17/02/2013

Install Ubuntu Phone Experience to, well, experience Ubuntu on your phone

An app developer has launched an app named Ubuntu Phone Experience which will create a sidebar that will appear when you glide your finger from the left side. The sidebar can then be used to open up your favorite apps, just like in Ubuntu OS. The Ubuntu operating system is expected to debut on Galaxy Nexus from this February.

Coming back to the application, the application was removed from the Play Store due to unknown reasons. I tried to contact the developers but failed to find their contact email address. What I did manage to find was the apk file for you guys to try out, in case you trust the developer, because it is certainly possible that the app might be removed from the Play Store for the wrong reasons. So, it is up to you if you want to try out the application. I did take the risk but found nothing malicious. There isn’t any permission that might raise your permissions. The 3 permissions it does ask are permission to display system level alerts, Google Play billing service, and the permission to automatically start at boot.

Let’s talk about the functioning of the app. When you slide your finger (or thumb, or whatever you like that might be accepted as a valid touch input) from the left edge of your screen, a sidebar will appear up, containing shortcuts to various apps. If you slide you finger back near the edge of the screen, “Cancel” option will appear in a message styled box, otherwise the name of the app that will be opened if you choose to lift your finger from the screen will be displayed adjacent to the current position of your finger. To get to home, a swift swipe from the left edge to right edge will do the trick. This can be illustrated more through pictures.



As shown in the picture above, when you lift your finger from the area 1 when the sidebar is already pulled out, the action will be cancelled, and the sidebar will retract back to hide itself. Similarly, when you lift your finger between area 1 and 3, i.e. in area 2, the app adjacent to your finger’s position will be launched. If you lift your finger in area 3, you will be taken to your launcher i.e. home screen.

Download the app here.

A short review of the app:
A few shortcomings I felt on my low end device was that after a while, the sidebar stopped appearing, even though the notification icon, which depicts that the service is running, was still present. May be because of the really low 165 mb ram of my device. Other than that, I didn't find any bug or so during my 48 hours review of the app. The free version, the apk of which is attached above, can place up to 8 applications in the bar, in addition to a home shortcut which is always present. Also, most of the preferences are locked down in the free version. As of now, the paid version is also off the market, and you have to live with the free version till it reappears, if it ever does, on the Play Store.

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