Ubuntu OS turns smartphones into computers

January 4, 2013

I must admit I did see it coming but not this early. Speculations were rife last year but  I could not have predicted Ubuntu OS, which is an open-sourced operating system for PCs and TVs would be launched at early stage of the year 2013.Ubuntu has now announced what is considered as the first OS to offer a single system that can run across smartphone, computer and connected Television sets.The Ubuntu OS’s docked phone can act as a thin client for remote desktop applications, which will allow users to stream Windows apps from a corporate data centre. Canonical CEO Jane Sibler is quoted as saying they 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. Jane Sibler added that Canonical sees an opportunity in basic smartphones that are used for the phone, SMS, web, and email, where Ubuntu exceeds expectation thanks to its native core apps and stylish presentation. The founder of Ubuntu Mark Shuttleworth revealed full Linux is essential Unix to our pockets. According to him, that means all the security stories that are true of desktop and server Ubuntu are true of the phone. It means the multi-user story is there and this means the application containment story is there, using Linux containers and virtualization. It means the parallel symmetric multi-processing multi-core story is there from the beginning and users can do things with Ubuntu devices on the high end that just wouldn’t be possible with other existing mobile Operating Systems.

Ubuntu mobile OS also supports the Android kernel and drivers, which enables the OS to run on current Android tablets and smartphones. However, unlike Android, Ubuntu does not have the overhead of a Java virtual machine and allows the operating system to deliver much better performance even on low-end hardware. They plan to initially release the mobile driven operating system as a free download for installation on any Samsung Galaxy Nexus phones in the coming weeks, with support for other Android handsets and tablet computers to come later. Good news of them all in my opinion are plans to ship the first Ubuntu handset at the end of this year. That would be very interesting to see because Ubuntu mobile interface has retained the ‘Unity’ look and feel of Ubuntu’s desktop OS. While watching the launch video online, I was impressed with the way Canonical demonstrated at the launch the ability to turn a smartphone running Ubuntu into a fully fledged Ubuntu desktop PC by simply docking the smartphone with a keyboard and monitor. I think the launch will alter the three horse race in operating systems battle to four horse race in coming years if Ubuntu team gets it right.

Contador Harrison