Ubuntu comes to smartphones. OS optimized for entry level smartphones

L.S.M Kabweza Avatar
Ubuntu OS on a Galaxy Nexus

Ubuntu OS on a Galaxy NexusCanonical, the company behind the Ubuntu operating system, has announced the introduction of a smartphone version of its Linux based operating system. According to reports, the new operating system has been built around existing Android kernel and drivers which means existing Android device manufacturers can take advantage of the new free mobile OS. Right now, the OS can run on Galaxy Nexus devices, (the phone in the image above).

According to a post on the Canonical blog, the phones themselves are not available yet but the company is “we are ready to start working with partners with an aim to releasing phones before the end of 2013.” The company will however have phones for demo at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this month.

Here are some important things to note about the Ubuntu phone OS:

  • Canonical says the OS will provide a great experience on entry level smartphones (we’re thinking sub $100 stuff) as it doesn’t have Java virtual machine overhead allowing its core applications to run at “full native speeds with a small memory footprint.” This will likely attract Chinese device manufacturers, whose imitation phones are minimal on device power, but have had to rely on Android for their emerging market phones.
  • The OS has ‘superphone’ capabilities, which basically means you can turn it into a full Ubuntu desktop by docking it to a monitor and keyboard.
  • It will support both native apps and web apps and developers can already start familiarizing themselves.
  • The phone will feel different from your usual iOS, Android or Windows phone in the sense that it relies more on swipes than buttons for actions.
  • According to canonical, the phone will handle multitasking at a whole new level compared to current mobile OS offerings. In short, keeping many apps open at once won’t be a pain.

The Ubuntu phone OS has announced as another much reported open source smartphone, Jolla’s Sa Jolla’s Sailfish, comes onto the scene, a clear sign the future holds more choice for mobile device manufactures.

Will your next smartphone run Ubuntu or you’re sticking with Android, iPhones & Windows?


  1. Garikai Dzoma

    Now i can get my favorite OS on my phone too. Finally I get to ditch my 1202 phone.

  2. wengai

    there is no space for this OS, Shuttleworth and guys are simply trying to squeeeze themselves into a crowded room. Just check how microsoft is struggling with adoption. The OS ecosystem for both IOS and android has grown much too big. Developers are getting fatigued tweaking their software for other jack&jill platforms. I wish them well all the same

    1. Greg Kawere

      only time will tell, with the convergence of devices i think their move is a very shrewd move that will pay dividends in the near future. pro0cessing power of mobile devices is increasing so this is a timely move. it might actually cause an increase in the adoption of linux ubuntu. critics also said the same thing when canonical released linux ubuntu for desktop, saying the os market is saturated and that the linux distro market is even more saturated. but years down the line ubuntu is the most used linux distro. so time will tell

    2. Insperatus

      The smart phone market is growing exponentially. The “crowded room” is just an illusion, more like an open field.

  3. Chris Mberi

    This is a great idea that could finally bring useful smart phones to the masses. Wengai, lets remember that many more can’t afford iphones, HTCs or galaxies than can afford so there is no market saturation to talk about unless we wish to continue oppressing the marginalised just to maintain this mythycal status symbol around phones. While Asian manufactures have tried to close the gap, the current offerings with android don’t seem to be getting good support. For local developers, I believe that an Ubuntu App Market could turn out to be more inclusive and inclusive than Google Play. With over 8 million mobile phone users in Zimbabwe, don’t they all deserve a smart phone each? Ubuntu helps those vaka vharirwa panze neWindows and its friends

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