Ubuntu for Tablets: I'm drinking the Kool-Aid

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Ever start geeking out about something that you know is almost certainly destined to never grow beyond a niche, if it doesn't fail entirely? That's where my head is at now, after Canonical revealed Ubuntu for Tablets yesterday.

I spend most of my computing time in Windows. I have Ubuntu running on an old desktop that I use as a dev server, and I have it installed on a laptop, but honestly don't use it very often. So don't mistake me for some kind of die hard Linux fan. But I'm swayed by this reveal. Check it out:

First of all, does anyone else think Mark Shuttlework could be Jonny Lee Miller's older brother? No? OK, moving on.

[Get a sneak peek at Ubuntu phones with this Android app and Canonical launches Ubuntu tablet interface]

I really like the concepts they show here. It's like they took some of the best features of Android and Windows 8 and blended them. I like how they use every edge for a different purpose and how multi-tasking works.

I started getting a bit lost when they went into docking my phone and all that; I have enough problems running out of space on my phone without trying to carry around my entire computing life on it, but still, there're some interesting concepts in there.

Of course an OS is nothing without a rich ecosystem and I think that'll be Ubuntu's Achille's heel. How are they going to entice iOS, Android and Windows developers to come over and start making touch-enabled Linux apps? I can't help but think that'll be a hard sell. Maybe the Linux developer community will handle building the ecosystem out themselves but I'm sceptical.

Now that you've watched that video, you know as much about Ubuntu for Tablets as I do, so I'm just going to stop here and ask what you readers think. Am I just being blinded by a new shiny, or are there some concepts here that intrigue you, too?

Canonical will make a 'developer' version of this OS available for Nexus tablets on Thursday. I rely too heavily on my Nexus 7 to re-purpose it as an experimental device, so I won't be taking it for a test run. I'd love to hear from anyone brave enough to take the plunge, though!

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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