After posting a countdown teaser on the Canonical website, the company have revealed what all the fuss was about. The desktop operating system, Ubuntu, is coming to smartphones.
The move sees the Linux based operating system run full desktop applications on phones as well as doubling for a PC when the phone is docked to a monitor.
The OS was demonstrated running on a Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and replaces the default Android Operating System on the phone. Canonical have made some changes to allow for easier use on mobile devices, implementing swipe controls from the edge of screens. They claim that “… thumb gestures from all four edges of the screen enable users to find content and switch between apps faster than other phones.”
Canonical are in talks with manufacturers about pre-installing the OS on phones and although they recognise that it is likely to be limited to enthusiasts and hobbyists at first, it highlights the incredible advances being made in smartphone computing power. “It’s quite incredible that we’re at this point when the power of the phone is crossing over that with baseline processing power of basic laptops,” Mr Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s founder, said.
Canonical claim they are the first to make this move of convergence, however, critics point to the fact that Microsoft have been trying to put a version of Windows on phones for years with their Windows Mobile operating system, and in the end, decided to abandon it in favour of a system build from the ground up for mobiles.
In fact Microsoft look to have been moving in the exact opposite direction, adapting a mobile/touch friendly operating system to run on desktops. It will be interesting to see which method is more successful as many desktop users are vehemently resistant to change, of any kind.
Of course this move will help to raise awareness of Ubuntu and having been estimated to run on 20 million PC’s, it may encourage developers to build applications that will run on desktop and mobile. Given that they have adopted the same framework as the upcoming Blackberry 10 operating system (QT) and that HTML5 applications will run on it, many developers should be familiar with the technology.
Phones running the software will be showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next week so we can see in more detail how it works in practice.
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the better twin.