ubuntu-logo-image-android-themeThemes are neat, aren’t they? Stock Android looks great and all, but sometimes it’s nice to change things up and try out a different look for a while. It doesn’t have to be permanent. Variety is the spice of using a mobile OS and all that. Thankfully, since this is Android, we have a lot of great options for themes.

We have already seen how you can make your Android device look like a Windows phone. Today we’re taking a look at how you can make your phone look (and operate similarly to) the newly-announced Ubuntu OS for mobile phone. Mark Shuttleworth and the gang at Canonical have come up with some interesting new ideas how we interact with our phones. However, are those ideas really as good as they seem? Does orange look fetching on a phone? With some clever theming, you can find out.

Introduction to Ubuntu

Canonical has long been rumored to be working on its own smartphone OS. It recently announced that Ubuntu for phones was real and coming to the Galaxy Nexus. Here’s a video of Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, talking about Ubuntu for phones.

As you can see, Ubuntu has some interesting new ideas. The first one is that you shouldn’t navigate your phone with buttons. Instead, the phone operates through swipes. Swiping from each edge performs a unique function.

Swiping from the top edge opens a settings toggle menu. A swipe from the left opens a menu of commonly-used apps. Swipe from the right and you’ll switch back to the last app. Lastly, a swipe up from the bottom opens the in-app menu.

It’s a different way to look at using a phone. Something like that wouldn’t be possible on Android, would it?

…Of course it is. Here’s how.

Theme Steps

Before going on, a quick note. We usually try to make these theme lists free apps only, but in this case there are paid apps that work perfectly for replicating Ubuntu. They’re not necessary, but they make it easier.


As usual, the modifications are listed in order of ascending requirements.

  • Ubuntu Live Wallpaper Beta – Replicates the “Welcome Screen” in Ubuntu mobile.
  • Widget Locker – (Optional) Creates minimal lockscreen to place focus on the live wallpaper.
  • GMD Gesture Control Lite – (Root) Adds a menu of custom apps with a swipe from the left. If you get the full version, you can set custom swipe commands that replicate the other functions in Ubuntu. If not, try LMT.


  • LMT Launcher – (Root) Adds custom swipe functions. Not as user-friendly as GMD, but works fine.
  • Tangerine Theme for CM10 – (CyanogenMod 10 ROM & AOKP) Tangerine is a paid app, but it’s well worth the money. It changes Holo’s blue highlights to a fetching orange and adds some subtle transparencies. Tangerine is gorgeous.

Final Thoughts

After using an Ubuntu-fied phone for some time, we’re ambivalent toward it. On one hand, the swipe system works well. It’s a good way to get around a phone. On the other, all that orange grates on you after a while.

Still, it’s a cool project to try. If you don’t mind paying a little for the apps, the Ubuntu Android device can be an interesting experience.