There was quite a bit of buzz about the Ubuntu Website earlier on today, as the countdown banner approached a special announcement at 8AM ET. The hints of a touch-based operating system were there for all to see, and today, the company behind the Debian Linux operating system has put fans out of their misery with the unveiling of a smartphone OS.
The open source nature of Linux has already seen variants of Ubuntu installed on some of today’s most popular devices, and while many of us take great pleasure in modding our devices unofficially, it’s always nice to see companies like Canonical come through with a specially-tailored version.
Ubuntu is one of the many different assortments of Linux, and is renowned as being one of the easiest to use, especially for those accustomed only to Windows or OS X. Having gained a great deal of traction at desktop level during the course of the last eight years, offering services to mobile users is a part of natural progression, and Canonical has duly obliged here.
Launched a while back, and demonstrated by Canonical / Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth in a dedicated event, it’s fair to say that the OS looks impressive, as noted in the video embedded at the end. At this point; no smartphone manufacturers have signed up to run with Ubuntu, and Shuttleworth also adds that an Ubuntu-toting handset is still the best part of a year away.
Nevertheless, things looks very promising at this early stage. The UI isn’t crowded out by widgets and icons, but instead has windows and menus available at every edge of the display, just a swipe away. The controls and icons only appear when needed, keeping the look clean, minimal, and necessary.
There’s been a clear rise in the utilization of voice and text commands on mobile in the past 18 months, and the Ubuntu OS allows voice and text commands within any app. The support for HTML5 on the Web, as well as native apps, means many of those online games and services will already be at your fingertips, and from a developer’s perspective, the SDK is said to do "most of the work” in offering a “unique Ubuntu look and feel.”
Canonical expects the smartphone version of Ubuntu to be popular, and with Windows Phone 8 and Firefox OS also trying to make inroads into the market, things are going to get very competitive, and more importantly, very open source.
For even more details, simply head over to: ubuntu.com/devices/phone