With the start of the annual Ubuntu Developer Summit in Florida in the US next week, South African developer of Linux’s Ubuntu OS Mark Shuttleworth, is expected to make a number of key announcements – most importantly the development of the OS for phones and tablets.
“By 14.04 LTS Ubuntu will power tablets, phones, TVs and smart screens from the car to the office kitchen, and it will connect those devices cleanly and seamlessly to the desktop, the server and the cloud,” Shuttleworth wrote on his blog.
“This is a natural expansion of our idea as Ubuntu as Linux for human beings. As people have moved from desktop to new form factors for computing, it’s important for us to reach out to our community on these platforms. So, we’ll embrace the challenge of how to use Ubuntu on smartphones, tablets and smart-screens,” Shuttleworth, who is also the founder of Canonical, told ZDNet.com
Shuttleworth also let slip that the company has been in talks with hardware vendors for about 18 months already. But it’s still a long way until users will be able to load Ubuntu 14.04 on their systems, as Shuttleworth speculates that it will only be ready in 2014.
“(There isn’t) a product schedule yet, Ubuntu is already working with hardware partners to bring products to market. As progress is made, Ubuntu will take the device-specific code, open source it, and roll it into standard Ubuntu.”
With a market already filled with iOS and Android, can a tablet and smartphone version of Ubuntu carve out a place of it’s own? “The device world is highly competitive and highly dynamic, while Android and iOS dominate handheld devices, disruptive elements could still establish themselves. Ubuntu and Windows can still be a real force,” he said.
Although Shuttleworth sees “Android as its primary competitor,” the recently Google acquisition of Motorola might work in their favour. “From the industry viewpoint, the Google acquisition Of Motorola Mobility has shook up the hardware vendors, so some of them are looking for non-Android alternatives.”
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor