Canonical Shows Off Ubuntu For Tablets: Available February 21st With Phone Version

Ubuntu One

Canonical has shown off the final piece of its 4 part puzzle. On Tuesday the company revealed the software running on tablets in a video on their blog.

Previously they have displayed the software running on PC’s, phones and TV’s. The 4th hardware option comes as a tablet and is not a giant surprise.

“Ubuntu One” will be released Thursday and it will contain the same code distribution for each version, but each platform will use a specific Linux kernel suited towards the specific hardware type. When it is released to developers, they will be able to install the OS onto the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 phones. The tablet version is compatible with both the Nexus 7 and 10 versions.

Mark Shuttleworth is the founder and presenter of the video and he gives a brief walk through of what to expect. A welcome screen has user accounts that are protected with a pin or guest mode that has limited access. Once unlocked it looks similar to the previously displayed phone OS. A new feature that Mark believes will set the company apart is “side stage”.

Side stage allows users to split the screen with two live running apps. It can be activated while you are watching a video by simply swiping the right side of the screen in towards the center of the screen. Recent running apps can appear and be running upon selecting them.  Shuttleworth shows this off by swiping through his Facebook feed by just using his right thumb while the video continues to play on the left. Side stage will allow both phone and tablet apps to multitask together.  The live windows are able to be maneuvered with just dragging the inner border as desired.

Swiping is still a main point of emphasis for the open source operating system. Notifications are accessible from swiping down from the top right hand corner. Swiping away notifications looks similar to how Android handles notifications. The left edge swipe will bring up your favorite apps. The bottom edge gives control options over the current running applications. Sharing content while it is live appears very simple by using the bottom edge to swipe up and choose the medium and users you wish to share with. The picture or video continues to be visible while the sharing is completed.

Having one set of code should make development for Ubuntu a simple task compared to other ecosystems. Shuttleworth agrees and makes a point to push developers to their SDK site to check it out.

“Creating beautiful apps that work seamlessly accross devices is easy with their SDK. It is available at developer.ubuntu.com”

This software release is not a final product, so expect a lot of bugs and an unpolished product. The previews appear very elegant, but will developers flock to the longtime Linux OS now optimized for mobile? Apps can make or break a company trying to enter a current two team race with Android and iOS.

Ubuntu for tablets

Watch Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth explain Ubuntu for tablets and what it offers industry partners.

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