Ubuntu for smartphones to stir up CES

Jan 03, 2013 by Nancy Owano report

(Phys.org)—Canonical's Ubuntu operating system will run on smartphones. Handsets featuring this Linux-based operating system could be a popular sight by next year. The user interface will incorporate edge gestures, a global search function, and support for voice and text commands. The newly announced Ubuntu smartphone will be a move that rounds out the vision of Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth's to see Ubuntu become a single operating system in use, from phones, with its distilled version of desktop interface, to supercomputers. The company said it is offering OEMs and mobile operators the ability to converge phone, PC and thin client into a single enterprise superphone, in Ubuntu.

Expanding on the smartphone announcement, Shuttleworth answered interviewers' questions on why customers might want an Ubuntu smartphone any more than an Android phone. His answer was that the Ubuntu phone could deliver a crisper, cleaner experience. Shuttleworth is also calling attention to the company's plan for a high-end device where you get a "full desktop" available.

Entry-level Ubuntu phones will require a 1Ghz Cortex A9 processor and between 512MB and 1GB of memory.

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The phones will double for PCs when docked to monitors. "High-end smartphones have a brain as powerful as ultra-light laptops," according to Canonical's message for network operators, OEMs and ODMs.

"Ubuntu uniquely enables a new category of convergence device – phones that dock to become full PCs and thin clients – enabling enterprise IT departments to replace phones, thin clients and laptops with a single secure corporate device."

HTML5 will be fully supported but native apps can also be developed, using OpenGL and QML, with C or C++ and Javascript compiled for extra performance. The code will initially be released as a file which can be installed on Samsung's Galaxy Nexus phone.

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Shuttleworth in interviews has made a special point of showing the Ubuntu smartphone's "edgy" features, where edges of the screen make the especially easy to use, in finding content and switching between applications. Adjectives such as "clean" and "spacious" in viewing the smartphone at work take on some meaning.

Phones running the software will be showcased at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Shuttleworth, said the BBC, was in talks with manufacturers for devices to be sold with the system pre-installed.

Canonical calls Ubuntu the world's favorite free . Ubuntu is based on the open source Linux kernel. An estimated 20 million PCs use Ubuntu.

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More information: www.ubuntu.com/devices/phone

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User comments : 21

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frajo
not rated yet Jan 03, 2013
Ubuntu users should be aware of the following:
"Ubuntu 12.10 now includes code that, by default, collects data on Dash searches. The code integrates Amazon products into search results and can even integrate with Facebook, Twitter, BBC and others as per Ubuntu's Third Party Privacy Policies."
More information: http://www.osnews...ts/26661
omatwankr
3 / 5 (6) Jan 03, 2013
Yea, I deleted that after install, but it should be an opt-in choice during the install.

Just another reason for mints growing popularity, I hope Shuttleworth stops the mini-Jobbs act someday.
cyberCMDR
not rated yet Jan 03, 2013
Damn. If Ubuntu becomes popular on smart phones, then more people will be targeting it with malware.
tigger
1 / 5 (3) Jan 03, 2013
Will probably have to run a command in a console window to send an SMS!!
VendicarD
1 / 5 (1) Jan 03, 2013
1. Ubuntu is too late to the Smart Phone Phad.

2. No one wants to run a command line driven phone.

Here is the Linux ASCII version of Angry Birds..

http://cdn0.fiver...12983417
Grallen
5 / 5 (1) Jan 04, 2013
Um... that actually looks pretty slick. I think that it has a shot at grabbing more market share than people might expect.

For those above: There is no need for command line for normal features. Did you even watch the video?
VendicarD
5 / 5 (1) Jan 04, 2013
but if there is no command line how will Linux users be able to ls and grep their files and chron their jax?
dogbert
1 / 5 (3) Jan 04, 2013
Android is a linux os stripped of many functions.
How would ubuntu on a smart phone be significantly different?

If you want excitement in a smart phone os, include native printing capability.
El_Nose
5 / 5 (1) Jan 04, 2013
well Android is an not a complete OS and uses a basterdized version of a stripped down java to run. Make it a complete OS complete with the ability to run a compiler and boom there you have it a better system than Android.
baudrunner
1 / 5 (2) Jan 05, 2013
The code will initially be released as a file which can be installed on Samsung's Galaxy Nexus phone
I'm not knocking Ubuntu, because it's not bad, really, it being just an OS to be sure, but at least it works pretty well, but of course, why would anybody not buy a Nexus phone if that can do everything else too with its existing OS?
VendicarD
1 / 5 (1) Jan 06, 2013
Improper question.

