A few weeks ago, Canonical announced plans to enter the smartphone market with a new user interface for its Linux-based Ubuntu operating system. Today, the company announced a plan to bring that UI to the larger touchscreens found on tablets.
Canonical posted up a video on YouTube which showed off the various features of the tablet themed Ubuntu interface. One of them allows for multiple secure accounts to be used on just one tablet. Another feature is called "side stage" which allows phone apps to run on the tablet at the same time as a tablet-based app as an example of multitasking.
Canonical claims that future versions of Ubuntu will be able to run an Ubuntu app across four different user interfaces (desktop, TV, smartphone and tablet) with no need for special programming for each version. Engadget chatted with Canonical's Mark Shuttleworth which claims Ubuntu has "cracked this one in a way that has eluded Microsoft".
Shuttleworth is referring to the fact that, at the moment, apps made for Windows 8 (x86 programs) cannot run on Windows RT or Windows Phone without a special effort to port those apps. However, we have reported that Microsoft appears to be making plans to solve that problem in future versions of Windows.
Canonical has plans to release the early developer source code for both the Ubuntu smartphone and tablet UI on Thursday, February 21st. The code can be used by the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 smartphones as well as the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets from Google. A commercial tablet that will run on the OS won't likely be released until sometime in 2014.
Source: Ubuntu on YouTube