Hot on the heels of the advertisement of Ubuntu on phones comes Canonical’s latest announcement: Ubuntu on tablets. This is, in abounding ways, a no-brainer: Android and iOS accept already approved that the aforementioned OS can assignment on both anatomy factors. But the adventure is a little added absorbing back you accede what Ubuntu offers. And developers can alpha arena with it on Thursday.
I batten with Mark Shuttleworth, architect of the Ubuntu action and currently VP of Products at Canonical, about Ubuntu for tablets and phones. He was acutely aflame about the news, and common several times that this will be “one Ubuntu” on assorted platforms: desktops, phones, and tablets. This has a cardinal of actual absorbing ramifications.
While it’s the aforementioned administration codebase, anniversary belvedere uses a Linux atom tailored for the specifics of the ambition hardware. This puts Ubuntu in a chic by itself back compared to added multi-device strategies. iOS and Android are able-bodied ill-fitted for handsets, but don’t accomplish able-bodied — if at all — in acceptable desktop environments. Even Microsoft’s efforts aren’t unified, what with Windows Phone, Windows Mobile, Windows RT, etc. Apps accounting for Ubuntu desktops will run on Ubuntu phones and tablets.
Canonical is aggressively all-embracing the post-PC culture, and are active accretion aggregation with a articular “multi-screen” strategy. Your Ubuntu book works like best added tablets back you’re out and about, save for the actuality that it’s active Ubuntu. But affix a monitor, keyboard and abrasion and you aback accept the acceptable desktop experience, with a abounding window ambassador and assorted windows of accordingly active apps. Interact with your apps through mouseclicks. Undock (or abstract the peripherals), and resume interacting with your applications application blow controls.
An accidentally absorbing aspect of Ubuntu on phones is that developers with touch-enabled desktops can analysis out their adaptable applications appropriate from their desktop. The blow controls of Ubuntu adaptable apps will assignment on touch-enabled desktop PCs, abundantly streamlining the development and debugging process. Shuttleworth says “the acquaintance is perfect.”
To me, the greatest alms of Ubuntu for tablets is a accurate multi-user experience, broiled into the amount OS. My ancestors has an iPad, an aboriginal Amazon Kindle, and a Nexus 7. Coordinating which accounts to use to acquirement apps, and managing the adjustment of apps on these accessories is proving to be added bulky than we’d like. Ubuntu for tablets offers a accurate multi-user experience.
I asked Shuttleworth if they’d tackled how to handle user quotas, and ambassador privileges, and all the added barbed issues that appear in shared-use environments. He accepted that they accept not, yet. “But we accept 30 years of UNIX history on which to build,” he added, “so I don’t see these problems as actuality annihilation added than accomplishing details.” Shuttleworth additionally aggregate that a cardinal of OEMs accept been in talks with Canonical accurately about the multi-user features. This affection is of abundant absorption to aggressive and medical environments particularly.
Finally, because Ubuntu on tablets is “just Ubuntu,” it agency that all of Canonical’s administration accoutrement for Ubuntu systems already work. Corporate users of Canonical’s Landscape account can administer Ubuntu tablets alongside their agile of desktops and servers. According to Shuttleworth, none of their competitors accept a acute action adventure to tell.
So what, exactly, will Canonical be absolution on Thursday in the “Developer Preview”? Accessible antecedent cipher for Nexus phones and tablets: Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. It apparently won’t booty too continued for association to get this installed assimilate non-Nexus devices, too. Best actuality should work, with a few asperous edges. Cameras, the browser, photo and video galleries, media amateur with accouterments offload, notepad. All the accepted stuff.
The Developer Preview will not be after bugs, of course. Notably, according to Shuttleworth, this absolution makes no accomplishment to anticipate accessory afflict from too abounding apps active at once. Whereas best smartphones apply a cardinal of tricks to put accomplishments apps in assorted stages of sleep, Ubuntu will not do so at this time.
Ubuntu for tablets offers an absorbing multi-tasking experience. Applications will present their capabilities to the OS, such as “I’m a buzz app” or “I’m a desktop app.” Buzz apps can run in what Shuttleworth calls the “side stage”, and can run split-screen with added buzz apps or desktop apps. Some accessible examples are Skype or Twitter or Facebook while you’re browsing the web or watching a movie.
Indeed, Shuttleworth aggregate that in their user testing appropriately far, bodies were actually captivated to see how all of this works. “If you ask addition ‘Would you like to multi-task?’ they don’t absolutely apperceive how to answer,” he said. “But if you ask them if they’d like to accelerate a cheep while watching a movie, they apperceive actually what you mean.” Users accepted to lose the playback of their cine back they launched Twitter. Instead, it opens up in the “side stage” and works flawlessly, all while the cine continues to play. Samsung featured agnate functionality in their Galaxy S3 commercial; but Ubuntu is demography this functionality to a new level.
As for why absolution Ubuntu for tablets now, Shuttleworth opined that the archetypal accessible antecedent mantra of “release early, absolution often” can be a anathema in both ways: if you absolution too anon you accept annihilation but vaporware; but if you absolution too backward you lose drive and attention. Now, he feels, is the able time to absolution Ubuntu for phones and tablets. Developers can alpha digging in, and the accepted accessible can alpha salivating.
The October absolution of Ubuntu (13.10) will accept the smartphone cipher complete, says Shuttleworth, which curve up appealing accurately with Canonical’s comments at CES beforehand this year. Shuttleworth was quick to point out that authoritative certifications and branch processes booty time, so in absoluteness we shouldn’t apprehend accouterments afore Q1 2014. After that, software updates from Ubuntu will chase their accustomed cadence.
This release, says Shuttleworth, is advised to drive three accoutrement of activity. First, it allows developers to alpha adequate the built-in experience. While the Ubuntu adaptable SDK is accessible appropriate now, you can’t absolutely analysis it on a phone. Thursday’s absolution remedies that.
Second, the bodies central the Ubuntu association are aflame about accretion the association awning to awning new platforms. This goes above aloof architecture apps or accepting added poeple to use Ubuntu. It includes things like babyminding and council or Ubuntu initiatives.
And finally, there’s accouterments testing. The antecedent absolution is targeted at the Nexus band of hardware, but as the third-party ROM bazaar for added accessories acutely shows, there are a lot of able bodies out there shoe-horning Android assimilate all kinds of devices. Thursday’s Developer Preview will acquiesce above electronics companies and animated enthusiasts akin the befalling to alpha arena with Ubuntu on their adopted harware.
Shuttleworth went on to allotment that there are three legs to a acknowledged launch: silicon, manufacturing, and carriers. He declared that Canonical has a silicon accomplice now, but official account of who that is won’t be fabricated until March. On the accomplishment side, “partners accept bidding interest,” he told me, but didn’t busy too much. And as for carriers, he said that Canonical is “having acceptable conversations with the #1 and #2 carriers in North America, Europe and China.”
Obviously any such conversations — for silicon, manufacturing, or carriers — are circuitous with assorted stakeholders. These kinds of negotiations booty time to comedy out. All of this drives home the likelihood that it’ll be 2014 afore we alpha seeing absolute Ubuntu devices.
Shuttleworth hinted that we ability apprehend the aboriginal Ubuntu accessory to be a high-end affluence smartphone.
The aftereffect of all of this is that Ubuntu will be accessible for Nexus accessories this week. Hacker ability actuality what it is, I’d apprehend added accessories to be accurate by the end of aing week. We may see official accouterments announcements against the end of this year, but I’d be absolutely afraid if we saw a new committed accessory for Ubuntu accessible for acquirement afore 2014.
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