Mobile World Congress will have a plethora of Android goodness, but this one really calls our attention. We have been trying to find ways to replace the desktop computer experience with our phones. And if this is happening anytime soon, Canonical’s new revelation is what will make it happen. The Linux-based OS makers are ready to deploy Ubuntu for Android at Mobile World Congress, and it is looking very promising.
We have already tried to use laptop docks, desktop docks, tablets with keyboards, and some people have gone as far as hacking Android devices and installing full desktop linux operating systems on them. But none of these are able to do the job. You either lose some smartphone functionality, or the desktop functionality is not up to par.
Canonical has just revealed that their Ubuntu for Android is almost ready, and it looks like the best option for those that want to unify the smartphone and desktop computing experiences. Unbuntu for Android is mentioned to work in parallel to Android. Meaning that the phone would run both operating systems.
Ubuntu will kick in when the phone is plugged into a monitor, mouse and keyboard. As soon as that phone is disconnected, it will go back to its natural Android OS. Think of it as a dual-booting device, with both Ubuntu and Android in its core.
This is not an Ubuntu app on an Android phone. Rather, it's a way to have the full Android experience when you use your device as a phone and the full Ubuntu experience when it's docked, complete with the full suite of productivity apps and tools from the desktop.Jane SilberCanonical CEO
What is great is that both operating systems will share the same documents. All of your music, videos, contacts, messages, calls and other data will be accessible from either state, giving the smartphone/computer a seamless and unified experience.
Things are not as easy as they seem, though. As Silber states, it is not just an app. Ubuntu will have to come preloaded on smartphones. Canonical didn’t make any statements about any manufacturer partnerships, but this sure seems like a huge step. CEO Jane Silber said “it really depends on them. We’re ready to go.”
As expected, this will remain free, so some manufacturers better get up on this soon. There will be demonstrations and announcements regarding Ubuntu for Android, at Mobile World Congress. Next week’s presentations will be based on Ubuntu 11.10 “Oneiric Ocelot,” but the software will be improved by April, with the release of Ubuntu 12.04 “Precise Pangolin.”
Definitely stay tuned for this one, as it will likely change mobile computing substantially. Would any of you ditch your computers for a phone with Ubuntu? Do you think there is a chance that Microsoft will bring something similar to its Windows phones, with a full desktop Windows OS when plugged in to a monitor? Now that would make Windows Phone devices enticing.
The Ubuntu team has gone ahead and put together a nice video displaying what Ubuntu for Android is capable of. We have to say that this looks very promising, but we would have liked to see the presenter test out some non-Android-related tasks. But it certainly looks like a much better and intuitive desktop setting, and we assume things won’t be cut down too much.
The video shows how Android apps can be run in the desktop, how the information is shared, and other general demonstrations. So check it out to see what things will be like. Can’t wait to test this out!