Ubuntu On The Smartphone Market
Ubuntu for Phones, or Ubuntu Phone as some people call it, is the new adventure Canonical has taken in order to built its own ecosystem based on Ubuntu. This could represent the staging of a new competitor in the smartphone market, currently highly commanded by Google and Apple, through Android and iOS respectively.
Ubuntu for Phones is built around the current Linux kernel modified by Google that we can see in Android devices. Technically, the biggest difference between them starts here. Android uses the Dalvik Virtual Machine (Dalvik VM), a process virtual machine created by Google that runs the apps on Android, and lets every single application, or app, to run in its own process. Ubuntu for Phones, on the other side, doesn’t use Dalvik VM, and according to Canonical it promises a better performance thanks to run all the apps natively.
User Interface. Gestures And Global Search
On the user interface side, the basic usage is strongly based on gestures. Thus, gestures let the users to quickly jump to the Home screen, or to switch between active applications, among many other tasks.
Another important aspect to talk is the global search implementation. It allows the user to search, not only for local content or applications, but for Internet content.
On the applications side, according to its creators, the platform supports applications written in QML, OpenGL, and HTML5. Besides, Canonical is working on a SDK to bring developers all the necessary tools for app development.
Ubuntu for Phones is going to focus in two directions: Web Apps and Native Apps
Web Apps. Ubuntu for Phones can run web applications written in HTML5. Just as in the Ubuntu Desktop edition, web apps are going to be fully integrated into the user interface. Thus, every web application is going to be able to use certain system features just like a local app would. This is something Ubuntu has implemented in Ubuntu 12.10, as we can find some web applications which are able to show notifications in the Messaging menu.
Native Apps. It means, applications designed specifically for the OS. Contrary to the web apps, native apps can take advantage of all the hardware capabilities, in order to allow, in theory, a pretty faster and more responsive usage.
According to Canonical, proper Ubuntu phones won’t be shipped until early 2014, but in a few weeks, there will be downloadable images available ready to be used in the Galaxy Nexus, in order to offer a development platform for developers.
OEMs and carriers will be allowed to easily enhance and customize their devices, and they will be able to add their own brand services and applications.
Here we can take a look at the virtual keynote and see how Mark Shuttleworth presents the product and explains Canonical’s market strategy.