Debut of the ‘Superphone’ Operating System
Mobile users may be able to get their hands on a ‘screen agnostic’ and customisable OS with the launch of Ubuntu. The free, open source operating system from London-based Canonical has been repurposed for smartphones from its desktop version to run on Android handsets.
Users will be able to turn their devices into a ‘superphone’ which can be used in place of a PC when hooked up to a monitor and mouse, and offers a unified interface across phones, PCs and TVs. Key features of the OS include the ability to control the phone screen using thumb gestures from all four edges, voice and text command in any app, and compatibility with native, web and HTML5 apps. It already has 45,000 native apps which will initially be available for install on the Galuxy Nexus.
The company provides engineering services to help manufacturers create handsets using the platform and offers a personal cloud service, Ubuntu One, for storage, media services, file sharing and secure transactions service.
Canonincal, which is committed to providing free software based on the Linux OS, is targeting both high-end and entry-level consumers, as well as its enterprise desktop users.
“We expect Ubuntu to be popular in the enterprise market, enabling customers to provision a single secure device for all PC, thin client and phone functions. Ubuntu is already the most widely used Linux enterprise desktop, with customers in a wide range of sectors focused on security, cost and manageability” said Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical. “We also see an opportunity in basic smartphones that are used for the phone, SMS, web and email, where Ubuntu outperforms thanks to its native core apps and stylish presentation.”
Many ASUS, Dell, HP, and Lenovo PCs have the desktop version of Ubuntu pre-installed. Canonical says it currently runs on 20m machines, and that an estimated 10 per cent of new desktop and laptop computers will ship with Ubuntu in 2014.