Ubuntu for Android attempts to be what Motorola’s Webtop couldn’t

Canonical, the smart and determined team behind Linux’s most popular distribution, Ubuntu, have released details of Ubuntu for Android. The idea is simple: when you’re running the OS on a smartphone, it appears as would any other device, an unsullied version of Android. But dock the phone with a compatible product, presumably one bundled with the handset, and on your screen pops up a full version of Ubuntu, complete with Unity UI.

The idea is not a new one. Motorola debuted the ATRIX with its Firefox-based Webtop platform, but much of the interaction was kept to a single browser window, and the Tegra 2 processor was not fast enough to accomodate the extremely taxing full-screen interface. The idea was sound; the implementation was not.

Canonical has also been instrumental in porting many existing x86 apps to work on Linux for ARM, though the number is currently very limited. Existing Linux apps need to be recompiled to work on many of the ARM processors embedded in modern Android handsets, and the opposite is true for Android apps on the upcoming Intel Medfield platform, which uses the x86 architecture. At the moment, Canonical claims that many desktop apps from VMWare, Citrix and Adobe are working on Ubuntu for Android, with more to come. More importantly, most phone functions such as answering phone calls, sending text messages and emails, are also freely available on the desktop interface.

The hype around Ubuntu for Android also certifies the desire for continuous computing — the notion that instead of carrying around two devices, say a phone and a laptop, your phone substitutes for the larger device and only docks when the need is there for a bigger display and truer multitasking. Canonical is claiming that Ubuntu for Android will take advantage of multi-core processors, fast GPUs and lots of memory — one of the main reasons users are buying Android handsets in the first place.

Check out all the details over at Canonical and let us know how you think this could add to your smartphone experience?

Via: The Verge