Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 2nd Jan 2013 19:05 UTC
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu Expected, but still insanely cool: Canonical has just announced Ubuntu for phones. This is a new mobile phone operating system, with its own user interface and development platform. It's built around Qt5 and QML, and the interface reminds me of MeeGo on the N9. It's supposed to be on the shelves in early 2014, but the developer preview is out today.
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Impressed.
by Nelson on Wed 2nd Jan 2013 20:05 UTC
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

I think that what Ubuntu did today is show how much of a difference execution can make.

So far we have three emerging(or two, depending on who you ask) mobile OSes which are Linux based and have a glimmer of hope. Those being Sailfish, Firefox OS, and now Ubuntu.

The huge difference is in how they achieve their goals. Sailfish doesn't really have much direction or purpose, or even a clever strategy to gain foothold.

Firefox OS is even worse in that regard, and I don't really trust Mozilla to produce anything high quality after they've fucked up Firefox to twelve shades of shit.

Ubuntu on the other hand showed a beautiful OS with some of the most thoughtful gestures I've seen on any mobile OS. It clearly borrows from competitors while still retaining it's unique selling proposition.

Using Android devices to bootstrap your OS is a clever (if non ideal) solution, you can quickly grow an enthusiast base off of existing devices AND you can have an easier time convincing OEMs to reconfigure existing lineups for Ubuntu OS.

Microsoft for example had issues getting OEMs like Samsung and HTC to do meaningful timesinks into Windows Phone because of the engineering effort required to re-jig their Android Phones (Chipset differences, driver differences, more limited h/w selection, etc.)

Ubuntu avoids all of this by using the Linux Kernel with Android Patches (and probably, hopefully(?) some Android user base code) without resorting to something fucking lame like Android app compatibility which looks stupid on anything other than Android.

This to me speaks to the seriousness and pragmatism of Ubuntu.

This is probably a rambling comment, but overall I'm way more impressed than I expected to be. I think it's a little more than impressed, I'm actually excited to see this thing mature.

I think Google should be scared, as this is another example of Android going out of control.

Its also very telling how Ubuntu (which has a fraction of the resources Google has) can build a more cohesive experience with their OS compared to Android.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Impressed.
by tylerdurden on Wed 2nd Jan 2013 20:44 in reply to "Impressed."
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

To assume google would be scared of this is to completely misunderstand google's business plan.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[2]: Impressed.
by Nelson on Wed 2nd Jan 2013 20:46 in reply to "RE: Impressed."
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Google isn't scared of an Android off-shoot taking eyeballs off of their Android OS? Or getting along completely without their ecosystem? That's nonsensical.

If this gains any sort of traction, and it is increasingly obvious OEMs are looking to pivot away from Google's Android (though not necessarily Android per-say see Amazon) to their own solutions. And it makes sense, there's little additional revenue streams coming from Android for OEMs making it harder to match the likes of Apple on price at the same specs.

But of course, you're welcome to enlighten me. I always saw Android as a means to an end for Google, and a very shaky one at that, it's very easy to make Android not worth it for Google.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Impressed.
by Morgan on Wed 2nd Jan 2013 21:04 in reply to "Impressed."
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Very well said!

I'd love to know what the reference devices are. It looks like my Nexus S just misses the mark; it's a Cortex A8 and the minimum requirements state a Cortex A9. I do plan on getting a Note 2 this summer though, and if it's possible to use it as a developer device I'd love to jump in and get my feet wet.

Watching the video, it's apparent that Ubuntu sees the importance of a workflow centric model over an app centric one. Windows Phone is very much about this as well, which is why I love that OS so much. It looks like Ubuntu is trying to take it even further. Seeing this makes my Android device with its home screen full of app icons seem dated and useless.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Impressed.
by phoenix on Wed 2nd Jan 2013 21:28 in reply to "RE: Impressed."
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Where are you finding specs for it? I've quickly looked over their phone website, and couldn't find anything about what hardware is supported.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Impressed.
by Radio on Wed 2nd Jan 2013 21:10 in reply to "Impressed."
Radio Member since:
2009-06-20

Nice post, but I strongly disagree on two points :

-Google shouldn't be scared, and I hope they won't, because otherwise they will lock down the platform, and I think nobody here wants that! I know fidelizing customers is better for business, but doing that by tying them is awful, and I am glad that the Android project put a feet in the closing door. If all hardware was locked like Apple and Microsoft push for, there would be no Ubuntu phone, no Firefox OS, no WebOS. Being able to hack a smartphone, even through complicated hacks, even to get only sub-par performance, is a huge boon to mobile OS development.

