for all officially supported smartphones and tablets that came with Ubuntu-based firmware.

This new release is based on Ubuntu 16.04 (The OTA-3 build was based on Ubuntu 15.04, and from OTA-4, transitioned to Ubuntu 16.04).

The next version is expected (OTA-15) migrate from Qt 5.9 to 5.12, which will serve as the basis for a future upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 components. The project is also developing an experimental port of the Unity 8 desktop, which has been renamed Lomiri.

Main news of Ubuntu touch OTA-14

During launch preparation, the focus was mainly on compatible devices sent with Android 9 platform (especially in driver migration).

Of the changes that stand out of the new OTA-14 is the added support for new cameras, as well as for external displays compatible with HardwareComposer2.

In addition, The correct determination of the display parameters of the devices based on Android 9 has been implemented. The portability is done with the support of Volla, who is working on creating a smartphone based on Ubuntu Touch and intends to hire developers to participate in the development of Ubuntu Touch.

Fixed issues with redirecting audio to Bluetooth devices that occurred during reconnection. For example, you will now continue to listen to a podcast with audio output from the car's infotainment system after disconnecting and returning to the car.

Of the other changes that stand out of this new version:

  • Work has been done to simplify the interface of the address book and the messaging program.
  • Made fixes to compile Ubuntu Touch software on other distributions like postmarketOS.
  • The splash screen displayed when connecting external devices is similar to the style of other applications.
  • Lomiri UI Toolkit (Unity 8) dialogs support dark theme.
    An item for taking screenshots has been added to the menu displayed when the off button is pressed.

Finally, plans for the future, the decision is made, starting with the release of OTA-16, to stop supporting the obsolete Oxide web engine (based on QtQuick WebView), which has long been replaced by a new engine that uses QtWebEngine, to which all the basic Ubuntu Touch applications have been carried over, but is still usable in third-party programs.

The Oxide engine has not been updated since 2017 and is dangerous due to the presence of unpatched vulnerabilities.

The elimination of Oxide will be the end of an era, but much needed: the engine has not had an official update since 2017. It is not safe to continue using the engine on the untrusted web, and it has only been kept running for the th ose offline rendering applications such as Dekko 2 and the application notes, I needed it. 

If you want to know more about it on releasing this new firmware update, you can visit the following link. 

Get Ubuntu Touch OTA-14

The update was generated for OnePlus Uno, Fairphone 2, Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus July 2013, Meizu MX4 / PRO 5, VollaPhone, Bq Aquaris E5 / E4.5 / M10, Sony Xperia X / XZ OnePlus and 3 / 3T smartphones. Compared to the latest version, the formation of stable assemblies has started for Xiaomi Redmi 4X, Huawei Nexus 6P and Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet devices.

For existing Ubuntu Touch users on the stable channel they will receive the OTA update through the System Configuration Updates screen.

While, in order to receive the update immediately, just enable ADB access and run the following command on 'adb shell':

sudo system-image-cli -v -p 0 --progress dots

With this the device will download the update and install it. This process may take a while, depending on your download speed.

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