Will there be any official ports to Chinese devices?

  • Hi.

    I'm considering to try Ubuntu Touch as an app developer and also as a user but having a hard time finding a low cost, compatible device. Nexus 4,5 and OnePlus One is relatively cheap if you can find one second hand but as all pre owned devices they might come in poor condition which is ok for development but not for everyday use and for a second hand device I'm still find them way too expensive.

    I was wondering, if is there any plans officially to port Ubuntu Touch to low cost, high performance, Chinese devices like the LEAGOO, X-BO, LUXURY, XGODY just few I did find on Ebay right now. These brands are normally cost around 100 USD in New condition with reasonable specs but running an older version of Android and unlikely going to get an update. If I would get it directly from China, it would cost even less but would definitely have no Google Play on it but a bunch of malware. I would more likely buy one of these and flash it with Ubuntu than buy a Nexus 4,5,OnePLus One in poor condition for the same price or flash a new phone cost 400USD.

    I don't know if the actual devs at UBPort read this, but honestly I can personally see lot of potential in porting Ubuntu Touch to one or two of this low cost Chinese devices than supporting ONLY the expensive flagship brands. Consider that too, from this year in the Google Play Store all apps must target Android 8 or higher, so there will be TONS of Chinese brand phones will be rendered useless because the apps not going to be updated any more as many of these Chinese devices are running Android 7 and older and will be not updated.

    Obviously for now I probably going to buy a Nexus 5 or OnePLus One because I can't wait for a port, but I'm really would like to see officially supported some of these cheap Chinese phones in the future.
    In case this noname Chinese brands are out of question than please at least consider Lenovo, Motorola and Alcatel. Lenovo is a known brand across the globe, but you can get it for pretty low price directly from China and no not the fake ones. Real Lenovo devices filled with malware, no Google Play, cost half that much.

    Motorola and Alcatel making currently the most popular budget phones out there so if not Chinese noname devices than at least please target the budget phones instead of Samsung, LG, Sony....


  • @ddabrahim yes, we all want more devices ported to UT, but that's the problem precisely: we need to port each device model, one by one. And there are some minimum requirements to do that too.

    You can see the necessary steps in https://docs.ubports.com/en/latest/porting/introduction.html and http://docs.halium.org/en/latest/porting/first-steps.html

    Some people are trying to port some devices now https://github.com/Halium/projectmanagement/issues and as you can see there, is a hard, slow, and soul-sucking task 🙂

  • @advocatux
    What I would like to see is not really more ports, but ports for cheap devices. At the moment everybody want to see a port for flagship phones which makes no sense in my honest opinion. I would personally never flash a flagship phone cost hundreds of dollars with Ubuntu. I mean would you really flash a Google Pixel cost 600 USD? I like Ubuntu and Linux, but not that much. Chinese devices are more affordable in new condition but no one seem to care for them. But I see your point and thanks for the links too, I'm glad to see some people do try to port to Motorola G4 and G5 at least 🙂

  • @ddabrahim well Fairphone 2 costs 529€ and UT users are happy with it, so...

    If porters can get their hands on those «cheap Chinese devices», the hardware reach the minimum requirements, they can get the source tree, etc sure, they could (and probably will) be ported.

    As you can see is not a matter of «no one seem to care for them» 😉

  • @ddabrahim said in Will there be any official ports to Chinese devices?:

    I mean would you really flash a Google Pixel cost 600 USD? I like Ubuntu and Linux, but not that much.

    That is a very good point actually. Going with that, then Ubuntu Touch would only get any traction on such flag ship devices in the tail end of their support window, by which time they would no longer be flagship devices.

    While I understand the reasoning behind your call for porting to these no-name Chinese brands. I guess a huge part of the difficulty presented would be exactly the fact that they are no-name. Their availability would be limited among developers here, and there would probably not be any android source trees to start the porting from. The fact that they mostly run older versions of Android might also prove problematic, as older versions run on correspondingly older kernels, which in turn might lack necessary functionality for UTouch to work.

    Now, if this project were to catch on in China proper, on the other hand!

    EDIT: @advocatux beat me to an answer 🙂

  • try ebay for a meizu pro5.
    or a tablet BQ m10.
    You never know whats on there

  • Given the Android app problem you mention, perhaps a Chinese OEM might start to consider alternative OSs such as UT.

    What's slightly grating though, is I've recently read 2 articles, right in UBport's territory: one essentially about converging devices in our parlance, and the other about open sourcing drivers for phones - Halium, etc., and neither mentioned UT. It's almost as if there's a black hole around this project. 😕

  • @3arn0wl hmm interesting. Are those articles written for FOSS users or for a more wide audience?

    Can you share the links? Thank you

  • @3arn0wl thank you!

  • @ddabrahim While I can understand the reasoning the problem with cheap devices is that we have 90% no way of re-compiling the parts we need to make the hardware work. We need a few basic bits to be available in source code, and then the whole vendor tree as closed source.

    If you find a cheap Chinese phone with a good LineageOS port (official) then we might try. Everything what is unofficially ported to LineageOS may break or cost us hundreds of hours. This is not really efficient.

    There is a reason why they are cheap. They are not meant to be modded.


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