A couple of days back, we learned that Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux desktop operating system, would be bringing the Developer Preview of the smartphone version to the Nexus 4, as well as the already-confirmed Galaxy Nexus. As if the inclusion of the new, popular Google handset wasn’t nice enough a surprise, Canonical has also revealed that tomorrow, February 19th, an announcement relating to tablet space will be made. With the banner “tick, tock, tablet time” accompanying a countdown timer on the Ubuntu website, it looks as though Canonical will be updating us on the progress of a tablet OS to match the smartphone version releasing in October.
The tablet market is becoming more populous as time goes on, with several companies grappling for a chunk of a market currently dominated by Apple. The initial Android push was tame, to say the least, but following the Google / ASUS Nexus 7 and a fleet of worthy Samsung slates, thinks are shaping up to be as competitive as the smartphone market. Microsoft has created some fanfare with its Surface RT and more recently, the Surface Pro, and if Canonical is to make any kind of impression, it will certainly have its work cut out.
Then again, a large group of devotees have voluntarily taken it upon themselves to run Linux – particularly Ubuntu – on their machines, so in a sense, Canonical potentially has a ready-made user base for its tablet exploits. Linux users are famously unafraid to go against the grain, and with Ubuntu being one of the most popular flavors at desktop level, its user-friendly nature will need to be maintained in the new touch-based environment.
Those looking to dive into some touch-optimized Ubuntu will be able to do so as of Thursday, when the Developer Preview of the Ubuntu smartphone operating system is released. I cannot wait to see what Canonical comes up with for the competitive mobile market, but from the snippets we have seen (such as the UI concepts released at the announcement), things look promising indeed, and a tablet version would seem the natural associate to the handset iteration.
We’ll know exact details when Canonical makes its announcement in the coming hours, so stay tuned to our coverage here at Redmond Pie.