The Ubuntu release schedule has been modified to include more intermediate releases. The final release for April 2011 end still holds. However, the new release schedule will include three alpha versions instead of the proposed five alpha versions.
The new release schedule stands as,
December 2nd, 2010 – Alpha 1 release
February 3rd, 2011 – Alpha 2 release
March 3rd, 2011 – Alpha 3 release
March 31st, 2011 – Beta release
April 21st, 2011 – Release Candidate
April 28th, 2011 – Final release of Ubuntu 11.04
With the release of version 11.04, Ubuntu will reach a mature state with better support for ARM devices, multi-touch and a lot more. Ubuntu 11.04 codenamed Natty Narwhal will also include a new Unity Shell that will be seen on the desktop version. However, other Ubuntu forks like Mint are not yet ready to make the switch to Unity. For developers and software companies, the Ubuntu Software Center in Natty Narwhal support paid apps like the Android and iPhone app markets.
As evident from the release schedule, the first usable release, which is the beta, comes on 31 March next year. This delay, however will hardly affect many regular users, as UI (user interface) changes interest them more than behind the scene changes.