Ubuntu for Mobile preview coming to a Nexus near you on February 21

ubuntuUbuntu for Mobile was announced at the beginning of the year, when it was expected we’d see the first phones running the operating system to go on sale in 2014. This changed recently when Canonical’s CEO said in an interview the firm was now on track for an October 2013 launch, however some questioned this accelerated launch date as being overly hopeful, particularly as the promised test version of the software had been delayed.

Canonical has now confirmed the test image, officially called the Touch Developer Preview, will be released on February 21, when eager fans will be able to install the software on their Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus smartphones. Canonical’s quick to point out this is for, “Enthusiasts and developers,” rather than the general public, so if you don’t fall into either of these groups, it would be wise to wait until the real thing before trying it out.

Software to help flash the Touch Developer Preview onto your phone will also be released, plus if you’re headed to Mobile World Congress, Canonical will have a team ready to install the software onto your (presumably spare) Nexus phone. Phones running the software will also be on display at the Barcelona show, but with at least six months to go until it’s ready for general release, we aren’t expecting anything more than the basics to be demonstrated.

Ubuntu for Mobile is one of several new mobile operating systems expected to be released this year and early next. Firefox OS is one of its closest competitors, and there’s a good chance the first phones using Mozilla’s new software will be launched at Mobile World Congress, while both Jolla and Tizen will both be there too, although in what capacity we don’t know.

By following this link on Thursday, February 21, you’ll be able to download and test the very first public version of Ubuntu for Mobile, provided you’re brave enough.