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Wed, Jan 02, 2013
They hyped it enough, with that countdown on their website and the rumours flying around.
And now we know: Canonical are doing a smartphone version of the Ubuntu OS.
I almost hate to say it, but I rather like it.
It's not quite such a blatant copy of iOS as Android. It's not as dreadfully-executed as Windows. It's got potential to be more open and mod-able than any of them.
In fact, if I were Microsoft, I'd be really worried at this point: The MS strategy, in case you weren't aware, was to try and leverage their desktop monopoloy into the smartphone/tablet world by making the interface the same across all platforms. This is why Windows 8 is (a) so different to previous versions (b) crap: Their whole strategy is to make the interface THE SAME on all devices, even though the hardware with which you use the interface is totally different.
Apple succeeded by having two totally different interfaces: One for computers, one for touchscreens. MS is dying as it tries to make one interface work everywhere. The Ubuntu phone looks like it has a realistic chance of being similiar enough across devices for comfort, whilst being different enough to work well with the hardware.
It even begins to make sense of Unity - I've been waiting a long time for that particular shoe to drop: You don't come out with something as complex and different as a new desktop shell without a very good reason, and the mobile UI makes sense of it. Similar enough for comfort, different enough to work.
I'm still not sold on Unity. Frankly, I think it sucks. And I've been using it daily since it first came out (I can do stubborn, believe me). And I'm not yet convinced that Canonical has what it takes to get a successfuly mobile OS out.
But true Ubuntu on a mobile, running on Android drivers, with full OpenGL support and all Ubuntu software (ssh FTW) has potential to be a very powerful package.
I'm not convinced.. but they've made an impressive start.
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