has been exploring the mobile frontiers lately. First it showed off its Ubuntu for Android and now it has announced Ubuntu Phone OS, which according to initial reports is quite promising. And it is reportedly beautiful, according to TechCrunch. Ubuntu Phone OS walks away from the ubiquitous app grid user interface of today and is based on horizontal swipes for navigation. It is nearer to Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 in its approach.
The search feature in Ubuntu Phone OS reminds of WebOS and the OS does quite well at bringing out desired search results. If Ubuntu can top it up with native and HTML 5 apps and add voice commands, we might see the dawn of a beautiful product. However, the tricky part for Ubuntu is the hardware partnerships. It is designed for running on popular ARM chips as well as x86 processors but no partnerships have been announced so far. Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Canonical has said that the first Ubuntu Phone OS powered phones may see the daylight by the end of this year or early 2014.
Another important question is “who would want to buy a Linux based phone.” However, Jane Sibler, CEO of Canonical believes that
“Ubuntu’s appeal isn’t just limited to Linux enthusiasts and enterprises. Instead, We also see an opportunity in basic smartphones that are used for the phone, SMS, web and email, where Ubuntu outperforms thanks to its native core apps and stylish presentation.”
In fact manufacturers may find it attractive if they could modify and power their phones with a rebranded Ubuntu Phone OS. In fact this is the path which FireFox OS is already following. A very important question is that how Ubuntu will imprint its mark in a market dominated by Android and iOS. Add to these the motivated Windows Phone 8 and Blackberry 10 and the market is overcrowded. Also do not forget the likes of Sailfish, Tizen and Firefox OS. However, Canonical’s founder is quite hopeful and he said:
“Our vision is deeper and broader than I’ve seen from other ecosystems. We believe that one platform can stretch across multiple environments”: the developer desktop to the cloud server to the end user’s so-called “superphone.”
Shuttleworth was quite forthcoming in agreeing that the mobile OS space is already very crowded but he is positive that Ubuntu Phone OS can make a mark. He admits that Ubuntu can not compete with the amount of dollars spent by RIM and Microsoft but he wants to compete on a beautiful interface which can be applied to diverse platforms.