Linux diehards, rejoice! The Ubuntu smartphone is coming, and it’ll be here in about eight months.
Ubuntu for smartphones will use all four corners of the screen, giving us what Ubuntu maker Canonical calls “a more immersive experience” than the smartphone interfaces we’re already used to.
Perhaps most interestingly, the “superphones” will be able to dock to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse and deliver a PC-like experience. That’s a lot of computing power in a little package — the Galaxy Nexus, to be exact, one of the current flagships of the Android fleet.
According to Mark Shuttleworth, founder and CEO of Canonical, who spoke to the Wall Street Journal about the news, the first Ubuntu smartphones will start shipping in October 2013. Application developers will have access to the OS this month so they can start building for the devices.
Canonical expects big corporate customers to be among the first to adopt the device. “Ubuntu uniquely gives handset OEMs and mobile operators the ability to converge phone, PC, and thin client into a single enterprise superphone,” the company said in a statement on the release last month.
Other features we know about:
Edge magic: thumb gestures from all four edges of the screen enable users to find content and switch between apps faster than other phones.
Deep content immersion – controls appear only when the user wants them.
A beautiful global search for apps, content and products.
Voice and text commands in any application for faster access to rich capabilities.
Both native and web or HTML5 apps.
Evolving personalised art on the welcome screen.
The real question is whether the Ubuntu-running Nexus can beat the BYOD (bring your own device) trend, which heavily favors Android and iOS, the most popular smartphone operating systems. Another big competitor for enterprise mobile is Windows Phone, which has consistently pitched itself to IT types as the secure, integrated, logical choice for corporate use.