The proper question is "Why would any manufacturer pay to license an OS for their Fancy Schmancy Phone?".

These phone devices won't exist for much longer. They will be replaced with GP computing devices that clip to a belt and use bluetooth or whatever to transmit to headsets and direct to eye projection devices.

OS developers should be targeting that market.
gwrede
1 / 5 (2) Jan 06, 2013
This is the most interesting news for a while. Looks like Shuttleworth is a worthy contender for the role Jobs used to have in the industry.

Oh, and about the command line, while Android never was a Real Linux (ask any *nix guru), Ubuntu is. The command line is there, and you can do whatever you'd do with it on a desktop, if you want to. But being on a consumer gadget (phone, pad, etc.) means you can do everything without resorting to the command line. So, everybody is happy.

And, since Ubuntu is a genuine and complete Linux, computer professionals and *nix gurus can (and will) do things with it that Windows people have a hard time even imagining. And all without waiting for another shrink-wrap box for each job, that costs as much as the entire phone.
alfie_null
not rated yet Jan 06, 2013
I'm not a big fan of Unity on my laptop, but I expect it's still maturing.

Ubuntu is attractive in that I'm not restricted to one particular user interface (for now effectively there's only Unity, but I can easily imagine open source competition).

In writing apps, I'm not restricted in my choice of graphics API, or language. It'll be interesting to see how long it takes someone to put up emulators enabling use of iPhone and Android apps on Ubuntu phones.

And regarding that Amazon search result stuff, I have the option to turn it off. Perhaps not the case with other smart phone OSs.
frajo
not rated yet Jan 06, 2013
Oh, and about the command line, while Android never was a Real Linux (ask any *nix guru), Ubuntu is.
The CLI is not sufficient to make a "Real Linux". (eComStation aka OS/2 has a powerful CLI, too.)
An OS that uses opt-out policies like Ubuntu is not a Real Linux but a windows in disguise.
If you want to know how linux gurus think about Ubuntu's new privacy policy read the comments to "Ubuntu abandons search privacy" at http://www.osnews...ts/26661 .
frajo
not rated yet Jan 06, 2013
And regarding that Amazon search result stuff, I have the option to turn it off.
You do. Most users don't because they don't have a clue.
Do you agree to being exploited because of some lack of knowledge?
kochevnik
1 / 5 (1) Jan 06, 2013
Do you agree to being exploited because of some lack of knowledge?
That's the definition of 'exploitable.' What's your point?

If you don't like it then build it from source
kochevnik
1 / 5 (1) Jan 06, 2013
And, since Ubuntu is a genuine and complete Linux...
Linux is a kernel. If you want a complete OS use BSD or it's children. If you don't mind closed-source and possibly being spied upon with backdoors then use Solaris or Micro$oft

I build my boxes from source and the only preinstalled binary is the MBR bootstrap code. Canned software like photoshop gets wrapped in a Virtualbox
frajo
not rated yet Jan 06, 2013
Do you agree to being exploited because of some lack of knowledge?
That's the definition of 'exploitable.' What's your point?
The missing agreement.

If you don't like it then build it from source

Do you _agree_ to being exploited because of your lacking language skills?
And do you like an answer like
"If you don't like it then learn better English"?
DaveMart
not rated yet Jan 07, 2013
To lower the tone from the many learned comments here, my concern is more prosaic.

The case for my phone, and all the other cases I have seen, wraps around somewhat making access to the edges difficult.

Unless they have turned their attention to phone cases as well using it could be a rather irritating experience.
kochevnik
not rated yet Jan 07, 2013
Do you agree to being exploited because of some lack of knowledge?
That's the definition of 'exploitable.' What's your point?
The missing agreement.
For those lacking knowledge they have means of agreement as they lack understanding. I refer you to the definition. You are merely begging the question. To blindly sign an agreement in Xhosa or Zulu would be a trap

If you don't like it then build it from source

Do you _agree_ to being exploited because of your lacking language skills?
And do you like an answer like
"If you don't like it then learn better English"?
Well I know a few languages and for others I would acquire the knowledge in the form of a translator, and therefore remain unexploitable.
VendicarD
5 / 5 (1) Jan 07, 2013
If he actually had the cash and the ability to innovate you might be right.

"Shuttleworth is a worthy contender for the role Jobs used to have in the industry." - gwrede

He doesn't.

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