Ubuntu Joins The ‘Me Too’ Mobile OS Gang, First Devices Expected 2014

by Gaurav Kheterpal on January 3, 2013

The dynamics of the global mobile OS landscape are getting increasingly predictable, or so it seems based on how things have panned out in the last couple of years. Some new operating systems debut, others die, new fringe players emerge but the common denominator remains the same – Android and iOS rule the roost.

SymbianMeeGo & webOS are platforms of the past, Windows Phone is failure of expectations and BlackBerry OS may soon be an extent specie. Last June, Mozilla joined the mobile platform wars  with the formal launch of B2G as Firefox OS  and several phones with this new Firefox operating system are expected to launch in the next couple of months.

Going by conventional wisdom, it’s hard to understand how such new operating systems will compete with iOS and Android. However, that hasn’t deterred new entrants such as Mozilla and now, Canonical from venturing into unchartered territory.

Canonical, best known as the makers of Ubuntu, has announced a new version of its flagship operating system designed specifically for smartphones. The good thing – Canonical’s expectations seem realistic and they’re not targeting both phone and tablet segments at once. The bad – it’s still a been there, done that model which hasn’t worked for any company till date.

The company’s broader plan is to offer consumers a unified experience on TVs, phones and PCs. The Ubuntu mobile OS designed specifically for smartphones will feature a new UI in order to provide better experience for its users. The company claims the Ubuntu mobile OS will run  both web apps and native apps equally well. The core OS is based on a typical Android Board Support Package (BSP), effectively implying that smartphone vendors can use the same Android hardware for running Ubuntu, thereby removing a huge entry barrier in adopting a new OS.

The Ubuntu Mobile OS will be ready to ship into mobile phones as early as 2014, and is compatible with both x86 and ARM instruction sets. Interestingly, the company has not announced any carrier or manufacturer partnerships till date.

“We expect Ubuntu to be popular in the enterprise market, enabling customers to provision a single secure device for all PC, thin client and phone functions. Ubuntu is already the most widely used Linux enterprise desktop, with customers in a wide range of sectors focused on security, cost and manageability,” said Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical. “We also see an opportunity in basic smartphones that are used for the phone, SMS, web and email, where Ubuntu outperforms thanks to its native core apps and stylish presentation.”

The Ubuntu mobile OS has received mixed feedback till date. While some are questioning the lack of hardware, others believe it has the potential to outclass Android. However, it’s still early days and the true test will begin if and when Ubuntu Mobile OS based devices get into consumer’s hands.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby:RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.


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