-Sailfish has a clever stategy, even an impressive one fosr such a small company. While Microsoft is shooting itself in the foot and taking Nokia down in the process by focusing almost exclusively on the USA, the Jolla team is focusing on China. A very clever move.

But yeah, Shuttleworth's presentation is far more professional (despite the weird variations in audio recording quality). The interviews of external people was a very good idea, especially Rafe Blandford (All About Windows Phones) and Ian Drew (ARM). Huge credibility points gained there.

I still see room for Firefox OS, given they seem so have made a very efficient platform. I doubt Ubuntu will run well on low-end hardware.

Edited 2013-01-02 21:13 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Impressed.
by Nelson on Wed 2nd Jan 2013 21:39 in reply to "RE: Impressed."
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Nice post, but I strongly disagree on two points :

-Google shouldn't be scared, and I hope they won't, because otherwise they will lock down the platform, and I think nobody here wants that! I know fidelizing customers is better for business, but doing that by tying them is awful, and I am glad that the Android project put a feet in the closing door. If all hardware was locked like Apple and Microsoft push for, there would be no Ubuntu phone, no Firefox OS, no WebOS. Being able to hack a smartphone, even through complicated hacks, even to get only sub-par performance, is a huge boon to mobile OS development.


Thanks. I think this is all secondary to Google though. They used open source because it was convenient. There really was no other alternative. It is a means to an end. They didn't do it for pie in the sky reasons, and surely don't share the same values as some of the most stalwart Linux-istas do.

Just like they used Java because it was convenient, but were not opposed to completely and utterly destroying Sun's implicit guarantee of Write once, Run anywhere when it came down to it.


-Sailfish has a clever stategy, even an impressive one fosr such a small company. While Microsoft is shooting itself in the foot and taking Nokia down in the process by focusing almost exclusively on the USA, the Jolla team is focusing on China. A very clever move.


That's a great point about Sailfish actually. While writing the comments I knew I was missing something. That's a pretty smart choice.

However China is probably going to heat up quick. Nokia is aggressively pushing into China with the 920T on the high end and their various lower end Lumia models. Some early reports indicates sell outs and long queues (Though shipment numbers are anyone's guess).

That, and Nokia's Asha lineup by all accounts is being received well and looking to be Nokia's white knight.

That, and Apple has similarly started pushing into China in earnest. There is a lot of potential in China, and I don't think any one OS will take the whole pie.

It is however a great opportunity like you said, for Jolla to at least build mindshare and sustainability.


But yeah, Shuttleworth's presentation is far more professional (despite the weird variations in audio recording quality). The interviews of external people was a very good idea, especially Rafe Blandford (All About Windows Phones) and Ian Drew (ARM). Huge credibility points gained there.

I still see room for Firefox OS, given they seem so have made a very efficient platform. I doubt Ubuntu will run well on low-end hardware.


That remains to be seen, I agree. A lot of what was shown seemed to be renders and simulation, not real on device performance. I'll want to see how it feels and performs on a device.

If it outperforms stock Android on the same device IMO they have a winner.

Firefox OS also has a niche being the mid to low end, now that you think about it. I wish they'd position it more as a "Feature Phone+"

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Impressed.
by Bishi on Wed 2nd Jan 2013 23:33 in reply to "Impressed."
Bishi Member since:
2009-08-27

Firefox OS isn't a real competitor. Mozilla intends to create an open standard for mobile applications based on web technologies. The purpose is to avoid app store lock-in, and to let every app work on every phone (or computer).

Some Firefox OS apps already work on Android (I don't remember if you have to install Firefox first, though).

The actual Firefox OS, the thing below all the apps, is nothing more than a kernel and a web engine. That makes it a very simple, easy to port OS suited to low end smartphones.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Impressed.
by brion on Thu 3rd Jan 2013 20:37 in reply to "RE: Impressed."
brion Member since:
2010-11-04

To "install" Firefox apps on Android you do indeed need to install Firefox first (currently only the Aurora or Nightly releases support this) You get launcher icons on your home screen, and they appear as distinct items in app switching (but all with the Firefox icon and "App" as the name... hopefully that can get fixed eventually!)

Of course in theory a well-written web app that doesn't need special permissions can also just run in the stock browser or Chrome as well...

Reply Parent Score: 2