The UBPorts team is set to roll out the next update to Ubuntu Touch on May 12th. While Ubuntu Touch OTA-17 won’t have as many user-facing changes as some previous builds of the operating system, there are still some goodies baked in, particularly for folks with a couple of specific devices.
For example, Ubuntu Touch OTA-17 is the first version to support NFC hardware. The feature only works on certain devices, including the Google Pixel 3a and Volla Phone, but it should allow developers to create Ubuntu Touch apps that make use of NFC to read or write NFC tags or communicate with other NFC-enabled hardware like wireless earbuds.
Other changes coming in Ubuntu Touch OTA-17 include:
- Mir display server upgrades from version 1.2.0 to 1.8.1
- Improved battery life and notification responsiveness for the Pixel 3a
- Automatic screen brightness works on the Volla Phone
- Camera flash, zoom, rotation, and focus fixed on the OnePlus One, Sony Xperia X, and other devices
- Macedonian keyboard layout
- Bug fix that allows word prediction to work on Swiss-French and English (Dvorak keyboards)
The UBPorts team says while this release might look rather light on new features, that’s because the developers are working behind the scenes on something much bigger – migrating the base of Ubuntu Touch from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.
For now, UBPorts is seeking beta testers to help kick the tires of OTA-17 ahead of next week’s launch. You can find information about downloading a release candidate build and how to leave feedback at the UBPorts blog.
Keep in mind that if you’re not already running Ubuntu Touch on your phone or tablet, you’ll need one of several dozen supported devices to install it (unless you want to try your hand at porting it to a new device).