Ubuntu for Android hasn’t turned out to be quite the “wide open” project we’d anticipated. That particular project, which would turn a smartphone and smartdock into a desktop PC, is still having its kinks worked out and deals are still attempting to be made. The future of that is still uncertain, but the folks at Canonical have something else up their sleeves worth showing.
Ubuntu for Phones is what the company has been keeping under wraps, and it’s looking to be an absolute doozy. What you’re getting is a full-fledged mobile operating system which was derived straight from everything that makes Ubuntu for Desktop so great. The security features, app integration and everything else that makes Ubuntu the cohesive Linux distribution it is will soon be packed into smartphones.
Canonical made the announcement in a lengthy video where we got a good overview of what’s to come. The company expressed its desire to marry web apps with native apps, and allow the two to live in harmony to create the most compelling suite of apps one could hope for. They will look to developers to fill the apps repository up, and in true, open fashion Canonical even takes submissions for system apps, like the calendar and notepad, to give the development community a chance to contribute to the construction of this new platform
Ubuntu for Phones will utilize a “four edge” philosophy where every edge of the display is significant. From the notification pane at the top to an always-present apps “tray” able to be swiped in from the left, you’ll traverse all four corners of your particular device’s display to access everything you need. A unique search experience will allow you to search the web and find the files, apps and media you want without having to tell the OS where to look.
The best part about Ubuntu for Phones is that it was built from the ground up with help from Intel and ARM, and uses the same drivers that can be found in Android — yes, that means this operating system will be compatible with virtually any Android device. We don’t expect users to be able to flash it over any piece of hardware, of course, but this could eventually allow developers to create Ubuntu ROMs for curious users to flash. That is wishful thinking right now, but it’s technologically possible.
Canonical will be showing the phone and operating system off at the biggest trade show in the world next week and you can bet Phandroid will be right, front and center to get a good look at it. Ubuntu’s eager to talk to anyone who wants to use Ubuntu for their next smartphones, and while we don’t expect the Samsungs and HTCs of the world to be on the bandwagon just yet we’re excited to see how the biggest Linux distro on the planet could look on some of these OEMs’ devices. Take a look for yourself in the video above.