Ubuntu Smartphone OS Unveiled, Launching In Late 2013 With Support For Android Devices

By Vamien McKalin email: v.mckalin@mobilenapps.com | Jan 07, 2013 12:40 PM EST

Ubuntu has long been a favorite among Linux desktop users ever since the operating system entered the scene years ago, but it is about to take another huge step in the world of smartphones.

Canonical unveiled Ubuntu for smartphones on Wednesday, Jan. 2, a project that is targeting the enterprise along with the low and mid-range section of the smartphone market with basic entry level devices.

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"We expect Ubuntu to be popular in the enterprise market, enabling customers to provision a single secure device for all PC, thin client and phone functions," said Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical. "Ubuntu is already the most widely used Linux enterprise desktop, with customers in a wide range of sectors focused on security, cost and manageability."

Ubuntu founder, Mark Shuttleworth, showed a demo of the operating system in action with a completely different user interface compared to anything we've seen before. Ubuntu smartphones' OS may not make it far, but what it brings could be a look into the future of what other operating systems could bring to the table.

"Our mission is to make something extraordinary; something that has never existed before - one platform for all kinds of computing; your phone, tablet, desktop, and TV, and of course, the cloud, and your personal supercomputer," says Ubuntu Founder, Mark Shuttleworth in a video message.

The user interface is all about swiping and touching areas of the screen to set off certain actions. It reminds us of Meego and the Nokia N9, but Ubuntu seems to be miles ahead in the UI department.

Touch the left side of the screen and all your favorite apps will appear in a row, which is similar to what can be found on Ubuntu desktop. Swipe from the right of the screen for all your mostly used apps, swipe from the top for a search box, swipe from the bottom to bring up the home button.

Some features of Ubuntu OS for smartphones: are

  1. Innovative gestures: Touching or swiping all four edges of the display allows for faster finding of content and quicker swithcing between apps compared to other phones.
  2. Controls appear only when the user wants them to, this makes for more screen real estate
  3. Global search for apps, content, and products.
  4. Every application comes with voice commands built in, be lazy, use your voice and not your fingers.
  5. Both native and web or HTML5 apps.
  6. Homescreen art always evolving, it's also personal.

The Ubuntu smartphone operating system will use the same drivers as Android, so anyone with an Android device would be able to load Ubuntu smartphone OS on their handset with relative ease. Furthermore, unlike Android, the OS relies on native code and HTML5 for its apps and not Java; this means apps on the Ubuntu phone should perform a lot better when compared to Google's mobile operating system.

Canonical also promises that the Ubuntu smartphone OS will be a gaming platform, as the company is working with top game developers to bring exciting titles to the platform when it launches in late 2013.

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