Ubuntu SDK Apps are coming

The Ubuntu SDK preview is just over 2 months old, but we’ve already seen a lot of development starting with it.  Read below for a high-level look at some of the apps that are currently being written.

Core Apps

Shortly after making Ubuntu Touch and the SDK preview announcements, we kicked off an effort to develop the core applications for Ubuntu devices in the open with full community involvement.  We identified a number of desired applications, recruited interested community contributors, and dedicated design and project management resources from Canonical staff.

The actual development phase for these apps has only recently started, but some of them have shown a huge amount of progress already.


The Calculator app has made huge progress, and has been working closely with Canonical designers to work out the user interface and user experience.

Click for video


Likewise,the Calendar app developers have been iterating over their UI/UX with the design team, and are making fast progress on the front-end.

Click for video


The Clock app is also sporting a functional, stylish analog dial that shows your current time, with screens staged for more features to come.

Click for video


Even the weather app has seen some UI work recently

Click for video

But wait! There’s more!

The Core Apps developers aren’t the only ones working with the Ubuntu SDK preview, we’ve seen a number of 2nd and 3rd party app developers writing new apps or porting existing ones.  Here’s a short list of the ones that I’ve seen in development:

More or Less

A simple number guessing game

Click for story

Alternative Weather App

Community developer Joseph Mills independently created another Weather app

Click for story


Gwibber microblogging client developer Ken Vandine has started porting it to a QML front-end using the Ubuntu SDK

Click for story

 Sudoku Touch

Everybody’s favorite number puzzle, you can now play Sudoku on Ubuntu Touch using the SDK components.

Click for story


Or the lesser known number puzzle: Akari

Click for story


If number puzzles aren’t your thing, you can always group and pop some bubbles with SameGame

Click for story

Chess Engine

Vibhav Pant gives us hope that a mobile chess app will be available soon, by porting his chess engine to the Ubuntu SDK

Click for story


Speaking of things too come, Novacut developer David Jordan has also been playing with the Ubuntu SDK and gives us this teaser

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OMG!Ubuntu! Reader

But if you just want to kick back and catch up on some Ubuntu news, you can try the OMG!Ubuntu Reader

Click for story

Google Reader

And for the rest of your news reading, you can use this Google Reader built with the Ubuntu SDK

Click for story


Keep up with your friends using this WhatsApp client for Ubuntu Touch

Click for story

Jono Head

And then of course there’s this.  I don’t even…

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50 Responses to Ubuntu SDK Apps are coming

  1. Jef Spaleta says:

    Is the Jono Head app.. touch enabled?!? Can I actually _touch_ Jono’s head?
    Or better yet can I draw a handlebar mustache and a monacle and dare I say it a top hat overlaid on Jono’s head?

    Keep pushing the SDK. A coherent SDK story is extremely important for a platform push.

    • Michael Hall says:

      It is, and when you poke him he says things

      • Jef Spaleta says:

        Wow! So life like!


        • PeachyLuigi says:

          Sometimes technology scares me…

          Imagine what you could do in the future

          • Jef Spaleta says:

            well… looking into my crystal ball a bit….
            I expect that the Jono head app will develop an AI good enough to fool everyone during the next set of vUDS hangout sessions. This way Jono can deploy a Jono Head app instance in the cloud and cut over his video feed to the floating head when he needs to take a few minutes to eat or go to the bathroom or change a diaper. And looking further, in a year I expect Jono Head to be sentient and will be able to relieve Jono for long periods of time, long enough to take an intensive 6 week summer BBQ culinary class, without anyone, not even his own team will knowing he’s punted his workload to a talking head in the cloud.

    • obrowny says:

      Could be great to have Mr Jono potato head !
      Need to find him a miss…

  2. Mr. Grey says:

    Why so much grey on light grey or light grey on white? Isn’t contrast even more important on mobile?

    It may look good in movies. But it’s damn near unusable.

    • John says:

      Yeah, I second that. Even on my desktop, the first thing I do after installing Ubuntu is changing the default theme to one with a higher contrast. Gray on gray is terrible on the eyes. I think they should go more for a papery feel and give it a more natural, human look.

      Pretty please make the apps with a higher contrast!

  3. I saw on G+ that you were playing around with layout changes depending on window size. As part of the convergence strategy, I assume some of these apps are eventually going to make their way to the desktop. I haven’t seen any designs taking that into account yet. Any examples out there that I might have missed?

