UBports 16.04 OTA-18 Released

The UBports team has announced a new version of the project’s mobile-focused operating system. The project, which continues the work of Ubuntu Touch, has published a new update: UBports 16.04 OTA-18. The new update focuses on improved efficiency.

Despite the seeming will of the internet to always have the latest and most powerful technology, we still have a lot of people using devices with just 1GB of RAM. The BQ E4.5 and E5 HD are old devices, sure, but they still work and make a lot of people happy.

OTA-18 almost always feels faster than OTA-17 on the same device. Unless you know what to look for, though, it’s hard to say why. We’ve made Lomiri’s wallpaper rendering far more efficient in this release. Without going into gorey details, we’ve managed to coax QML’s image loader into only loading one copy of your wallpaper. We’ve also made it scale down the wallpaper to reduce the number of pixels in RAM at any time. The amount of RAM saved by these changes varies depending on your device and whether you’ve set a custom wallpaper or not. If you have a custom wallpaper, you save at least 30MB of RAM on any device by upgrading to OTA-18. A larger-resolution wallpaper will use far less RAM on OTA-18 than on OTA-17, but the savings are greater for devices with a low screen resolution, so on an older device like the E4.5 with the default wallpaper, expect to save about 60MB of RAM.

You’ll also see better performance across the board. With a smaller background image, it’s easier for Qt to put together the scene that is displayed on your phone. Faster scene rendering means higher frame-rates no matter what is happening on screen.

Additional information can be found in the project’s release announcement. A list of compatible mobile devices and download options can be found on the project’s Devices page.