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Ubuntu-on-a-phone crowd fix Google account issues in new Touch update

OTA-21 of mobile OS arrives

While some smartphone users are pondering when their next Android or iOS update will hit, the UBports foundation has released one for the Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system in the form of OTA-21.

Still based on the Ubuntu 16.04 (although the team continues to work on 20.04) the update is due to hit supported devices (from the Google Pixel 3a to OnePlus hardware) during the coming week and has a number of useful tweaks.

The most immediately visible is a change to what UBports call "the Greeter" (or the thing that appears when a user wants to unlock their device.) It's all a bit slicker now, and has a different appearance depending on PIN or password selection. The storage statistics display has also received an overhaul and the Tamil language font added.

In among the changes are some useful fixes around MMS (which can now be retrieved when in 2G network mode only) and, thankfully, "Google account setup is now finally fixed for good!"

The latter has been a bit of a pain for Google users, and will permit the synchronization of contacts and calendar.

Past OTA-21, users will be looking forward to the release of the 20.04 update since the current 16.04 base for Ubuntu Touch is getting decidedly long in the tooth.

However, during a Q&A in December, the team reiterated that some hardware would not make the cut. "The core team," it stated, "has to make choices and the direction chosen is to concentrate on those devices which show off the best that UT can deliver."

So basically they won't be keeping that elderly tablet wheezing on for a few more years.

As for the rollout of the update, it should appear in the update screens of the devices over the coming week, with devices being randomly allocated a place in the staggered roll-out. Not out of concern for bandwidth, but to ensure the brakes can be applied should some nasty come crawling out of the woodwork. ®

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