As many of you will know, our goal is to get the Ubuntu phone in a state where it can be used on a daily basis for testing, and importantly, finding bugs, UI issues, and other details that help us to refine the overall Ubuntu Touch experience. Progress is on-track for the end of May.

I decided to start dogfooding a little early (please remember, we are shooting for the beginning of July to be broadly in shape for dogfooding, so if you try, don’t expect things to be ready right now), so today I put my SIM card in my Galaxy Nexus with Ubuntu Touch and things are working pretty well so far. It seems that my data is no longer getting wiped on image updates, which helps testing significantly, so I am regularly upgrading with the daily images.

As ever, if you decide to test, you are doing so at your own risk…don’t be surprised to see bugs, crashes, and potential data loss (although I have not seen any data loss so far).

Some notes about my experience dogfooding:

  • Making and recieving phone calls works well. I am using T-Mobile as my network.
  • Sending and recieving texts works well too. Messages appear chronologically.
  • Contact syncing is not in place but Sergio blogged about how to sync your contacts from Google. This has made my phone infinitely more useful and rather nicely, it pulls in the avatars too so I can see who is calling me. :-)
  • Browsing and connecting to wireless networks works well.
  • The browser works well overall, although currently requires wifi (3G browsing coming soon).
  • Camera works well (for still photos, video not implemented yet) and I can browse my pictures in the gallery.
  • Many of the community-written core apps are present and working. Calendar lets me save and browse calendar events (although syncing with a calendar service is not there yet). Weather shows me the weather for my area right now and a week long forcast. Calculator is working and largely feature-complete. Other core apps are on their way to the daily image soon.
  • Overall the core Unity UI is working well. I can search for apps, load them, quit them, multi-tasting works well, and the indicators work (for adjusting volume etc).

The primary blockers in my way right now for normal use out and about are:

  • The screen does not auto shut-off. This means if the screen gets turned on in my pocket it never turns off and the battery dies.
  • Speakerphone not wired into the UI yet.
  • Can’t set the time on the phone yet. Also, the alarm feature in the clock doesn’t work; I need this to get me up in the morning. :-)
  • Not so much a blocker, but the phone is still filled with example material and contacts. They need to be removed.

All of these are on the TODO list for completion by the end of the month.

I have been filing bugs for a bunch of the issues I am seeing on a day to day basis and the team are working hard to hit the end of May goal. Overall progress is looking good.

Although I have been using the daily images for quite some time on a phone without a SIM card, using as an actual phone is even more motivating than before. I can feel the phone coming together and when we get many of these issues fixed, it is going to deliver a far superior experience than the Android phone I was using before.

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