Ubuntu On Your Phone, Raspberries In Your Pocket


Canonical announced today their intent to make Ubuntu available on Android.  Yes, on Android.  So, what does that mean?  We’ve all probably seen Ubuntu booting on a mobile device before, but this is completely different…

The new project allows you to dock a phone to a display, mouse and keyboard, while utilizing the unused cores in your phone to provide a full desktop environment.  From the project’s homepage:

 Ubuntu for Android gives mobile workers a compelling reason to upgrade to multi-core handsets with more RAM, more storage, faster GPUs and CPUs. It’s not just a phone they are buying, it’s a desktop too. While mid-range phones can deliver a perfect Android experience, it takes high-end horsepower to drive a phone and a desktop at the same time. Newer multi-core processors are up to the job, and Ubuntu is the killer app for that hot hardware. It’s the must-have feature for late-2012 high-end Android phones.

Here are the features:

  • Secure full-featured web

Ubuntu will, of-course, use your 3G/4G connection so you can browse the web and tweet about how amazing this all is!  Ubuntu is able to share bookmarks and browsing history with your Android browser to create a seamless roaming experience.

  • Unified Contacts

Ubuntu goes so far as to sync your Google contacts locally, and even sync with a standard contact list on your phone.

  • Calendar coordination

Like unified contacts, Ubuntu is able to sync with your calendar as well!  If ever there were an indication that Thunderbird will finally play nice with Google Calendar, this is probably it.

  • Messaging and calls

This is the big one guys!  Calls and text messages from your phone will be integrated with the message center in Unity.  Never miss a single thing…

  • Simple integrated settings
It doesn’t stop there…  What about your WiFi passwords stored in your phone for when you are roaming from one desk to the next?  Ubuntu still has you covered, allowing you to share all of this information between Ubuntu and Android.
  • Social Networking Services
This one is a little mysterious, as we’ve yet to hear anything about an Ubuntu Social Networking Client so this is news in and of itself.  Through this client, you will be able to have direct access to services like Twitter and Facebook, from Ubuntu without any additional setup.  Ubuntu effectively uses the data already available on your phone.
Though, this could just be a rebranded Gwibber client.
  • Photos
Also, never mentioned before is the Ubuntu Photo Gallery application.  This may just be a rebranded version of the hopelessly un-updated application Shotwell, but there is no way to be sure.

This may succeed where the Atrix failed.

Linux On Arm

The real story here is how committed Canonical is the ARM and what this will do for non-Android Linux distribution running on the platform.  Indirectly, you should be more confident than ever buying a Raspberry pie, because THIS guarantees you that everything will work…


About Dean Howell

Aside from being a huge Sega fan, Dean is an LPIC certified Linux professional with over a decade experience. In addition to spending his free time burning through the classics from Sega and evangelizing open source, he's also the editor-in-cheif of The Powerbase.