Canonical introduces Ubuntu for tablets with ARM and x86 support

Daniel Bader

February 19, 2013 3:11pm


Canonical has introduced a tablet version of its popular Linux-based Ubuntu operating system, aimed at mid- and high-end ARM and Intel-based tablets. The interface is largely gesture-based, similar to the way BlackBerry 10 uses the outside edges of the screen and the bezel to initiate user actions.

The company is promising a true PC-like experience on the tablet, including an intuitive multitasking system that allows you to quickly switch between open apps, and use two apps side by side, such as watching a movie and taking notes at the same time, or collaborating on a document while on a Skype call.

Focusing on the ability to share content to multiple services, and with native and HTML5-based app support, there will be many apps available at launch. Whether these will be ports of BlackBerry or Android apps or mainly shortcuts to web services remains to be seen, but the company is advertising content like Ski Safari and World of Goo — ostensibly running natively — as well as web services like Evernote, Twitter and Facebook.

Ubuntu promises high-level security, with multiple account support, including a Guest Mode, and “world class encryption” for the enterprise market. All apps run in full screen, with controls activated via a bottom-up swipe. Similarly, all system settings can be accessed via a top-down swipe from within any app, allowing you to continue working in whatever environment.

The OS will support ARM’s Cortex-A15 chipset in both dual- and quad-core configurations, with between 2GB and 4GB of RAM and screens 7-10 inches in the low-end and 10-12 inches in the high-end enterprise space. Whether we’ll see these compete with consumer Android slates and Apple’s iPad remains to be seen, but it looks like a nice start for Canonical. Well-designed, easy to operate and, potentially, friendly to app developers, Ubuntu for tablets is another quality entry into the mobile OS space.

See more details at Ubuntu.

  • Alexandru


    This is great for us the consumers.
    At least we know Ubuntu is secure compared to Android which is full of malware and viruses as Windows is.

    All the best,

    • Nate

      All systems are susceptible to compromise. When they become popular enough, making it worthwhile for malicious users, all systems become vulnerable. There is no entirely safe computer system, period.

  • aliwhatsit

    proper split screen? SOLD!

  • MaXiM

    No chance of working on a TouchPad then… Sigh..

  • TAv

    As a fan of technology, the geek in me likes this a lot.
    That being said, i just don’t see what this is bringing new to the table.
    With Android, Windows RT, QNX and iPads out there, i think the market is already covered.

    • EvanK

      That’s true, but the market’s still relatively young and (although I expect this to change quite soon) is for the most part dominated by iOS.

  • David

    As an Ubuntu desktop user, I’m very happy with this. Hopefully you can install this on depreciated hardware, as opposed to buying a new tablet to replace my old one.

  • Batman

    Hey Daniel (Bader), where did you read about x86 support?! I couldn’t find anything on their webpage.

  • Blas

    Give it an active digitizer and I’m in.

  • Tom

    They should team up with Mozilla. Breaking into mobile will be very difficult – would make sense for Mozz and Ubuntu to ccombine their efforts.

    • Sanjiro

      I don’t really see how Ubuntu and Firefox OS could be merged; while they are both linux/open-source based, Firefox OS seems to be a lean/simplified OS more or less targeted at more basic smartphones focusing primarily on internet access. Ubuntu for tablets on the other hand seems to be more focusing on bringing the desktop experience to the tablet, more or less the complete opposite goal of Firefox which is trying to simplify.

  • Lodovik

    Why bring Linux a second time to this market? Android is an adaptation of Linux and it has taken 4 versions to begin to compete with the other main player in this segment. Really, do we need to suffer through another evolution like this?

  • deltatux

    Fully open sourced, new design paradigm, integration with existing Ubuntu Desktop/Laptop, works with existing Android devices, and a growing app library?


    I’m going to flash this bad boy when Canonical releases it for the Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus 4. It’ll definitely complement my Ubuntu Desktop that I’m running anyways.

  • TCK

    Flattering for Microsoft.
    This is the most obvious Windows 8 rip off yet.

  • Jamin Garcia

    It looks really nice , I just hope that we’ll be able to install on a 1G of ram like the Samsung Tab 2 , besides the introduction I’m sold !!!!

    • Piff

      Don’t count on it.

  • Piff

    Ok, you can count me in. When this gets dropped I’ll check out a few reviews before buying a Nexus 10.

  • TouchMyBox

    Canonical seems like they’re in a nice position to learn from all the mistakes google has made with Android. While Android has come a long way, it’s still infuriating that I can’t help people who own android phones because each phone seems to have a slightly different settings menu, and then I look at their phone and there is a bunch of adware in the notification tray. I love android but it’s kind of surprising that it is as mainstream as it is.

  • OMG BASEDGOD #taskforce #tybg

    More choice is always good.

  • Brad F

    @Brad F (With pic and dickless)