Just when you thought the world had enough operating systems to not let newer ones succeed, mainly in cases like Windows Phone, along comes Canonical to announce their new Ubuntu for smartphones. Now just as in the case of Ubuntu, this is no ordinary operating system. It’s based on the same Linux platform that Android was built upon, and yes, it’s also just as open sourced. This means a lot. Just like you can run Ubuntu on many, if not all Windows certified machines, our biggest guess is that you’ll be able to do the same with this mobile version of Ubuntu. A clear example of this is seeing it run on a Samsung Galaxy Nexus in the demo video. Think of the possibilities for current Android smartphone owners. Now on the other hand, there are currently no specific hardware partners or carrier partners mentioned along with the announcement, but hey, not much is to be expected on day one.
There some key interesting features in the UI. First of all, there’s no lock screen. You have to swipe from the edges to call on your apps menu (left), settings menu (top), recent or mostly used apps (right) and contextual menus (bottom). It does make a lot of sense though, since to unlock a phone you have to slide something anyway. Another feature that makes this OS interesting is that even though it’ll be able to run both HTML and Native apps, browser-based HTML apps will have some some added functionality that’s hard to find in other platforms, like for example the ability to bring you notifications. Other innovations can be seen in the UI itself when it comes to ease of use in calling on settings, voice commands, etc.
Now for those of you that are already saying: Android does this already, or Windows Phone does this already, let me rewind the tape back to 2008 when we heard of Android and felt the same. The industry-wide adoption of the platform was immense, and at times when it’s hard to differentiate an Android device from another, this could just be Ubuntu’s break into relevance.
The only sad part of these news is that the OS doesn’t plan to reach devices until 2014, which is suicide in the mobile industry. If not ask Microsoft how announcing things today and releasing them 10 months later has played out. We’ll keep you posted on more information as it emerges.