Ubuntu for phones brings the true desktop to mobile

By: Gadjo Sevilla

January 3, 2013




By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

Ubuntu, one of the more popular Linux distributions on the PC, will soon be primed and ready to run on existing smartphones

Ubuntu recently announced that their Ubuntu for Phones will enable existing dual-core smartphones to run the full desktop version of their super solid and mature Linux based operating system.

This announcement potentially leapfrogs Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android and other competing smartphone operating systems that are simply mobile ecosystems.

Ubuntu gained popularity with the Linux loyalists for being able to run smoothly on even the most basic system requirements and now it seems all Ubuntu needs is a recent smartphone.


This means users can theoretically have their smartphones running a mobile OS like Android or Windows Phone 8 while on the go.

They can then dock that same device when they get to their office and launch a full-scale Ubuntu operating system with desktop-level apps all running on a stable Linux architecture.

It makes sense, specially since we’re seeing smartphones with quad-core processors and 2GB of RAM coming to market. These are specs we still see on consumer notebooks and desktops.

Ubuntu for phones will be officially launched at CES next week and the company is still looking for partners and handset makers to make the project happen but everything seems to be in place.

Even if Ubuntu doesn’t find willing partners, this solution is certain to attract the homebrew crowd or companies and individuals who might want to leverage the technology.

Ubuntu for phones is still a year away from realization since Canonical, Ubuntu’s owner, is still looking for hardware partners to accept the platform.

Whats your tech? Is a dual-boot smartphone with both a mobile OS for the road and a desktop OS for office or home something to be desired?



  1. jefftamsky@gmail.com'

    Certain dual-core phones could supported by Ubuntu for Phones. However, it appears from the information posted on the official website that they will not be able to run like a desktop if they are not Atoms. That seems to require a quad-core A9 or Atom. There are reports that Canonical, the company most involved with Ubuntu, has officially stated plans to release Ubuntu for Phones for the Galaxy Nexus within the month. I am nearly certain this statement is in in the middle of a very long video, which I don’t want to dig through right now. At least a beta version is currently running on a Galaxy Nexus. The Galaxy Nexus does not seem to have the required hardware for desktop mode. I would imagine it is not only possible, but probable that someone would modify the official Ubuntu for Phones OS to run on unsupported hardware and modify it to run in desktop mode on officially supported but desktop mode unsupported phones. Ubuntu might do this themselves for a Galaxy Nexus developer’s edition OS. It is relatively common for a desktop’s GNU/Linux OS to not be the original OS shipped from the factory. Ubuntu installation on a desktop is intentionally extremely user-friendly. It should not be difficult on a supported smart-phone.

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