Smartphones are nothing but handheld computers having processors with very low power needs. Like any computer, software or the operating system plays a major role in how the hardware is used and the ultimate experience of the device is based on the operating system itself because it is the one that manages all the resources, which in a handheld device is scarce when compared to desktop counterparts.
Currently, some of the most popular smartphone operating systems include iOS (based on Unix) and Android (based on Linux). These two operating systems have captured major chunk of the market, and then we have some other proprietary smartphone operating systems which are fairly popular, like the Windows Phone 7/8 and the BlackBerry OS. The only open source operating system among the ones I mentioned above is Android and if we take a look at the adoption graph, the usage of Android has increased at an exponential rate since its launch. Thanks to the open source nature, manufacturers are able to produce low cost smartphones. According to an analyst firm IDC, “the Android operating system was found on three out of every four smartphones shipped during the third quarter of 2012.”
The main reason according to me for Android’s success is because it is open source, and of course Android has its own downsides and has a lot of room for improvement. In the meantime, it would also be great to have some more open source mobile operating systems in the market because competition is always good as consumers get to choose from. If you have heard of Linux, you would have most probably heard of Ubuntu as well because it is one of the most popular Linux distributions, and folks at Canonical (parent company of Ubuntu) have decided to step up the game by announcing Ubuntu for Phones.
As the name suggests, it’s is an operating system for touchscreen smartphones. It is not just any mobile phone OS, but a fully featured Ubuntu operating system with an interface that is designed for touch screen interaction and of course small screen size. According to Canonical, Ubuntu for Phones would be “commercially viable open source alternative” to the “duopoly” of iOS and Android.
The announcement comes as a surprise because Ubuntu had just starting adapting their operating system for touchscreen interaction, and recently an official from Canonical had shown Ubuntu running on a Nexus 7, so we thought the big announcement is going to be Ubuntu for Android, but they surely took us by a surprise.
I will be writing another article about the first look of Ubuntu for Phones, but all I can say right now is that it looks amazing, and the above trailer video should give you a sneak peak. Ubuntu phones are expected to be on shelves starting in 2014, however, Canonical will be releasing a version in a few weeks which can installed on your Galaxy Nexus smartphone. What are your thoughts on Ubuntu for Phones? Let us know!