Ubuntu is a popular free and open source Debian Linux distro for desktop computing. Well, that was until now. Ubuntu is now also available as an operating system for smartphones. And it isn’t just another smartphone OS. It is the first full PC-compatible smartphone OS. In other words, if you dock a phone running Ubuntu OS, it becomes a full PC and thin client. Let me try again – dock an Ubuntu OS phone to a monitor and keyboard, and you have a truly handheld PC. Cool? Insanely awesome! The future is here.
User Interface & Apps
Ubuntu uses simple natural swiping gestures from the edges of the screen similar to what obtains on MeeGo. HTML5 is fully supported alongside native apps. The web app system lets you quickly adapt any web property for installation as an app on the phone, running independently of the browser, with its own icon and access to system services. This means that all the big names will be available to Ubuntu phone users at launch.
Canonical also say that Ubuntu has already been adapted to run on chipsets using the ARM and Intel x86 architectures relevant for mobile devices, and that the OS doesn’t have the overhead of a Java virtual machine, so all core applications run at full native speeds with a small memory footprint.
Entry-level Ubuntu phones can run smoothly on 1Ghz Cortex A9 and 512 MB RAM, while high-end Ubuntu “superphones” will be fitted with Quad-core A9 or Intel Atom processors and a minimum of 1 GB RAM.
The Smartphone Race
Just when you thought you had seen it all, Ubuntu for Phones joins the smartphone OS war and brings in a unique selling point. Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Sailfish, Tizen, Firefox, and BlackBerry 10! Like Android, Ubuntu for Phones is free and open source. Like Android, it has the backing of an entity, Canonical, so development is unlikely to stagnate. I am interested in seeing which OEMs will adopt Ubuntu for Phones. This is one promising smartphone OS. At least, in concept.
What do you think? Does Ubuntu for Phones look that promising, or is it just me?