January 03, 2013, 6:30 PM —
Image via Ubuntu for phones
You might have seen some buzz about the Ubuntu for smartphones announcement on Wednesday. Ubuntu, the maker of a rather popular, Linux-based server and desktop operating system is looking to load itself onto smartphones. Which phones, made by whom? Is Ubuntu looking to come pre-installed, or arrive as an after-market installation? What can Ubuntu offer that Apple and Android haven’t covered?
Good questions! Let’s answer some of them.
Question: Ubuntu wants to make a phone operating system, huh?
Answer: Actually, Ubuntu wants to bring a full desktop operating system, and a phone-sized version, to your phone, or a future phone. The way Ubuntu sees it, you can have a phone that makes calls, browses the web, scans Twitter and all that through the phone-focused version of Ubuntu. Then, when you’re ready to work, you could hook up your phone to a monitor, keyboard, and other accessories and start cranking on the Ubuntu desktop that more than 20 million people use.
Q: You can run a full desktop OS off a phone?
A: Off of certain phones, yes. Ubuntu is looking at phones with quad-core processors, which offer the same kind of multi-tasking and processing oomph that desktops utilize. Phones have been demanding so much of their hardware lately that their hardware has quietly crept up to the realm of desktop-readiness.
Q: So, hook up my iPhone to my monitor and, boom, there’s a computer!
A: Not your iPhone, no. Ubuntu for phones requires a linux core (or “kernel”), and hardware that ably supports that core. Ideally, phone makers will start making phones that have Ubuntu installed from the get-go.
Q: Crud. So it’s going to be a while until I actually use this thing.