Last year we had heard loads of rumors about Canonical trying to create an Ubuntu like Operating System for Smartphones, but they took a wise step y not creating another Operating System but integrating it with an already existant and popular O.S, Android. Ubuntu for Android is a side by side pairing of Ubuntu O.S with Android mobile O.S.
Ubuntu for Android was announced and showcased at CES 2012 and since then a lot of speculations and developments have been going on but there has been no sign of its public release. This article will explain how it works, what it does, and what to expect.
Ubuntu for Android is a part of Canonical’s multi-device projects which tries to bring the favorite Linux client for human beings to various devices like tablets, T.Vs, phones, etc. One of the main reasons why this concept was successful is because both these operating systems run on the same kernel. It simply is a desktop O.S which you are carrying on your mobile phone.
How does it work?
I have no idea how Canonical is going to provide Ubuntu for Android, it may be a simple application which we can install from the Android market or it can also be a script which we can run inside the terminal, but if they want the mass public then they will have to remove an application with a simple interface.
Ubuntu works with Android simultaneously, when you are using your phone, Ubuntu will be working in the background and as soon as you connect your phone to a display Ubuntu will come into play and you can continue from where you stopped on the phone. You need a dock to connect to a display and use Ubuntu, maybe a phone with mini HDMI port will be able to directly run Ubuntu when connected. many people had speculated about ubunut running on an emulator inside Android, but Canonical has confirmed that it is not using any kind of emulator, the complete build of Ubuntu is running along side Android.
No hardware manufacturer has partnered with Canonical for this project. They are currently running the early builds of Ubuntu for Android on the Atrix 2 running on a dual core TI OMAP4430. The main thing about Ubuntu for Android is you need more fire power to run it.
What do you need to run it?
First you need a powerful dual core phone. Well, running a desktop O.S on a phone does require a powerful processor, currently they are testing Ubuntu for Android on the Atrix 2 and they have reported that it is running pretty smoothly. So I think you require at least a dual core device to run. But I don’t think that should be a problem as even quadcore devices are already available in the market right now. With a phone you will also require a monitor, you will not be able to run Ubuntu on the same display as your phone. You will also need a dock which connects your phone to the monitor. This is a great chance for manufacturers to produce more docks, and maybe ones with various ports like USB, LAN ports, etc.
What to expect?
Ubuntu for Android will be able to do everything your smartphone does and also what your desktop does. As it is running the complete build of Ubuntu, you will be able to do everything you can do in Ubuntu on a desktop. you can work, work on presentations, watch movies, you can read and write files on your mobile phone, use terminal, etc. You can also use the applications on your phone and also SMS and make/pick up calls. When you run Ubuntu, another interface inside Ubuntu will enable you to run Android applications, text and also make calls which is a really good feature. Ubuntu for Android has another great feature where you can just pick off from where you stopped, think that you are using Ubuntu for Android on an external display and you are writing a mail, if you disconnect from the monitor then you will be able to continue from where you stopped on your phone itself, on Android. I have not really seen the execution of this, but this feature really sounds interesting.
When is it coming out?
During MWC Canonical had told us about launching it before the end of this year, currently it is still in development stage and is not ready for the masses, they have not even provided a beta for the developers to use, but we are expecting the developer build to be out pretty soon. So as soon as we get the developer build we will go in depth and explain all the features.