One of the more interesting announcements that came out of CES this year was that Canonical has made great progress in getting their very popular Linux distribution (Ubuntu) touch friendly and ready for mobile device consumption. They had initially made the announcement on their site about mobile a week or so before CES. At CES we actually were able to see some demos of the OS in action.
Now here is the important information you need to know. The mobile version of Ubuntu really isn’t a ‘mobile’ version in the traditional sense. It is essentially the full blown distribution of Ubuntu for ARM devices with a UI and elements that make it touch friendly. This means that anything that already works for Ubuntu and ARM devices will work on your phone.
This gets me excited for a couple of reasons. Functionally, I would be able to perform more operations on my phone that I would normally have to go to a laptop or computer for. There is already a ton of great stuff built that would work and would only need minor tweaking to get to look nice on mobile devices. And for the reason that gets me the most excited, the possibility of being able to carry my phone and then throw it in a dock to change the display to use one or more monitors at a desk which would essentially turn my phone into a laptop/desktop. There would be no more need to switch between multiple devices, I would be able to do everything I needed to with one device. I know that this isn’t quite where the technology is as far as software and hardware (CPU speeds) but I know that it will eventually get there and that makes me happy.
If you read through the other features of the mobile friendly version of the OS you will see that Canonical is trying hard to differentiate themselves as far as a UX design is concerned. From what I have seen it seems to be fairly well put together and navigation may or may not be cumbersome. The only way to tell would be to try out the OS myself.
I suppose you are asking, when can I try this out? Well, Canonical had stated that they are hoping to have a flashable version of the OS for the Galaxy Nexus sometime in February. Once I do get my hands on it and am able to play around with it a bit I will report on my initial thoughts. Till then, all I can do is speculate and my speculation is that this will probably not be super popular but it does have legs and I think Canonical is moving in the right direction.
What are your thoughts on Ubuntu mobile? Any predictions?