Ubuntu Phone OS Announced
Canonical is taking the wraps off the mobile version of Ubuntu, which is built around the existing Android kernel and drivers, but doesn’t use a Java Virtual Machine and promises to use “the full power of the phone.” Supporting both ARM and x86 processors, the Ubuntu phone OS will be compatible enough to let Android phone makers run it on their devices with minimal adaptation.
Ubuntu for Android, announced in February of last year, will be the first step to getting this new ecosystem out to shipping devices, which Canonical chief Mark Shuttleworth says will definitely arrive at some point during this year. While no carrier or manufacturer support has yet been announced, the first Ubuntu for Android handset should be provided by a “high-end” Android device maker.
Not surprisingly, Ubuntu’s handset interface is bringing a few unique features to separate it from the competition.
Proper Ubuntu phones are promised to be out in early 2014, but the company has a number of demo phones. Check out the first hand on video:
From an overall design perspective, Ubuntu looks to offer a pretty dynamic home screen experience that’s quite a bit different than Windows Phone, Android, or iOS. It’s focused more around recently used content — like contacts you’ve spoken to recently, music you’ve added, and apps you’ve used — rather than a static grid of content.
Searching include global search across apps and content on the device; it sounds similar to the famed “just type” universal search in webOS. Ubuntu will also have its own voice commands built-in — Canonical says that voice and text commands will work in any application. The operating system’s historical roots on the PC won’t be forgotten, either, as Ubuntu phones will be dockable with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. We’ll see if this works any better than Motorola’s ill-fated Webtop concept, but we’re excited to see another company give this a try.
Read more at The Verge