Canonical, the company Mark Shuttleworth started before heading to space, has launched an Ubuntu tablet that will let users connect a display to a tablet and use it like they would an Ubuntu PC.
This should come as no surprise to fans of the operating system as Canonical has long said it wanted to create a single OS which gave users the same experience be it on PC, a smartphone or a tablet.
The release of the Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet is the realisation of that vision and will give users the full desktop Ubuntu experience in a mobile package.
“This isn’t a phone interface stretched to desktop size,” Canonical Chief Executive Officer, Jane Silber, said in a statement. “In terms of applications, we have something no other OS can provide: a single, visual framework and set of tools for applications to run on any type of Ubuntu smart device.”
Reading through the features list, Canonical seems to have accomplished what Windows wants to achieve with Windows 10 and its mobile integration solution, Continuum. What Canonical is aiming to do is give users the ability to use one smartphone or tablet for everything.
Apps will be developed for compatibility with touch as well as mouse inputs, the underlying OS can be accessed if required, you can even use the telephony of the phone while in desktop mode.
Canonical also has one important feature that Android has neglected in the past, security updates. Every security update and feature that is sent out for the desktop version of Ubuntu will be found when users fire up their phone or tablet.
A 10-inch Ubuntu screen
Speaking of the tablet, Canonical has enlisted manufacturer BQ to create is running a MediaTek Quad Core MT8163A processor operating at 1.5GHz, 2GB RAM, and 16GB internal memory with expansion available through a MicroSD slot.
This does seem a bit underpowered, especially when you consider that Canonical wants users to be able to connect a display to a tablet to use like a desktop.
You also get a 12MP camera at the back of the 10inch slate and a massive Li-Po battery that is rated at 7280mAh.
The tablet will be on display at Mobile World Congress 2016 and Canonical has said that the operating system users will see is different from the Ubuntu Phone operating system they saw last year.
Can Ubuntu succeed in the mobile world?
Fans of Ubuntu will have noticed a number of changes to the OS over the last few years, this is Canonical’s way of unifying Ubuntu for mobile and desktop applications.
Certain customisation features, such as the ability to move the taskbar or choose where your window controls are positioned were locked off, much to the despair of fans of open source-operating systems.
While this was done with the intention of unifying the operating system across platforms, it does limit the customisation aspect of Ubuntu, one of the reason people choose a Linux based OS over Windows or Mac OS.
Mozilla announced today that it would be canning its Firefox OS after the release of Firefox OS 2.6 in May. According to Engadget, the firm will instead focus on where the OS fits in the growing realm of the internet of things.
We must be honest here and say that this news doesn’t bode well for Ubuntu and its release of a mobile OS.
With that said Ubuntu does have 30 million users to draw upon, whether it can convince them all to swap out Android and iOS phones and tablets for Ubuntu ones is another challenge altogether.
[Source – Canonical] [Image CC by 2.0 – Peter McBaggins]