2015. május 24.

My Ubuntu Phone App Wishlist

My source for getting up to date with the important and available apps for ubuntu phone is this post on Sturmflut's blog.

Based on my usage of any kind of smartphone, this is my list (might not be complete):

Phone Core:
what I think every smartphone should have, and their (--> specific android apps) I use.
  • System Settings
  • Phone Dialler
  • Messaging (SMS, MMS)
  • Address Book ( --> Google Contacts)
  • Clock, Alarm, Timer, Stopwatch
  • Calculator
  • Torch
  • FM Radio 
  • Camera (Photo, Video recording)
  • Dictaphone (Sound recording)
  • File Manager
  • Gallery (Image Viewer)
  • Document Viewer / E-Book Reader ( --> Adobe Reader, Kindle)
  • Music playback
  • Video playback
  • E-mail Client ( --> Gmail)
  • Calendar ( --> Google Calendar)
  • Tasks ( --> Google Keep (GTasks))
  • Notes ( --> Google Keep)
  • Internet Browser ( --> Google Chrome)
    • There is Browser (Ubuntu Core App)
  • Internet Radio ( --> Xiia Live)
    • There is uRadio. You have to add stream url-s to it. Playlist files will not work, but stream urls work fine. 
  • Podcast Manager 
  • RSS reader
  • Weather ( --> AccuWeather.com)
  • Dictionary ( --> Google Translate)
  • GPS Navigation / Maps / Compass ( --> Google Maps, GPS Essentials)
    • There is HERE Maps (preinstalled)
    • There are two Google Maps webapps: one & another.
  • Platform integrated Sharing and Push Notifications
  • Platform integrated Social Media Accounts (user name and password handling in apps and on websites too)
Specific Android Apps:
what I would like to use on my smartphone.

File synchronization and online access:
  •  CIBm Token
Time logging:
  • Toggl

Games and for fun:
  • Google Sky Map
  • Go Free, Mouse
  • Guitar tuner
  • Instagram, Pixlr-o-matic
Tools and Utilities:
  • Noise Meter
  • Terminal
Phone backup and restore:
  • Call Logs Backup & Restore
  • SMS Backup & Restore

2015. május 22.

Digging deeper into the Ubuntu Phone

Just a list of links

Ubuntu Phone Engineering:
Ubuntu HTML5 apps deep dive

Hacking Ubuntu Touch - a series of posts:


How hard can it be to make a new app for the Ubuntu Phone?

Some essential knowledge before taking any further steps.

Developers get the full support they need

Welcome to Ubuntu apps development! -- an outline of the contents

Design comes first: Apps design guidelines.
Get started with the Ubuntu SDK:

Understanding the Ubuntu App Platform: The Ubuntu Platform Guides
Picking your app toolkit:   
Publishing your app

Connection the Ubuntu Phone to the Ubuntu Desktop

Sadly, if you connect the Ubuntu Phone with an USB cable to the Ubuntu Desktop PC, it just might not show up in Files/Nautilus.

On Ubuntu 14.04 the problem can be solved by installing the latest libmtp on the Ubuntu Desktop.
As written in this askubuntu answer:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fossfreedom/libmtp
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt full-upgrade

On Ubuntu 12.04 it is not this easy.

To install the latest libmtp, use these commands instead of the above:
sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/fossfreedom/libmtp/ubuntu trusty main" 
sudo add-apt-repository "deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/fossfreedom/libmtp/ubuntu trusty main"
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

However, the Ubuntu Phone still not shows up in Nautilus.
But it is definitely recognized in lsusb:
~$ lsusb
Bus 001 Device 004: ID 2a47:2008 

ADB: an alternate way

An alternate way to reach the phone in with the Android Debugging Bridge (adb).
Install adb, if you don't have it yet:
sudo apt-get install android-tools-adb 

To be able to use the adb with the Ubuntu Phone, turn on Developer Mode on your phone.
Go to 'Apps > System Settings > About this phone > Developer mode' and turn it on. You'll have to set a Lock security first if you use Swipe only to unlock your phone.

As written in this askubuntu post, you'll have to add the phone vendor manually to the list adb recognizes, and then restart the adb-server:
printf '0x2a47\n' > ~/.android/adb_usb.ini
sudo adb kill-server;  sudo adb start-server

Now the Ubuntu Phone is recognized by adb:
~$ adb devices
List of devices attached 
JU013288 device

Usage of adb:
As a regular user, you'll probably just want to move files around.
This can be done with the push and pull commands.
Push copies a specified file from your computer to the phone.
adb -d push <local> <remote>
For example:
adb -d push ~/Music/testfile.mp3 Music/
Pull copies a specified file from the phone to your computer.
adb -d pull <remote> [<local>]
For example:
adb -d push Music/testfile.mp3 ~/Music/
List files and directories of your phone:
~$ adb -d shell ls
Documents  Downloads  Music  Pictures  Videos

~$ adb -d shell ls Music/

Mass-copy files with adb:
With adb it is impossible to mass-copy files. There is a sync option, but it only updates files that already exist, and copies none.
Alternate ways are script and tools based on adb, for example:

2015. május 20.

