With the introduction of the tablet version of Ubuntu Canonical has covered essentially all platforms, namely, desktop, TV, smartphones and now tablets. Note that both the smartphone version launched a couple of days back and today’s tablet version are both developer previews, but they are still available for anyone who wants to give it a try.
The first commercial product running Ubuntu’s smartphone version is expected to arrive only by early next year and same goes to a Ubuntu running tablet. This might sound like a long delay, particularly when Canonical is already late to the mobile OS party. However, from the initial looks of it Ubuntu holds a lot of promise and should be able to make an impact inspite of the delay.
If you think Windows 8 is the OS that unifies smartphones and tablets and PCs, then you’ll need to do a rethink after using Ubuntu. With Ubuntu you’ll never have to worry about applications not running on a smartphone because its designed for a tablet or even PC and vise versa.
On Ubuntu all apps are the same, without even requiring porting. All apps run everywhere. Extra UI features specific to each platform simply turn on and off when used on each platform. Moreover, a tablet is capable of running an app like on a smartphone, with the use of a feature called “side state.” This is Ubuntu tablet’s multitasking feature that looks exactly like snapping on Windows 8, however, in this case the other half of the screen is capable of running an app in the smartphone version. Ubuntu on a tablet even has multi user accounts just like on a PC.
Furthermore, Ubuntu sports a ‘docking’ feature where in a smartphone can be ‘docked’ with a larger device, be it a tablet or TV and a tablet can be equipped with a keyboard and mouse. Doing so will immediately take the OS to the next level. For example, a smartphone docked with a tablet provides apps with the tablet interface and tablet apps gain desktop status when connected to keyboards and mice.
Starting from 21st anyone can download the OS and anything else that they require for development or testing or tweaking. While, with the announcement of the smartphone version Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 were said to have the capability to operate the OS, from 21st Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 will be able to run the tablet version.
Check out the introduction video below for a clearer picture.