Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu linux distribution, has been trying to make a dent in the mobile market for years. Back in 2012, it developed a feature that allowed phones to dock into full Ubuntu PCs, similar to Samsung DeX. That eventually evolved into Ubuntu for phones and tablets, a mobile OS specifically designed to work as as phone and portable PC.
In a blog post, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth announced the end of Unity 8's development, which would have been Ubuntu's new interface across all platforms. The new version of Unity was integral to the future of Ubuntu on mobile devices, and as such, development for Ubuntu on phones and tablets is ending as well. Ubuntu on the desktop will return to using GNOME as the desktop environment.
Ubuntu Phone never gained any real traction from device manufacturers or carriers. Only six devices ever shipped with the OS, and only from Meizu and BQ. A handful of Android devices also received ports, either by Canonical or through the UBports project. By contrast, Mozilla's Firefox OS (which was killed off in February) shipped on 23 phones and three tablets.
This is just more evidence that Android and iOS are the only viable mobile operating systems on the market. Without the massive library of applications that both platforms have, Ubuntu Phone never really had a chance to succeed - but I commend Canonical for trying.
- Ars Technica