Ubuntu – arguably the world’s favourite Open Source desktop operating system is keen to move on to newer, greener and smaller screened pastures. Canonical Limited, the Mark Shuttleworth owned company that oversees the development of the platform have announced their plans to enter the competitive smartphones. Earlier today in London, the company showcased the first glimpse of the user interface that Ubuntu for smartphones would sport when released.
According to Canonical, Ubuntu for smartphones is designed to be an ideal platform for both power users who need all kinds of features crammed on to their smartphones – and for basic smartphone users who simply needs something more than just basic calling and texting functionality. Canonical claims of six innovative features that the UI would sport and that would make it stand out from the current crop of smartphone operating systems.
- Edge magic: This feature will allow users to use thumb gestures from all four edges of the screen to find content and switch between apps faster than other phones.
- Deep content immersion – controls appear only when the user wants them. Consider this more like a default “fullscreen” mode for all apps and functionalities.
- An integrated, global (and beautiful) global search for apps, content and products.
- Support for Voice and text commands in any application for faster access to rich capabilities.
- Full support for both native and web or HTML5 apps.
- Evolving personalised art on the welcome screen.
Here’s a video of Mark Shuttleworth talking about the OS and his appeal to developers, manufacturers and operators alike. (This is a long video- be warned!)
Here’s another video showcasing the UI alone:
From whatever I have seen, Ubuntu’s new attempt at a smartphone OS looks promising. However as of now, the platform exists only in presentations and YouTube videos. It wold require tremendous effort from Canonical and lots of support from hardware manufacturers and mobile carriers for Ubuntu for smartphones to cause a serious dent to either Android or iOS. One thing that goes in favour of Ubuntu is the fact that the platform will be supported by any typical Android supporting platform. Also to be noted is the fact that apps and programmes designed for Ubuntu desktop is expected to seamlessly work on the smartphone version as well. This, if executed well might turn out to be a game changer.
The OS is to be showcased at this years CES and our Nicole Scott would be there to show this to you in detail! Watch this space!
All said, let’s all hope Ubuntu for smartphones does make a grand entry into the big bad world of smartphone operating systems this very year.