  4. skybon says:

    When will these amazing apps be available in PPA?

    • Michael Hall says:

      The Core Apps have a daily build PPA: https://launchpad.net/~ubuntu-touch-coreapps-drivers/+archive/daily

      The rest you’ll have to check with the author to find out.

      • Florian W. says:

        There are some common problems with the debian packaging of those apps though. (Missing dependencies and not packaging all required files, like *.js files because they are missing from the app template packaging rules.)

        I’ve reported bugs for calendar/clock/calculator on launchpad, and two of them were fixed swiftly, but some apps don’t even have the bug-tracking feature of launchpad enabled. Michael, can you look into enabling that?

        (i.e. the “rssreader” app package is missing *.js files, the “weather” app package is missing the “components” sub-dir, but both don’t appear to allow bug reports.)

  5. Alexander says:

    The calculator links to the clock app video.

  6. vrm says:

    Will there be an app store ( ala android etal) where free/paid apps co-mingle ? Ubuntu can get another revenue stream and users get the convenience of one-stop shop. Also, it is a good way to jump start developer interest.

    Pardon my ignorance if there is already one.

    • Michael Hall says:

      We already have the Ubuntu Software Center, which I’d imagine will get a port to Ubuntu Touch at some point.

  7. nono68200 says:

    Thank you to talk about my More or Less game! :D Very nice.

  8. Kintrawo says:


    • Michael Hall says:

      The Core Apps we’re asking for contributors to sign the CLA, but all of the others are being written independently of Canonical, so it’s up to each author what they require.

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  11. e8hffff says:

    Are the designs respecting the concept drawings on the website that people were asked to contribute to on the announcement of Ubuntu Phone?

    I thought the designs were really innovative and functional, yet these apps shown above looks basic/simple.

  12. e8hffff says:

    Sorry found the page;


    Serious scrap the apps demo’ed here and make them more like the concept designs from the mybalsamiq website. They look way better.

  13. Alejandro Nova says:

    Are those shining apps compatible with KDE Plasma? Is too difficult to make them compatible with Plasma?

    • Michael Hall says:

      I don’t know much about Plasma, but these apps are written in Qt and some additional Qt components from Ubuntu, so I would hope they would “just work” on KDE

  14. Sicofante says:

    Where’s the convergence?

  15. jocala says:

    Please release a version for the Galaxy II :)

  16. Frank says:

    Just got here from Ubuntu Facebook Post. Is Ubuntu Phone a Phone or apps to use with the Ubuntu Desktop on my T-Mobile Galaxy S2 Phone (fun to show off Ubuntu on my phone)? Sorry I just got in on the conversation.

  17. milhouse says:

    Calculator without % is not good. :/

  18. Eli says:

    This is great, but what unity need the most is its own modern file-manager.

  19. Coxy says:

    These apps look great… another clock, calculatior etc… that’s just what linux needs!

    This will get people using ubuntu on a phone because no other phone offers such great apps or such nerdy looking apps as the calculator

  20. I notice you’re using QML and Qt Creator to build apps – is Qt/C++ part of the Ubuntu SDK as well?

    • Michael Hall says:

      We’re encouraging the use of QML, but you are able to write apps with Qt/C++ too, yes

      • That’s fantastic; let’s hope this is where it really begins for Qt mobile! Nicest API going. Much as I like Android to use, it’s a dog to develop with.

  21. Also, if Ubuntu on phones is going to be Qt-based, are they going to be promoting Qt more on the desktop? It seems odd for the desktop Unity to be based on GTK3 and the phone version to use Qt. Is this a response to the well-reported API breakage problems in GTK3? Also, is it Qt 4 or 5?

    • Michael Hall says:

      All the different versions of Unity (Desktop, Touch and TV) will be merging into a single Qt/QML codebase we’re calling “Unity Next”

      • Maksim says:

        Great news. Then we can throw away GTK+ ugly antic widgets? That about base ubuntu soft like synaptic, and user programs like rhythmbox, firefox etc? I never understand why ubuntu have chased GTK. Which not improving in UI meaning for years… Great news really!

        • Michael Hall says:

          Gtk+ is easily theme-able, there no reason why it couldn’t continue to be used in Ubuntu as long as it acquires a Mir backend.

  22. Quinn says:

    Th thing that will make the phone great right out the box, it the free full featured Navigation App.

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