Developers, take note: Canonical plans on issuing images and open-source code for the Touch Developer Preview of the Ubuntu smartphone platform on Feb. 21, with support for the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 devices.
“This release marks the threshold of wider engagement—both with industry and community,” Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu, wrote in a Feb. 15 statement. “For developers, contributors and partners, there is now a coherent experience that warrants attention. The cleanest, most stylish mobile interface around.”
In early January, Canonical announced it was working on a version of the open-source Ubuntu for smartphones. System requirements for an entry-level device include a 1 GHz Cortex A9 processor and multi-touch capability, while the high-end version demands a quad-core A9 or Intel Atom processor, paired with both multi-touch and desktop convergence support. While many in the open-source community are excited over the idea of an open-source mobile operating system competing in the same arena as Apple’s iOS and Google Android, Canonical still needs to sell potential manufacturers on the idea of such a platform.
Canonical, which works with the open-source community to support Ubuntu worldwide, has already issued a Preview SDK and App Design Guides for the platform’s apps, along with a portfolio of documented templates. (A breakdown of the Ubuntu mobile OS and associated app toolkit is available elsewhere on SlashCloud.) The Ubuntu mobile platform will allow HTML5 and native apps; Web apps can also run independently of the browser, with full access to system resources.
Ubuntu is already the most widely used Linux enterprise desktop, with customers in a wide range of sectors focused on security, cost and manageability” Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical, wrote in a Jan. 2 statement. “We also see an opportunity in basic smartphones that are used for the phone, SMS, web and email, where Ubuntu outperforms thanks to its native core apps and stylish presentation.”
The question is which manufacturer will potentially jump onboard with a line of Ubuntu smartphones: Research In Motion, Nokia, and Apple are out, for obvious reasons, while many Android manufacturers seem perfectly happy with their current smartphone lineups.