Ubuntu confirms Linux smartphone launch

February 7, 2013

Ubuntu confirms Linux smartphone launchThe founder of the company behind the Linux-based operating system Ubuntu has confirmed it will be available on smartphones from October. Mark Shuttleworth says the system will launch in two as-yet-unconfirmed global regions.

Ubuntu announced it was working on a mobile edition back in January. It’s now confirmed an October launch date for the first devices. Application developers will get access to the system from the end of this month.

The company had already detailed some of the key selling points of mobile Ubuntu, most notably that it will be set up to scale with the desktop versions. That means that if you plug a screen into your phone and connect a Bluetooth keyboard and/or mouse, you can use it as if it were a desktop computer.

Shuttleworth has now revealed the system will be set up so it can remotely access Windows-based applications on corporate servers. That means the software would actually be running on the remote machine, with the Ubuntu smartphone acting simply as a display and input device. This should make it much easier for staff at companies that mainly use Windows machines to work on the move using an Ubuntu phone, particularly in companies that let staff use their personal handset for work.

The plan appears to be to use mobile devices as a “Trojan horse” for promoting Ubuntu: Shuttleworth believes people may be more willing to try out a new system on a mobile device (in the same way people are happy to use iOS on a tablet), which could in turn remove their reluctance to try Linux systems on a full-fledged computer.

According to Shuttleworth, the mobile Ubuntu will be optimized to run on the Galaxy Nexus, the closest thing to an official “Google” phone and one of the flagship Android handsets. He didn’t confirm that Samsung will actually produce an Ubuntu phone.

The first publicly available edition of mobile Ubuntu will be available to download and install on a Nexus at the end of February, though it will be purely for testing purposes and won’t constitute an official release.

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