Ooh, awesome! Ubuntu has been officially announced for smartphones!

Well, blow me down; back on New Year’s Eve, when I did a post predicting what’d happen in the mobile world in 2013, I really didn’t see this one coming. I did include a bit about new operating systems, but what I didn’t know was that Ubuntu was about to be officially announced for smartphones (the relevant bit starts around 6m36s)…

Well, that’s a rather novel take on a mobile OS, and no mistake. I’m intrigued by the idea of there being precisely zero menu buttons on the screen (well, within the OS itself; context-sensitive ones can be brought up inside apps). But will it actually be any good?

Well, there’s the rub. I’m not going to argue about it being intuitive, because it does looks intuitive. I’m not going to argue about it being powerful, ‘cos it does seem pretty powerful. And I’m not going to argue about apps, because… oh, hang on, wait, yes I am going to argue about apps, because what we’ve got here is a brand new platform that basically hasn’t got any. Yes, Ubuntu can run web apps, but when it comes to native apps, well, unless developers flock to release their stuff on Ubuntu, there won’t be any native apps.

And then, of course, you get the whole Catch-22 situation of developers not wanting to jump to it, until it’s proven itself, but it can’t prove itself too well without a load of apps (part of the reason why Windows Phone hasn’t taken off massively despite superstar phones like the Nokia Lumia 920 or the HTC 8X).

The other downside is that it’s not due to be finished, and to go on full release, until 2014…

However, having said that, I really do hope that Ubuntu succeeds, for the same reason that I really hope the Sailfish OS succeeds; more platforms means more competition. It means more options for customers, but more than that, it gives the big names (yeah, I mean Google) something else to fight against, which means they’ll innovate more, as well. In theory, it’ll kick off a massive arms race between the various platform providers, as each tries to out-tech the other, and that can only be a good thing for us consumers.

Imagine something as powerful as the Samsung Galaxy S3 running Ubuntu; basically, that’ll make Google up their already rather good game, and no matter which company wins that battle, us consumers will be the real winners…

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About TechnicalMarkus

It's a little known fact Technical Markus has now beaten both his Transformers addiction AND his Mass Effect addiction, by replacing both with an equally obsessive addiction to XCOM: Enemy Unknown and buying Humble Bundles for his Android phone. At the moment, he's pondering the actual usefulness of smartwatches and smart glasses, even if the nerd in him is shouting for joy at how sci-fi they are. He spends his spare time being whinged at to figure out what's wrong with other people's mobile phones, and drinking unimaginable quantities of tea. With milk. And three sweeteners, thanks for asking. Oh, and he's got an HTC One X, but he reckons his next phone might be a Sony, the turncoat...