Yesterday, Canonical started a countdown timer promising some sort of Ubuntu tablet news to arrive this morning. Just a few minutes ago, that counter finally reached zero, resulting in the announcement that the company will be showing off Ubuntu for tablets at the MWC next week and giving us our first real look at this new tablet UI.
That’s a little bit of a let-down, since we’re no closer to knowing when this software will see a release, but it’s still great to finally get a full look at what this platform will have to offer. (Update: the first developer preview of Ubuntu for tablets will arrive this Thursday, coming to the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10) What’s interesting is that counter to our expectations from yesterday, this isn’t the very desktop-looking interface that was demoed on tablets last fall. Instead, the tablet UI is substantially similar to the smartphone implementation.
Ubuntu for tablets supports multiple user accounts, including guest accounts. There are some nice features aimed at multi-tasking, including the ability to run apps designed for a phone’s screen on the side while also keeping a tablet app open.
Now, about that desktop UI: it’s still here, hiding under the surface, and will come out when your tablet is paired with a keyboard and mouse. We’ve got to say, we were worried that was gone for good, but it pops up at the end of the Ubuntu for tablets preview video. Check out the entire thing below: