Ubuntu for smartphones launches

Ubuntu for smartphones launches
An OS for all platforms, but you'll have to wait

The firm behind the Ubuntu operating system, Canonical has announced a version of its software for smartphones.

Ubuntu for smartphones looks to bring the full desktop operating system to a touchscreen device, giving users a seamless transition between their computer and smartphone.

The operating system uses the drivers and kernels from Android, which means it can be easily installed on any smartphone currently running Google's OS, and also means manufacturers won't need to change any of their hardware to support Ubuntu phone.

Apps the Name

When it comes to applications Ubuntu for smartphones provides support for the desktop web apps already present on the ecosystem thanks to HTML 5, but these are relatively limited in terms of power and graphics.

For your more in-depth apps and games devs will be able to code native apps for the Ubuntu smartphone OS, with an SDK already available.

Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu reckons developers will be quick to port their apps to the new system, as he claims many Android devs already use the platform on their desktops.

All bases covered

Ubuntu mobile OS is targeting the full spectrum of smartphones, from low to high-end devices, with a lean option for new users providing them with a functional device which is easy to use, while power users are also catered for with support for quad-core super phones.

Slightly disappointingly you won't be able to get hold of pure Ubuntu phone until the end of this year, or even early 2014, but an image for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus will be released in the coming weeks if you can't wait that long.

Canonical seem confident that consumers will be attracted to Ubuntu phones - when they finally launch - but we're not so sure if there's a gap in the market for another mobile operating system.

It's going to be tough to steal users from iOS, Android and even Windows Phone and no matter how much Canonical says "convergence" and "beautifully distilled interface" it's going to be an uphill battle if it wants to make waves.

There were rumours suggesting that Canonical would launch an Ubuntu-powered tablet and while we're yet to see a slate from the firm, Shuttleworth has confirmed that a tablet platform is on its way – although its timescale is unkown.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.