Next week we will finally get to see the first commercially available Ubuntu smartphone when the BQ Aquaris e4.5 rolls out of its incubation unit. It feels like years since the Ubuntu Edge’s doomed for failure crowdfunding campaign…failed, yet there is still a whole lotta love for the mobile OS that some genuinely think has a chance at rivalling Android. Why is it so popular though?
Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu OS, has spent a couple of years stripping down Android to the bare bones and replacing it with technology that allows it to keep the OS constantly updated at a level not enjoyed by Android users. The OS back end is divided into a trio of partitions that are comprised of three separate sections of code: one each for the device, manufacturer or carrier, and Ubuntu. It means that each one can deliver bug fixes as-and-when they are needed, and customisation specific to the carrier or manufacturer will be far easier to implement. Basically if you’re an Android user constantly bemoaning the time it takes for your update to arrive, we think you’ll have a lot of joy here.
Another thing that Ubuntu users won’t have to worry about is the number of apps that will be brought to their smartphone.
Microsoft faced big problems in the early days of its Windows Phone OS in that developers were immediately discouraged by its low user base and BlackBerry even thinks there’s a conspiracy against it. Ubuntu may not have the same problems thanks to fact its apps are built on Linux, and Canonical has provided programmers with QML widgets that allow for the quick development of interfaces optimised for smartphones. The Ubuntu OS can also run web apps and mean that any app using HTML5 will already be able to work on Ubuntu smartphones and tablets
It’s all working towards Canonical’s vision of true convergence for Ubuntu across both the desktop and mobile versions that will eventually work seamlessly across mobiles, tablets and PCs. This might be slightly unpopular with the Linux users that were so crucial to the brand in the past but in terms of attracting new users this will be a crucial cog to the new Ubuntu that runs on smartphones.
Ultimately it looks as though a combination of all these factors will form the crux of Ubuntu’s future mobile strategy as it works towards becoming at least number three behind Android and iOS.
Image Credit: Flickr (David Junyent)