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Ubuntu for smartphones launched, watch the video trailer

by Mark Tyson on 3 January 2013, 11:15

Tags: Canonical, PC

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabqvv

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We looked with interest at the Ubuntu teaser yesterday. A countdown on the Ubuntu homepage reached zero at 6PM in the UK. The strapline; “So close, you can almost touch it.” The big announcement was that Ubuntu has been developed as a smartphone OS. Devices running the mobile Linux OS will be available by Q4 2013, according to developers Canonical. The software will initially appear as a download for the Galaxy Nexus and the minimum hardware requirements for the new mobile OS are; a dual-core Cortex A9 running at 1GHz paired with 512MB RAM.

Take a look at the promo video below

Canonical says that the new Ubuntu mobile OS is aimed at two mobile segments; the high end superphone and the basic smartphone. On the high end hardware Ubuntu OS is expected “to be popular in the enterprise market, enabling customers to provision a single secure device for all PC, thin client and phone functions. Ubuntu is already the most widely used Linux enterprise desktop, with customers in a wide range of sectors focused on security, cost and manageability” said Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical. Turning to Ubuntu on the minimum spec range of smartphones she said “We also see an opportunity in basic smartphones that are used for the phone, SMS, web and email, where Ubuntu outperforms thanks to its native core apps and stylish presentation.”

User interface design is the height of importance on a new smartphone OS and Canonical believes that “Ubuntu raises the bar for mobile UI design, for richer and more immersive apps”. Furthermore it is “fast and beautiful” and offers a consistent user experience across phone, PC and TV.

Edge magic

Some of the UI highlights of the new system include “Edge magic” where thumb gestures on all four sides of the screen find content and switch apps “faster than other phones”. (That sounds a little like the new BlackBerry 10 OS peeking and app switching behaviour...) The OS also offers voice and text commands within any app, which can be native or HTML5. The promo video above does indeed make the new mobile OS look very appealing. Ubuntu mobile is built around the existing Android kernel but doesn’t use a Java VM.

Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu summed up the new mobile OS offering by saying “We are defining a new era of convergence in technology, with one unified operating system that underpins cloud computing, data centers, PCs and consumer electronics”. However as yet there is no news of any manufacturers of operators signed up to make Ubuntu handsets. Canonical does have a good record of working with manufacturers such as ASUS, Dell, HP, and Lenovo who have all made PCs with Ubuntu Linux pre-installed.

What do you think of this new mobile OS?



HEXUS Forums :: 9 Comments

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Some of the UI highlights of the new system include “Edge magic” where thumb gestures on all four sides of the screen find content and switch apps “faster than other phones”. (That sounds a little like the new BlackBerry 10 OS peeking and app switching behaviour…)

… which is derived from Playbook OS (which has the same behaviour), which is QNX-based. The same behaviour is also available on Win 8 tablets. None of which is really surprising, as once you actually try it, swiping in from the edge of the screen to pull up menus and switch applications is utterly intuitive…
The video on their website is pretty good and the docking to enable a desktop usage scenario is pretty neat. Unity seems to bring a nice cohesive experience across all formats and if the original vision was this, then colour me slightly impressed.

Emacs or VI on the phone, that could get ugly lol
I just can't see it make any dent in the mobile OS market.
I wonder what happened to the OS they did a demo of almost a year ago that let you connect a phone to an external display and let you use the full desktop version of the OS. If this is the one then I am very interested.

Edit:
Off the main site

“Unique PC experience on superphones when docked with a monitor, keyboard and mouse”


Finally have a reason to get a Nexus 4 but 16GBs are still out of stock :(

Edit 2:
A video review
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsVmDOZoVEo

And a look at the docking mode thingy I spoke of before
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66S8is1E9MI
hesham1516
Finally have a reason to get a Nexus 4 but 16GBs are still out of stock :(

Handset they are using seems to be the previous Nexus - the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Nice handset (the Mrs has one) but now superseded, over a year old and comparatively bad value unless you crave LTE. £342.18 on Amazon currently (was under £300 a few weeks ago before the Nexus 4 shortage).