Ubuntu Phone Support and Bug Reporting

Before reporting bugs, always search for the bug you want to report. It is probably already known, and you only have to add yourself to it.
Check for reported bugs on the right side column on this site:

First bugs:

Getting Started with the Ubuntu Phone

Some essential knowledge

Ubuntu Touch is the operating system of the Ubuntu Phone.
Read the Help!
Definitely read the Help! It can be downloaded from the Store.
Also read the FAQ for info like dual booting Ubuntu with Android on your phone, and that you cannot install GUI based Ubuntu Desktop applications on the Ubuntu Touch/Phone, because the GUI is different.

What is the difference between Scopes and Apps?
If I understand correctly, Scopes are made for showing content to the user, and making search easier.
Compared to Scopes, if I understand correctly, only Apps allow the user to both receive and share content, while Scopes only allow to receive.
For example: you have the Instagram scope this day, in which you can view other people's Instagram images. But you do not have the official Instagram application, so you cannot make new Instagram images and you cannot upload them to Instagram.

What is the difference between WebApps and Apps?
WebApps are simply a website optimized for viewing on the Phone. They looks like an App, but they are really not, mainly because they mostly lack integration with the phone. (i.e. share options)

Not all Ubuntu Phone Core Apps are preinstalled:
You have to install manually from the App Store:

  • File Manager
  • Document Viewer
  • Calendar
  • Terminal

Reporting Bugs of the Phone:
refers to: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Avengers

PC-accessible AppStore content:

Copying files to and from the phone:
Through Nautilus/Files only Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures and Videos folders are reachable. If nothing happens when you connect your phone, try this.
An alternate way to push and pull files is using ADB, which is an android development tool. If you have trouble getting the device recognized, try this. Developer mode has to be enabled to reach the device with ADB. (And here's how to set up ssh connection)

The Starting Sites for Developers:
More on Scopes: https://developer.ubuntu.com/en/scopes/
More on Apps: https://developer.ubuntu.com/en/apps/

2015. május 18.

Welcome to the Ubuntu Phone

I got my hands on a BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition.

This is the hardware specification:

  • Screen size: 4,5"
  • Screen Technology: Capacitive IPS multi-touch screen with 5 simultaneous-detection points
  • Screen resolution: qHD 540 x 960 px, 220 HDPI
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Viewing angle: 178º
  • Others: Dragontrail Protection Glass
  • Internal mechanics: 8 GB eMMC
  • Expandable memory: Via microSD™ card (up to 32 GB)
  • Battery: LiPo 2150 mAh
Supported Formats
  • Video formats: .avi, .mkv, .mov, .mp4
  • Audio formats: .mp3, .ogg, .wav
  • Image formats: .bmp, .gif, .jpeg, .png
  • Text formats: .pdf, .txt
Dimensions and weight
  • Weight: 0.1230
  • Dimensions: 137 x 67 x 9 mm
Operating System
  • OS: Ubuntu
  • Connections: 3.5 mm headphone jack, Dual Micro-SIM
  • Functions: Ambient noise cancellation, FM radio, Microphone, Notification LED, Proximity sensor
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • CPU: Quad Core Cortex A7 up to 1.3 GHz
  • GPU: Mali 400-MP2 up to 500 Mhz
  • Front camera: 5 Mp
  • Rear camera: 8 MP with autofocus and flash
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth®
  • Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi™ 802.11 b/g/n
  • 3G: 3G + (HSPA+/UMTS/GSM)
It has 2 Micro SIM slots, so the first thing to do was to cut down my regular sized SIM card to a MicroSim.
Here's how: http://smartphones.wonderhowto.com/how-to/cut-your-sim-card-down-mini-micro-nano-size-0149154/

I changed from using Android, and everything is looking good so far:
  •  I could set up Google accounts for Mail and Contacts sync
Here's the problems I ran into:
  • Q: Google Calendar is not present to sync. How to change this?
    this post shows that there could be a checkbox for Calendar, but I see none.
    • A: Have to install Calendar Application from Store first. Then it is possible.
  • Q: GPS location is off by 30 km. How to make it more exact? GPS is not really working, i.e. 'Here' cannot find my location.
    • A: this solved itself after some time.
  • Bluetooth is either turned off or discoverable. How to set it hidden, while keeping it turned on?
  • Q: How to set the Weather measurements to Celsius and meter on the Today scope? Why is it in Fahrenheit?
    • A: This depends on the Region you set for your phone. English (US) will use imperial and Fahrenheit, and English (UK) will use metric and Celsius.
    • This probably changes the Spelling auto-correction too, but I will not use it anyway.
Some of my essential apps I would want to use on Ubuntu Phone too:
  • Facebook messenger
    • opening m.facebook.com/messages in the browser is a huge help
  • Google Tasks
  • Google Keep
After the first afternoon with the dual SIM UbuntuPhone I quickly went back to using the previous Android device for The Phone For Work, as my professional life requires the usage of a variety of stable Android apps, which UbuntuPhone currently cannot provide.

However, as my private phone, Ubuntuphone will probably be a lot of fun :)

Ideas to check out:
  • Android emulator for UbuntuPhone
  • Python and Bash: what is possible on the phone with scripts?
  • General knowledge on the dev possibilities
  • Installing desktop apps like Facebook Messenger
  • Creating Web Apps like Facebook Messenger
Some interesting links on development and dev tools and so on: