Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What's the official name for referring to Ubuntu running on a smartphone? I've heard it variously referred to as "Ubuntu", "Ubuntu Phone", "Ubuntu Phone OS", "Ubuntu for phones" and probably more.

Also, is the interface used on phones called "Unity", or is it called something else?

share|improve this question

The press talk about "Ubuntu Phone".

Canonical calls it "Ubuntu for Phones", which should be correct, since they code and publish it and therefore should know best how their products are named.

See also:

To answer your second question: The UI is a customized Unity Shell as seen in desktop Ubuntu and is also called Unity. The main difference is it's customized for touch gestures.

share|improve this answer
I agree that what Canonical call it is the canonical (pardon the pun) name. The trouble is, Canonical seem to have lots of names for it too. The main page on the website calls it "Ubuntu for phones", there's a blog post from the design team calling it "Ubuntu for the phone", and I've heard Mark Shuttleworth call it "the Ubuntu Phone OS" – marxjohnson Jan 9 '13 at 11:14
"Ubuntu for phones" and "Ubuntu for the phone" is essentially the same thing: it's Ubuntu running on a phone – David Planella Jan 9 '13 at 12:04

It's Ubuntu all the way, it just happens to be running on other devices :)

share|improve this answer
That's what the marketing engine produces, but we don't know that yet. Release cycles, updates, hardware support, etc. are all unsure. And I tend to disagree on this answer in general: completely different are at least the UI, kernel, default apps, installation method, etc. – gertvdijk Jan 9 '13 at 12:17
We definitely know that the UI is new, but is it still Unity? Will we have to say "Unity in phone mode"? – Flimm Jan 9 '13 at 12:29
@DavidPlanella: Take this hypothetical conversation: "How do I minimise a window in Unity?" "Do you mean Unity on the desktop, or Unity on the phone?" This could get old really quickly. We're all speculating, but based on the video, it does look like Unity for desktop and Unity for phones are different enough from a non-techy user's point of view to merit short-hand different nicknames. – Flimm Jan 9 '13 at 13:58
@Flimm, that indeed makes sense from the Ask Ubuntu point of view (i.e. how to handle questions and answers), but a regular user will only be interested to know that they're running Ubuntu, regardless of the device. Btw, I'm not speculating, I answered with the information I have right now. – David Planella Jan 9 '13 at 17:00
And the answer is still Ubuntu. We've just recently announced the converged codebase across all devices, which should make this even clearer. But if you really need a separate name, you can use "Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview". In fact, we've already got the ubuntu-touch tag in Ask Ubuntu – David Planella Mar 8 '13 at 12:10
up vote 2 down vote accepted

It now seems that everyone's settled on "Ubuntu Touch" to refer to the phone/tablet environment.

share|improve this answer
+1, Looks to be official too: – saji89 Mar 8 '13 at 10:38

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.