Believe it or not, Ubuntu for smartphones has come to fruition, and it’s only a matter of time before we see full-fledged smartphones that have desktop-like functionalities in the hands of consumers. Although there are no official words as how much support Canonical will be getting from manufacturers and/or carriers, the people behind the platform seem confident that Ubuntu for smartphones will take off.
Samsung Galaxy Nexus owners will be pleased to know that they will be among the first to drive Ubuntu for smartphones. Canonical will release the installation package which will replace Google’s Android OS.
“We are confident that Ubuntu will ship on phones from large manufacturers in 2013,” says Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical.
In all fairness, the processing power of a smartphone is still far from desktop-level computing, but daily tasks that requires minimal horsepower (i.e. word processing) can get by if powered by a decent dual-core ARM-based chip. Many companies have already caught onto the idea of combining mobility with desktop/notebook functionalities; this is evident with the ‘docking’ stations that essentially turn tablets and smartphones into somewhat of a laptop.
Android, Windows Phone, and Mozilla’s upcoming Firefox OS are all engaging in essentially the same niche that Canonical is going for. Cross-device OS is nothing new, and for the most part these OS’s are touch screen optimized and doesn’t focus too much on the functionalities that desktop users are accustomed to. So perhaps this will be where Ubuntu for smartphones will shine, because supposedly the Ubuntu-driven smartphone will have full desktop capabilities when paired with a monitor, keyboard and mouse.
Canonical’s announcement of Ubuntu for smartphones seems more like a spinoff of Ubuntu for Android—something that has been peaking the interests of Android owners for quite some time. A fully dedicated smartphone OS instead of an Android add-on is definitely a plus if vanilla is your flavor, but at the end of the day it remains to seen whether or not manufacturers would be willing to hop aboard the Ubuntu smartphone wagon. Not to mention the fact that app developers for this particular platform is still lacking—or rather, it’s very sparse at the moment.