Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ubuntu for Smartphones

We all knew Ubuntu has prepping up something for today... and here it is: Ubuntu for smartphones. Looks like Canonical doesn't want to miss out on the mobile train, and they might be on to something.

This Ubuntu for phones is still a long way out - there are currently no manufacturers attached to this project, and we might not get to see an actual Ubuntu smartphone until 2014. But that doesn't mean we should disregard it completely. This Ubuntu mobile seems to have learned from all the available mobile platforms, and added a few shiny features of its own on top.

For the interface, they've taken a hint from Windows Phone 8, removing most interface clutter and giving content full-screen space. You navigate by accessing different panes that you can easily slide out from the left, top, bottom, etc. And this means you get access to most things you want with a single gesture - check out the video below.

You also get unified search results, from multiple online and local sources; fully featured web apps that have access to things that usually are only available to native Apps; and you also get voice commands not only for system wide operations, but for app operation as well. That's a nice touch... (though, if we're still a year away from it, I guess iOS and Android might very well beat them to it in the real world).

The real question is: is the market ready to have yet another mobile operating system?
We have Android, iOS, Windows Phone 8, the upcoming Firefox OS, Tizen, and now this Ubuntu... do you really think there's enough room for all? I sincerely don't think so... But I do think there's a chance web app centric OS'es, like Firefox OS, and this Ubuntu in part, might have a real chance - provided web apps become the universal Apps we hope them to become, and free us from closed platforms.

What do you think?

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