Is Ubuntu for Android the mobile device that will kill the PC?
In 1974 science fiction writer Jerry Pournelle and a co-writer Larry Niven came up with the idea of a personal handheld computer that everyone could use, in the book “The Mote in God’s Eye”. At the time, this idea was so far fetched that very few people believed it could be true. As the years passed the advance of technology brought us the smartphone device. Further predictions arose that the handheld would eventually become powerful enough to completely replace the personal computer. However, smartphone devices did not have the raw computing power or the storage room to replace the PC, until now.
The software company Canonical has announced their a new product they are developing called Ubuntu for Android. This product will bring the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution to high-end Android smartphones. It consists of a complete Ubuntu desktop experience that is intended to be installed on the device alongside the standard Android environment. By doing this, users will be able to use Android when using their smartphone, but then switch to a full Linux distribution when docked. The dock will connect to a keyboard mouse and monitor.
The software is designed to work well on devices with dual-core ARM CPUs. The default setup includes the Chromium Web browser, Thunderbird e-mail client, the Gwibber social networking program, the VLC video player, and a selection of other software. The environment includes a unified contact system that will make the user’s Android address book fully accessible in the Ubuntu environment. It can also detect the social network accounts that the user has configured in Android and automatically enable them in Gwibber.
It’s too early to tell at this point whether this product will reach full scale development, and perhaps more importantly, full scale acceptance by the consumer market. In June of 2013 Canonical Founder Mark Shuttleworth announced in a blog post that the company had held the first meeting of the new Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group, which in his words “helps us figure out how best to shape Ubuntu to meet the needs of the mobile industry”. Getting the large mobile carriers to carry their item is the first step in a series of steps needed to get this item into consumers hands. However if this product is well received and adopted by end consumers it could be the final nail in the coffin of the Personal Computer as we now know it.