Canonical has been working on adapting Ubuntu for touchscreen usage for quite a while now and recently they announced their foray into the mobile space by announcing their plans for Ubuntu for Phone.
The first look at Ubuntu for Phone excites me. Ubuntu for Phone is not just any other smartphone OS, but a fully featured Ubuntu OS with an interface that is designed for touch screen interaction. This project is basically the continuation of Ubuntu for Android project. Since Ubuntu is a complete open source affair, even Ubuntu for Android is an open source project, which means there will be 100% transparency. That also means that individuals can get their hands on updated images of the new mobile operating system and install on their devices.
According to Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu powered devices will be coming to the market in early 2014, but until then people will be able to load the operating system onto their Android devices and participate in the development effort by reporting bugs and developing apps for the upcoming open source operating system. Although Shuttleworth did say that the images will be made available “in the coming weeks”, exact date wasn’t given, but today Canonical announced that they will be publishing the images by late February. The new word comes from Engineering Manager in Product Strategy for Canonical, Alan Pope.
As of now, we have seen Galaxy Nexus running the true open source mobile OS, but Shuttleworth has already made clear that it should be relatively easier to load the OS onto any Android device available in the market, provided you are ready to lose the manufacturer warranty. The image will obviously not include all the features, and from the demo videos we can make out that the OS is very laggy as of now, but that’s understandable since it is still in its early builds and there is an year worth of work to do in order to polish the software so that in can be installed on a retail device.
As far as the operating system itself goes, the interface is stunning. The interface itself bears little resemblance to the desktop version, apart from the graphical style. The interface is based around swipes and gestures. Canonical has made sure that every bit of the screen real estate is utilized, and as we know, screen is really a scarce resource on a smartphone. The Ubuntu phone site itself calls the experience “immersive,” because it allows more room for the apps themselves. Since apps are the key for success of any platform, Ubuntu is bound to have problems with that and will be plagued by the same disease that affects Windows Phone platform, but the good news is that Ubuntu for Phone is basically Ubuntu OS with an overlay, which means all the existing apps that are available in Ubuntu’s Software Centre will still work on the mobile OS, except that the screens may have to be redesigned, but they need not be rewritten from scratch, which is a good thing. Are you excited about Ubuntu for phone? Let us know in the comment section below.
S0urce: OMG Ubuntu