Want an Android smartphone with Ubuntu desktop capabilities? You might have to wait until 2014

January 26, 2013
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UbuntuDeveloper efforts in integrating the mobile device and the desktop environment are commendable. For one, Ubuntu’s creator, Canonical, aims to offer desktop and mobile convergence in just one device. This means that when you dock your smarthphone to an external display and external inputs (such as a keyboard and mouse), you get desktop computing capabilities.

This can be the holy grail of mobile computing for professionals who are always on the go, because this can reduce one’s dependence on syncing your data to the cloud or carrying multiple devices. However, even as Ubuntu has announced its own operating system as a contender against the more established mobile OSes today — namely Android, iOS and even BlackBerry and Windows Phone — one other option is to dual-boot Android and Ubuntu in one single device.

This possibility was actually announced early last year, prior to MWC in 2012. The Ubuntu for Android project enables Ubuntu to run over Android, for as long as the hardware is capable enough.

But don’t bet on an official Ubuntu-equipped Android device coming to market soon, as the product leads at Ubuntu want to release such a device once Canonical has launched its first Ubuntu-only smartphone. “We are planning to very quickly follow our initial launch [of an Ubuntu-only handset] with the converged device, which will have high-performing system components that will allow Ubuntu to run as a desktop OS when docked,” said Richard Collins in an interview with Engadget.

Given that Canonical will have to work out manufacturing agreements with device makers and also agreements with mobile carriers, we might have to wait a year before Ubuntu smartphones come into the picture. So if you want to be able to dock your Android device and get Ubuntu desktop capabilities, you might have to wait until 2014 for an official device. Or, you can check out various third-party devices that offer this functionality, such as the Kite / Nibbio tablet from DaVinci, which we featured last week.

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