Ubuntu Takes a Stab at the Smartphone-Desktop Combo

By Sam Gibbs on at

Motorola couldn't make it work with its Atrix, but apparently London-based Canonical thinks it can do better. You'll soon be able to get Ubuntu on a phone, which you can then dock and get a full Ubuntu desktop experience. I'll believe it when I see it.

Canonical has been smart though, and instead of yet another fully-fledged OS, Ubuntu for smartphones will actually be installed over the top of Android. Of course, that begs the question, what will the performance be like, if Ubuntu is essentially an overdeveloped skin? We'll just have to wait and see for that one.

Basically, as Ubuntu is just a flavour of Linux, and Android is too, it'll provide all the drivers necessary to power the phone and interface with Ubuntu. The idea is that devs will punt some sort of mobile-friendly interface for when its limited to the phone screen, which then sprawl out into the full-blown thing once you hook your phone up to a monitor and mouse.

The Ubuntu image will be available shortly to install over the top of Android on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, so you'll be able to try it out for yourself if you're so inclined. I just can't help thinking that if Motorola couldn't do it with bespoke hardware, then Canonical will have a seriously tough time of it.

Mind you, it is the holy grail of one device to power all your computing needs, the UMPC tried it and failed, but maybe smartphones can do it. I'm not holding my breath, but good luck to the Linux-loving Brits. Maybe a Ubuntu tablet install might be a good way about going about it? Would anyone actually use a Ubuntu slate though? [Ubuntu]