This past year was a fantastic one for the Android community. The year started out strong with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and quickly got better with fantastic offerings from HTC, Motorola and LG. Google also released Jelly Bean with major enhancements to Android's UI and performance. If early reports are to be believed, 2013 will be an even better year. 

Highly Anticipated Android Smartphones for 2013
Google Drive for Linux is a contentious issue. It is now common knowledge that Google is an active user of Linux for its internal purposes. Google has deployed a version of Ubuntu, called Goobuntu (a light skin over standard Ubuntu), in large numbers for its employees. Google is actually an Ubuntu Advantage customer as well. So why this delay in releasing one of its most important products for Linux, when there are versions for Windows and Mac already?

Google Drive for Linux Confirmed
Yeah that's right, Ubuntu 12.10 is now upgradable to latest Ubuntu 13.04 "Raring Ringtail" release. And Ubuntu 13.04 is pretty stable for a beta-quality OS, though I still won't/can't recommend it for production machines. I have been using it in my netbook from the early alpha releases and it has come together pretty nicely. It is even a little more snappier already than all the previous releases. More on that later. Right now, here is what you need to do to upgrade Ubuntu 12.10 to Ubuntu 13.04 "Raring Ringtail". 

Upgrade to Ubuntu 13.04 from Ubuntu 12.10
Have trouble with fullscreen gaming on Linux/Ubuntu? Try FSGamer for Linux. FSGamer is an opensource utility that runs games in its own X server, which can improve the speed, reduce annoying interruptions, and make switching between fullscreen games and your desktop easy and reliable. FSGamer version 0.1.1 has just been released and it seems to have squashed a number of annoying bugs and is working fine with Steam games now. 

fsgamer-fullscreen linux gaming simplified
Unity has serious performance issues. Improvements are slowly starting to trickle in, but even then, the current state of affairs leaves a lot to be desired. Making Unity faster and slicker should be Canonical's top priority in my opinion, and that is why I am still a big proponent of "Project Butter" for Ubuntu. Let's just hope that, Unity's performance will get the deserved attention it needs to compete with the best out there. In the meantime, here are some nice little tweaks to significantly improve performance of Unity in Ubuntu.

4 Tweaks to Improve Unity Performance in Ubuntu 13.04, Ubuntu 12.10, Ubuntu 12.04
Plasma Media Center 1.0 just got released. In case you're wondering, Plasma Media Center (PMC) is aimed towards a unified media experience on PCs, Tablets, Netbooks, TVs and any other device that is capable of running KDE software. Built on Plasma and KDE technologies, PMC is expected to become the XBMC of KDE. Plasma Media Center is still in its very early stages of development. But if you want to give it a spin anyway, here's how you do it. 

KDE Plasma Media Center Released
Hotline Miami is a 2D top-down action video game by Dennaton Games, blending top down perspective with stealth, extreme violence and surreal storytelling, along with a soundtrack and visuals influenced by 1980s culture. The game has a Metacritic score of 86/100. Hotline Miami was a Windows only game until recently. It was released for Mac OSX on March 19th 2013 and it seems like a Linux version is also on its way!

Holtline Miami for Linux
You never get tired of pay-what-you-want Humble Bundles. This time it's just a weekly sale that will last for 5 more days and the game on demand is none other than Bastion, the immensely popular and multi-platform action-RPG. Bastion is one of the most downloaded games in Ubuntu Software Center. The promoters of Bastion, Supergiant Games, have also announced their next big gaming title; Transistor. And the first ever video preview of "Transistor" looks absolutely fantastic. Check out the video below.

transistor, supergiant games, bastion
We have a winner or should I say winners? During every release cycle, Canonical conducts a wallpaper contest on Flickr through which they select the final set of default wallpapers for Ubuntu. Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail was no different and user submissions crossed 300 mark even though there were strict rules such as one wallpaper per person and similar. 

Ubuntu 13.04 Default Wallpapers Released, Download Link
An interesting project recently popped up in, one of the many KickStarter-like crow-funding alternatives out there. It's called The Minuum Keyboard Project and the promoters are hopeful of reinventing on-screen keyboards of the kind currently available in smartphones. Minuum Keyboard, when released, will be available for Android only initially. 

Minuum Keyboard Project for Android
Ubuntu Speech Recognition app is shaping up nicely. During the first video preview of the Ubuntu Speech Recognition software, author did promise open sourcing of the app. He has kept his promise. Ubuntu Speech Recognition is now open source and is licensed under GNU General Public License Version 3 aka GPLV3. See github page for more information. Installation instructions for Ubuntu Speech Recognition app can be found below. 

Ubuntu Speech Recognition App released
Third-party smartphone apps have been there from the early Symbian days. But the revolution really took off with the arrival of iOS and Android. Android and iOS with their centralized app store concept managed to attract tons of users as well as developers. Apps can be clubbed into 3 different categories basically; free (ad-supported), paid, and freemium (where users have to do in-game purchases to level-up and such). There are plenty of apps that command top dollar and help to make their creators very wealthy.

Angry Birds - $106.3 Million (2011 Total Rovio Corporate Revenue)

9 Highest Grossing Smartphone Apps of All Time
Video editing software are not a rarity in Linux. OpenShot and Kdenlive are two good examples. But when it comes to professional grade video editing software, Linux lacks good alternatives. But according to redshark news, that is all going to end now. Lightworks for Linux is not a distant dream anymore. It seems like the first beta release of Lightworks for Linux is almost here. Here's a live video demo of Lightworks running on Ubuntu.

lightworks for linux video demo on ubuntu
Wait is finally over. The results of second r/Linux survey is out. With nearly twice as much people participating, this year's results are even more significant. But if you look closely, the end results are not much different from the 2012 r/Linux survey. Ubuntu reigns on top still while the community-driven Arch Linux grabs the second spot. KDE 4.x becomes the most loved Linux graphical environment. Here's a quick drill down of r/Linux 2013 survey results.

2013 r/Linux Survey results
If you want the best of GNOME Shell and Ubuntu, there is no competition, Ubuntu GNOME Remix it is. We concluded our earlier review of Ubuntu GNOME Remix with the "best distro for Netbooks" title. It seems like a lot of people do agree with us. Ubuntu GNOME Remix has been renamed to just "Ubuntu GNOME" and is now an official Ubuntu spin, joining the likes of Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu, UbuntuStudio, Mythbuntu and Edubuntu.

Ubuntu GNOME Remix now an Official Ubuntu Derivative
Another day, another game for Linux. This time, it is an official Valve title, and it is none other than Counter Strike: Condition Zero (CS:CZ). The beta version of this game had a limited release earlier in February and now it is officially available for Linux via Steam. It is the fifth Valve title to be released for Linux taking the total number of games you can install on Linux via Steam client to 80. So when can we expect CS:GO Valve?

Counter Strike: Condition Zero (CS:CZ) Released for Linux
Flipkart is a hugely popular online retailing giant from India. Nearly an year ago, Flipkart launched Flyte music service which enabled its vast Indian user-base to buy and download legit copies of DRM free songs from a wide array of artists and movies at reasonable rates. One thing the service lacked from day one was a dedicated download manager for Ubuntu (and Linux). Well, that issue has been solved now.

flyte music download manager for ubuntu flipkart
Exactly a month ago, we published Steam's hardware and software survey results for January with a lot of excitement. Many considered it as a one off event and predicted that Ubuntu and Linux won't be able to sustain that kind of momentum. Well, February's survey results are out and the percentage share of Linux on Steam has almost doubled again! From 1.12% to 2.02% to be precise, without factoring in the "others" category.

Steam for Linux Adoption Spiking, closes in on mac