Ubuntu Linux coming to smartphones

Ubuntu Linux coming to smartphones
A new year, a new smartphone OS emerges, but could this possibly be the one to look forward to?

Ubuntu for phones - notification pane

Canonical, the software company responsible for Ubuntu, has revealed fresh details about the upcoming mobile version of the popular operating system. The announcement was made via a lengthy video that goes in-depth about the Android-based OS's design philosophy, and the plans to bring a desktop computer like experience to mobile consumers.
Ubuntu Linux - running on Samsung Galaxy Nexus

To begin with, Ubuntu for phones comes with an immersive, sleek looking user interface that utilises all four sides of the screen to quickly bring a commonly used feature. In a similar fashion to Android OS, users will be able access the notifications pane by swiping down from the top of the screen. A short swipe from the left side of the screen will bring out a quick-access tray with most used applications, while a longer swipe in the same direction will reveal the rest of the installed apps.
Ubuntu for phones - favourite app tray

Contextual menu can be called out within any application by sliding your finger from the bottom edge of the screen, and you can easily return to the app you were previously using by swiping from the right side of the screen. Next to providing the user with important status information, the 'welcome screen' aka lockscreen has also been enhanced to allow users quickly access any app or feature with swipe-based gestures.
Ubuntu for phones - notification pane extended

Based on the Android kernel, the new mobile OS also aims to bridge the gap between smartphones and desktop computers. Users will be able to hook up their Ubuntu smartphone to desktop peripherals including a display and a mouse, and the OS will effectively tune to provide a full-fledged PC experience.

The underlying architecture allows Ubuntu for phones to be compatible with virtually any Android-running device, but, sadly, not the apps. At present, the new mobile OS officially runs only on Samsung Galaxy Nexus, all the while proper Ubuntu phones are promised to be out in 2014. Canonical will be sharing additional information about the mobile OS, as well as the hardware that it will run on, at CES 2013 next week.
Ubuntu for phones comes with an immersive, sleek looking user interface

Ubuntu isn't the only open-source mobile operating system to enter the scene. Next to the already established players in the market, Ubuntu will also have to compete for attention with Sailfish, a Linux-based OS from Finnish startup company called Jolla, and Tizen, another open-source contender, developed in turn by Samsung. Even Mozilla, the maker of the famous web browser, is jumping into the fray with the Firefox OS.

At the moment, the smartphone market may seem more like a two-horse race, with Microsoft and RIM fighting for the rest of the market share using Windows Phone and BlackBerry OS respectively.

Do you think there's enough room left for a new entrant? More specifically, do you think Ubuntu on mobiles has a good fighting chance?


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