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Handhelds Ubuntu News

Ubuntu Tablet OS To Take On Android, iOS 237

Posted by Soulskill
from the uphill-battle dept.
snydeq writes "Canonical CEO Jane Silber discusses the Ubuntu maker's ambitions in the mobile market, saying there is plenty of room for a new player in tablets, TVs, and maybe even smartphones. 'There is a real demand for an alternative platform. We believe Ubuntu has all the characteristics that are needed to become that platform,' Silber says, adding that she expects to see Ubuntu on tablets later this year. 'And we think we can do that effectively because of characteristics of Ubuntu as a platform, industry dynamics, and an increased wariness around the walled gardens of Apple and to some extent Google and even Amazon, as they are increasingly in this game as well.' Silber cites openness, open governance, collaboration, and a strong developer ecosystem as key for Ubuntu as a tablet platform, when compared with Android and iOS."
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Ubuntu Tablet OS To Take On Android, iOS

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  • Since tablets are considered a fundamentally different device than a desktop/laptop, I feel this is where Linux could shine. Ubuntu always seemed to be in the best position to capitalize on it as well. I am anxious to see what they come up with because I would almost definitely ditch my iPad for an Ubuntu tablet. I should note that no machine in my regular use runs Ubuntu or any other form of Linux as it could not replace what I need my desktops and laptops to do.

    • by pmontra (738736)
      Maybe you'll be able to flash your iPad with an Ubuntu ROM. Given the number of iPads around I bet there will be plenty of instructions around the net for doing that.
  • by aquabats (1985346) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @01:30PM (#38675498)
    Anyone who has seen Unity saw this coming. Its not very fluent for most peoples desktop usage, but would be great on a tablet or smart phone.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gshegosh (1587463)
      Yeah, it would be great, assuming that it works fast enough. On my i7 with 12G of RAM and a recent NVidia card it won't even move windows smoothly. Wouldn't want to try it on an Atom or ARM.
      • So does that mean that on my P4 with 1G it hasn't actually crashed - if I wait another 30 mins, the mouse pointer might move?

        I think I will install NetBSD, thanks.

        • by Braino420 (896819)
          You could try a less drastic approach and simply not use Unity. Or try a lightweight desktop environment instead of gnome. Although for such a machine I would suggest forgoing a desktop environment and just use a window manager. Ubuntu has many other options than the default interface, all just an apt-get away.
    • I like in spirit, but I would be wary about the implementation. It has already happened with the iPhone (I do not know if this is the case): the hardware is so powerfull, that developers forget this is not a fully computer or laptop. I'm not thinking about the interface, but usage of battery. They forget that the energy resource IS a limitation in this case, with the consequence, for me at least, that the battery will be shorter than the day, requiring me to charge at some point of just keeping mi phone pl
    • and for people who want to do something nutty like using Ubuntu as a desktop OS, they can always install the KDE or lubuntu

  • For most consumers, the idea of "openness", especially when concerning the software itself, hardly ever crosses their mind. It's not really going to be a selling point that they will latch on to.

  • Real Alternative? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Xeranar (2029624)

    How about nobody cares about that. Unless you have a multi-billion dollar marketing budget to match Android or iOS and a market place that can run all of the apps that Android does Ubuntu has no chance of being a serious player. I'm not against more players in the game but lets be real with ourselves, Ubuntu is used by power users who care to work with Linux. I'm going to take the plunge this summer when I can safely back up all my data and take a few days to play with it but I realize I'm part of a tiny

  • Openness is all fine and dandy, but ultimately consumer friendliness and usability are what will make a successful platform. Whether geeks want to admit it or not, that's why Apple's offerings are so successful.
  • I used to be a big fan of Ubuntu, but it seems that all of this recent effort to make Ubuntu work on tablets/touchscreens has come at the cost of the stability and robustness of the desktop product.

    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      I used to be a big fan of Ubuntu, but it seems that all of this recent effort to make Ubuntu work on tablets/touchscreens has come at the cost of the stability and robustness of the desktop product.

      To be fair, it started on netbooks, where Unity works quite well. But the Linux desktop is going to be screwed until they kick out the 'UI designers' who've messed it up so badly.

  • "increased wariness around the walled gardens of Apple and to some extent Google and even Amazon"

    Apple, google and amazon are who gets decide which OS is on their device. Not the customer.
  • ...tighten things up a bit more. I found the 11.04 an 11.10 releases to be terribly unstable if you are upgrading in place. Let us hope that any tablet, TV or phone OS release of theirs has a much tighter development model. People who buy TVs, phones and tablets want to have those devices "just work". Computer users are used to having to work around problems. Can you imagine the horror of having to wait for a TV to boot, or to have functionality of the TV change to the point where you have to relearn e

  • by MrCrassic (994046) <deprecated AT ema DOT il> on Thursday January 12, 2012 @03:08PM (#38676768) Journal
    There are a couple of problems I've noticed from this statement that tells me they'll need to do a LOT of maturing here.

    InfoWorld: Will you compete with Google Android, Apple iOS [4], and others?
    Silber: Yes. And we think we can do that effectively because of characteristics of Ubuntu as a platform, industry dynamics, and an increased wariness around the walled gardens of Apple and to some extent Google and even Amazon, as they are increasingly in this game as well. There is a demand for a platform that has characteristics that Ubuntu meets. The characteristics in my mind that are important are openness, and by openness I don't just mean open source code, I mean the governance structure, the ability to collaborate, the ability for there to be multiple devices from multiple vendors.

