Ubuntu app/scope wishlist and status (June 2015)

This is an update to the last post and has again been heavily extended. Thanks to all the people on the internet who came up with additions, updates and corrections. You know who you are!

Canonical has released OTA-4 by now, bq released a second phone, a shiny new Meizu phone is being sold in europe, we are already waiting for OTA-5 and Convergence is slowly coming together. Woohoo! If you are thinking about developing a new app or scope, there has never been a better time than now!

I am quite happy with the format I came up with back in May. Entries marked with the (UPDATED) tag have moved since the last list. Entries marked with the (NEW) tag have been added since the last list, but that does NOT necessarily mean that the app was not in the store before!

Games

Existing:

In Progress:

Missing:

Just look at the Android App Store Charts for more inspiration.

Clones of small utilities

Existing:

Missing:

  • Car Finder to remember the position of your parked car
  • Metal detector (…if this can be taken seriously)
  • (NEW) GPS Logger
  • (NEW) GPS Status (with full details)
  • Sound Meter (with calibration profiles for known devices)

Clones/Ports of useful single-purpose database apps

These apps could probably be ported, but they are so simple that they can also be easily cloned.

Existing:

  • Socket World, a list of power plugs and sockets used in different countries.

Missing:

Existing:

In Progress:

  • Aard Dictionary. Aard allows you to read offline versions of many dictionaries and databases, e.g. Wikipedia, Wikivoyage, Wikiquote etc. I use it extensively when traveling. There are several open-source implementations of the libraries and frontends for different platforms, e.g. Android and Desktop Linux. (I am working on it, albeit slowly.)
  • (UPDATED) Generic audio memo recorder, currently hindered by bug 1467219.
  • DLNA server, to stream pictures/audio/video to the local network.
  • (NEW) Quadrum, a FourSquare client.
  • (NEW) OSMScout, a turn-by-turn navigation app with support for offline OpenStreetMap maps.
  • SMB client. Looks like this will be implemented in the File Manager soon?

Missing:

  • AdBlock/AdFree
  • Audio/Video format converter
  • Backup. This is extremely important, phones store a lot of data and most users will get a new phone within less than three years, so backup and restore should be as painless as possible. It’s a horror on Android, let’s do better.
  • Business card scanner
  • A Camera app on par with the Google Camera App. I use the Panorama and Photo Sphere functions quite often.
  • Native clients for all major cloud file sync services (Syncthing, ownCloud, DropBox, MEGA etc.)
  • Comic Book Reader
  • Desktop integration like AirDroid. Transfer files between desktop and phone, show phone notifications on the desktop, write SMS from the desktop etc.
  • Firefox
  • DLNA client, to stream audio/video from the local network. This should probably be built into the Media Hub?
  • FTP/SCP/SFTP file transfer client, maybe built into the file manager? And with Content Hub support?
  • FM Radio. Currently not possible on the bq because the lower layers do not support the built-in FM receiver hardware.
  • Folder size
  • Native IRC client
  • (NEW) Native Jabber/XMPP client with OTR support.
  • Password Safes. I don’t use them and don’t like them, but other people do.
  • Remote frontends for Torrent clients (Deluge etc.)
  • (NEW) Remote desktop (RDP/VNC/etc.)
  • WiFi scanner. There are two approaches to this: You can either install the OpenStore and run Michael Zanetti’s WiFi Scanner, or you can wait until the connectivity-api allows the implementation of a confined WiFi scanner.
  • BlueTooth scanner (as soon as the connectivity-api exposes the necessary functionality)
  • Mobile network scanner (as soon as the connectivity-api exposes the necessary functionality)
  • Scuba Diving logger. There are a lot of divers out there, including Torvalds himself.
  • Simple video editor
  • Task automation like Tasker (Michael Zanetti has an initial implementation which would need an UI and some phone-related plugins.)
  • Tor
  • Vector graphics editor like SketchBook Express.
  • VideoLAN Client (VLC) (There is a Remote Control for VLC.)

The source code for the following apps is not available, and they often rely on proprietary APIs, so we probably have to nag the authors or reverse-engineer the APIs.

Existing:

In Progress:

Missing:

  • Bandsintown. A webapp will not be enough since the original app can scan the music files on your device and discover your favourite bands this way.
  • Booking.com, Airbnb, Kayak, EBookers and friends. There are webapps, but native apps come with useful features like offline support.
  • Carsharing apps. A webapp may be enough, but I am not sure as I don’t use Carsharing.
  • E-Learning for languages (Babbel, busuu, duolingo etc.) and other areas. (There is Lang.)
  • More Fitness tracker apps like Endomondo, FitApp, Runtastic etc.
  • FlightRadar24
  • Google Earth
  • Google Goggles
  • Google Hangouts or a replacement. WebRTC might be an option, or the native SailfishOS client by Daniele Rogora.
  • Instagram. There is a webapp, but it can only show pictures and not edit/upload them.
  • Flickr. There are now two webapps, the scope and the uploader, but it’s not yet the same as a fully native app.
  • Snapchat/Slingshot/etc.
  • LinkedIn. There is a webapp, but it lacks platform integration.
  • Native Facebook and Facebook Messenger apps. I don’t like Facebook, but people are going to want it, and the webapp is powerful, but lacks platform integration.
  • An Office Suite, preferably LibreOffice.
  • Secure Online Banking for multiple accounts.
  • Prey or some other anti-theft system.
  • Public transportation apps like DB Navigator or Handyticket.de. fahrplan already implements many things, but you can’t e.g. buy tickets with it, which is one of my major use cases for a smartphone. At least Deutsche Bahn was well-known for also releasing their apps for more “exotic” platforms like Palm handhelds or Symbian devices, and lots of functionality in the Android app is just implemented as a websites, so there is a slight possibility for a somewhat native UT app.
  • Re-commerce apps like Re-Buy, Momox, etc. I think something like Werzahltmehr (“Who pays more?”) could be built from Tagger.
  • Shazam, SoundHound or any other song recognition service. (There is Eyrie.)
  • Skobbler. We will never get a native, full-featured Google Maps app anyway, and Skobbler might be a worthy replacement.
  • Skype or Viber or LINE or Tango or Wire or a replacement, but the replacement will have to be very good if it wants to successfully compete against Skype.
  • Speedtest.net
  • StoryClash
  • TripAdvisor: There is a webapp, but the native app can download content for offline use.
  • Uber/MyTaxi/etc.
  • WeChat for chinese users.
  • WerStreamt.es? (“Who streams it?”), tells you which video streaming provider offers your favourite content.
  • WhatsApp. I will never understand why, but people really, really want it. The problem is that WhatsApp’s business model (keep everything proprietary and don’t allow anybody to build alternative clients) conflicts with Ubuntu’s design. WhatsApp would have to build a backend service for the Ubuntu messaging subsystem (Telepathy), which exposes their whole service and lets other developers build alternative client frontends. And no, WhatsApp Web is not a solution.
  • Wikitude
  • Xing. There is a webapp, but it lacks platform integration.
  • Zedge