Ubuntu for phones announced
Ubuntu for Android has been there for a while, enabling you to dock your phone and make it your desktop, with a full blown OS on the phone, but what about Ubuntu, the OS itself on your smartphone? Yes, Canonical has let loose the details of the new Ubuntu OS for smartphones, with devices slated to launch by 2014. Watch the virtual keynote video here -
The Ubuntu smartphone OS is built for touch and has gesture inputs on all edges of the screen. It brings features that are familiar to Ubuntu desktop like the universal search and a similar UI. The lock screen, like any other OS displays what matters most, at the given time. We have to say though, it looks beautiful. Favorite apps are on the left, activated by a edge gesture.
The app list is constantly updated in chronological order with respect to time and is always on your home screen. Swipe down from the top for the universal search bar. In a normal swipe, you can switch between various pages that can be configured easily. A full swipe from the left edge takes you to the full app list while the right edge can cycle through your recent apps. On the top of the screen, the notifications panel lets you individually select a setting for each status. The bottom swipe reveals contextual controls.
Regarding apps, both native and web apps are supported, with Open GL support for native games. But the lack of a hardware partner is the only thing that is stopping Canonical from making it available soon.
The UI looks fresh and the familiarity with its big brother desktop OS is appreciable. And the fact that Android drivers are built into Ubuntu means your Android phone can someday, hacker gods forgiving, run Ubuntu. But when will we see it in actual Ubuntu phones? That still remains a question unanswered, at least until the end of 2013.