    There is? Last time I checked, the things people care about most are getting nice phones at a good price that they can play Angry Birds on and snap pictures with to upload to their Facebook/Twitter accounts.

    This is the first quote that frustrates me from this snippet: I mean the governance structure, the ability to collaborate, the ability for there to be multiple devices from multiple vendors.. Do they not realise that this is exactly the status quo? Collaboration and governance are HUGE objectives for all of the major players in this game. Apple has iCloud, Microsoft has Windows Live and Office 365. Android has Google account synchronisation, control and access deeply ingrained into its fundamentals. All of these are free. Ubuntu's offering costs money. Umm...

    This is the second most frustrating quote: we think we can do that effectively because of characteristics of Ubuntu as a platform. Let's not forget that this is the platform that's changed their stance on the minimise/close button three times in between, what, the last three releases?

    There has to be a strong developer ecosystem, and we've spent a lot of effort and time in the last couple years building up that developer ecosystem. Building up our software center, building tools to be able to connect the dots between developers and users so that a developer can write an app and submit it through a website and get it into the hands of users very quickly. A free app or a commercially paid app.

    Like Android's NDK with Eclipse integration or Apple's iPhone/iOS SDK with XCode or Windows Phone's leveraging of .NET with Visual Studio? Still wondering what they're bringing to the table at this point.

    There's a certain level of quality and features that is needed in order to be a viable platform in this category, and Ubuntu has that, whereas some of the projects that have come and gone in the last couple years have never really cracked that. We've seen Moblin [5] come and go from Intel, Maemo [6], MeeGo [7]. Tizen [8] is the latest incarnation -- we'll see if they ever produce anything.

    No, those projects never cracked the marketing required to reach the big time. Nokia could have really flaunted Maemo/MeeGo but chose to ride the sidelines while Apple and Android made themselves known everywhere. MeeGo, as far as I undersatand it, was actually a pretty reliable mobile OS and had a lot of potential.

    This "advantage" is weak at best. In fact, I'm hard pressed to rely on this since I can't trust Ubuntu (or any Linux distribution) enough to install it for my non-technical peers and clients. While it certainly offers the nicest GNU/Linux UX experience available, there are some things still left to be desired on the hardware side.

    The other problem I have with this is that Unity, compared to Android or iOS, does not really offer any real usability advantages over those other platforms. As far as I see it, it offers an OS-X like icon dock (that doesn't work nearly as nicely) and a focus on searching for things. It's a good starting point, but it's hard to see where they are going with it and how

  • by bigsexyjoe (581721) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @03:18PM (#38676898)

    Here are some reasons why:

    * You don't have to think about drivers and hardware conflicts. Once you get a tablet working with Ubuntu, it just works.
    * If a tablet costs $100 or $200, no one is going to want to pay for an OS.
    * People don't have expectations about what should work on their tablets. They aren't going to be all, "But what about Excel on my Tablet!"

  • by khipu (2511498) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @03:24PM (#38676968)

    Ubuntu used to be a great distro for education, academia, and general desktop use. It now is chasing futile dreams of dominating the tablet market.

    Futile because almost no Linux developer writes tablet software, and it seems doubtful that a lot of them will start in the future.

  • by sootman (158191) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @03:24PM (#38676972) Homepage Journal

    There is a real demand for an alternative platform... we think we can do that effectively because of characteristics of Ubuntu as a platform, industry dynamics, and an increased wariness around the walled gardens of Apple and to some extent Google and even Amazon, as they are increasingly in this game as well. [emphasis mine]

    Oh please. I have a fondness for Linux as much as the next average Slashdotter but if the last 15 years of "X will be the year of Linux on the desktop!" has shown us, the world at large does not care about privacy, security, data robustness, or the consequences walled gardens. You buy something, you use it, and hope all goes well. If you lose your data for any reason, you rebuild.

    People are already used to the possibility of losing real-life items to theft, loss, or damage, so if a picture collection or list of contacts disappears because a company went under or changed their TOS or didn't have good backups, [wired.com] people deal with it an move on. Is there a better way? With data, yes, there usually is. Do people care that much? No. (People have moved away from DRM a tiny bit, but that has more to do with Apple's and Amazon's music services being naturally popular than the Microsoft's "PlaysForSure" debacle.)

    I'm guessing that 2012 in tablets will look a lot like 2011 did, with the one difference being the Kindle Fire. The price and prominence of that device will move a lot of units, but I'm predicting that on December 31, 2012, the market will be 60-70% iPad, 20-25% Kindle, and 10-15% everyone else combined. (Though I'm not sure how to count Windows 8 if it starts shipping on a large number of touch-based tablets that are 95% similar to the current crop of Windows-based, stylus-using tablets. I'm mainly thinking of a "tablet" as "a touch-based device that doesn't ship with a keyboard, and functions 100% as designed without one.")

  • by eepok (545733) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @03:53PM (#38677386) Homepage

    I have an ASUS Transformer with keyboard dock and I think it's great. I really do. It's my netbook as necessary and a tablet which is particularly good for tabling events.

    My problem with the Transformer is that it runs Android. I would prefer Android over iOS any day, but Google continues to develop Android as a single-person data collection device (requiring me to be constantly signed into a variety of services) instead of a multi-user platform where *I* get to choose who sees what.

    If/when Ubuntu gets prepped for tablet distribution and I can install it on my Transformer, I will do it the very night it's available. Google has just over-stepped its bounds for me to give it the benefit of the doubt with my data any more.

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