CANONICAL has announced that it will release a test version of its Ubuntu mobile Linux distribution on 21 February.
The company said that on 21 February it will post a developer preview of Ubuntu designed for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 handsets.
According to Canonical, the release is the latest step in a bid to extend Ubuntu from a Linux distribution for PCs to a larger market that includes mobile devices.
"Developers who have experience bringing up phone environments will find it relatively easy to port Ubuntu to current handsets," said Ubuntu integration lead Pat McGowan.
"We look forward to adding support for additional devices for everyday testing and experimentation."
The preview release, which the company said is designed for developers and enthusiasts to use for testing purposes, will be followed by a campaign at the Mobile World Congress show. Support staff will be on hand to offer attendees free installation of Ubuntu on their devices.
The company said that the general release of the touch distribution Ubuntu 13.10 is scheduled for October. Canonical is looking to deliver the release as an all-inclusive code bundle supporting PC, mobile devices and smart television sets.
Canonical first unveiled its plans for a smartphone version of Ubuntu in January, revealing plans to take the Linux distribution to both ARM and mobile x86 processors.
While ambitious, the company will face strong competition in a market presently dominated by iOS and Android. Recent studies have estimated that combined the two mobile operating systems power 90 percent of the smartphone market. µ