So, Canonical just announced Ubuntu for Phones, a version of Ubuntu for smartphones. But this is not a version you can download and root your smartphone with, just a development project for vendors and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).
But will the target audience bite? And if they do, how serious will they be committed to the platform?
Those are very important questions because Ubuntu for Phones is not Canonical’s first attempt to push Ubuntu beyond the traditional PC space.
… the zillion dollar/euro/rouble/rupee/yuan question is, will it fly? Will TV makers care enough to even bother? Considering that Canonical has had a tough time trying to persuade PC vendors to load Ubuntu on desktop computers, how can it get TV makers to give Ubuntu TV a foothold in the market segment? A market segment that already features Boxee, Google TV, … and a few others.
So far, I’ve not read about a smart TV powered by Ubuntu TV, at least not one that you can buy online or from your local electronics store, and I’ve not seen any evidence that OEMs are even interested at this point. And it’s been slightly more than a year since Ubuntu TV was announced.
Again, the question is, will Ubuntu for Phones gain the serious OEM following that its siblings have not be able to? I don’t know, but the most important trend indicator at this stage does not look good: The Operators and OEMs page on the project’s site does not list any OEMs, not one. That tells you how much OEM-clout (OEM-convincing power) Canonical has, or does not have.
Watch 60 seconds of the stunning features and interaction design that characterise Ubuntu on smartphones.
His company is pushing the type of projects that SUSE, Mandriva S.A, and Red Hat should have been into. But SUSE sold out to Microsoft, Red Hat decided that it was only interested in the server spaces, and Mandriva’s management were clueless. I hope Canonical succeeds.
The phone interface, by the way, looks beautiful. Here are a couple of screen shots.