The firm behind arguably the most popular Linux distribution, Canonical, has recently announced that it will be taking the Ubuntu experience to the mobile phone.
Ubuntu for Phones is the latest endeavour from Mark Shuttleworth and crew, and will be the first touch-enabled iteration of Ubuntu available to the public.
The operating system uses the heart of Google Android OS, and can therefore be deployed on handsets that are already taking advantage of the little, green robot.
While some may deduce that there isn’t any room for another competitor in the mobile operating system realm (or, more accurately, newcomers may find it extremely difficult to make waves when entering this market), Canonical believes all users– both novice and tech-savvy– will develop a liking to Ubuntu for Phones, stating:
“Ubuntu offers a much easier and understandable path to grow [non-savvy] users toward using the Web and e-mail on their smartphones… At the low end of the market I think we have a real user advantage experience over Android.
At the high end we have… all the security stories that are true of the desktop and server Ubuntu. You can do things with Ubuntu devices on the high end that just wouldn’t be possible with Android.”
Possibly one of the first questions that users ask of an operating system– whether it is deployed on a mobile device, or otherwise– is the support for applications that they use most. However, Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu, is confident that those who choose to adopt “his latest project” will be pleased with the support that is available, as applications that are submitted to the Ubuntu Software Centre may be deployed to both the desktop and (when it is available) mobile variants of Ubuntu. In fact, Ubuntu 14.04, due to become publicly available in April 2014, will be able to be deployed on Desktop machines and mobile devices, including tablets!
Of course, before applications can be developed for a platform, said platform must have carrier and hardware manufacturer support. Again, Canonical were more than happy to field questions relating to this:
“We have in the last three months brought up the Ubuntu phone experience on a variety of devices and in all cases that was a crisp, clean and short process which really delighted handset manufacturers”, Shuttleworth explained.
Although little has been revealed about any discussions between Canonical and “possible” supporting hardware vendors, it is known that low-end devices capable of executing Ubuntu for Phones will require a 1GHz Cortex A9 processor (an ARM-manufactured CPU commonly found in mobile devices) and 512MB through 1GB of system memory. On the other hand, higher-tier devices are expected to house the same A9 processor (although it must seat four active cores) or an Intel Atom chip, in addition to a minimum of 1 Gigabyte of on-board RAM.
Canonical has not, however, divulged any information relating to mobile network carriers.
Although an official release date has not been set, we can expect Ubuntu for Phones to drop in Q4 2013 or Q1 2014. For those of you who simply cannot wait that long, an image containing a “full” Ubuntu installation will be available for deployment on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus within the next few weeks.
Until then, leave a comment with any thoughts or questions you may have relating to Ubuntu for Phones, and take a look at what one could only call an Introductory video for UFP.