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Ubuntu Phone OS Unveiled

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the a-new-contender-appears dept.

Ubuntu 248

Today Canonical announced Ubuntu for phones. The new operating system is designed to provide easier access to apps and content than is provided by current mobile OSes. They do this by relying on swipe gestures from the edges of the phone's screen. "Every edge of the phone is used, letting you move faster between apps, settings and content. A short swipe from the left edge of the screen is all it takes to reveal your favourite apps. Page either left or right from the home screen to see the content you use most. A full left-to-right swipe reveals a screen showing all your open apps, while a swipe from the right brings you instantly to the last app you were using. ... A swipe from the right edge takes you back to the last app you were using; another swipe takes you back to the app you used before that. It’s natural to keep many apps open at once, which is why Ubuntu was designed for multi-tasking. ... Swiping up from the bottom edge of the phone reveals app controls." The Ubuntu phone OS is built to work well on low-powered devices. Canonical will be at CES next week working on raising interest from manufacturers. As far as software goes, they have this to say: "Web apps are first class citizens on Ubuntu, with APIs that provide deep integration into the interface. HTML5 apps written for other platforms can be adapted to Ubuntu with ease, and we’re targeting standard cross-platform web app development frameworks like PhoneGap to make Ubuntu ‘just work’ for apps that use them." (In the attached video, the phone OS discussion starts at about 6:37.)

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248 comments

Video and first thoughts. (5, Informative)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year ago | (#42452451)

Here's the keynote. Skip to about 6:35 sec for the new bits.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpWHJDLsqTU [youtube.com]

Direct link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpWHJDLsqTU&feature=player_detailpage#t=401s [youtube.com]

First thoughts:

2014 is a long way away and a whole year is an eternity in mobile space.

It kind of looks like Unity in portrait mode but without the dock.

What does it bring new to developers that isn't there in Android? Firefox OS's USP is web apps with native bindings(same as WebOS').

It says it uses the Android kernel and drivers to be compatible with the hardware, so will OEM(s) shipping devices with this OSes fall foul of Google's anti-fork rules[1] for Android? Or does that apply only to the Android SDK/Dalvik VM?

[1] http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57512418-94/alibaba-google-forced-acer-to-drop-our-new-mobile-os/ [cnet.com]

Re:Video and first thoughts. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42452669)

What does it bring new to developers that isn't there in Android?

Real openness?

Re:Video and first thoughts. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42452857)

What does it bring new to developers that isn't there in Android?

Real openness?

What have the Romans ever done for us?

Re:Video and first thoughts. (5, Insightful)

H0p313ss (811249) | about a year ago | (#42453145)

What does it bring new to developers that isn't there in Android?

Real openness?

What have the Romans ever done for us?

Sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health?

Re:Video and first thoughts. (5, Funny)

Flipao (903929) | about a year ago | (#42453557)

What does it bring new to developers that isn't there in Android?

Real openness?

What have the Romans ever done for us?

Sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health?

All right, fair enough, but appart from sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health; what have the Romans ever done for us?

Re:Video and first thoughts. (4, Insightful)

Flipao (903929) | about a year ago | (#42453441)

What does it bring new to developers that isn't there in Android?

Real openness?

The AOSP is perfectly open, you're more than welcome to grab the source and do with it as you please, like Amazon did. The license doesn't require you to publish the full source code but it doesn't prevent you from doing so either.

This allows Android distributions like Replicant [replicant.us] to exist. Currently 4 OSs dominate the smartphone market, Android, Blackberry OS, iOS and Windows Phone. You'd think people would show a little apreciation for the fact that the dominant OS is the only Open OS out of the bunch.

Instead they come here and spew bile.

Re:Video and first thoughts. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42453659)

New Stupid OS Names:

Asinine Andoinaught
Bukkake Boobies
Cloddish Canonical
Dopey Dimwit
Eclectic Excrement
Fuckidy Fingerscreen ...

Re:Video and first thoughts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42453665)

What does it bring new to developers that isn't there in Android?

Real openness?

From Canonical.

Good one there, for a minute I thought you were serious.

Marketing People (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42452773)

2014 is a long way away and a whole year is an eternity in mobile space.

Maybe. But sometimes the consumer space lags behind the business space and doesn't keep up with innovation fast enough resulting in inadequate ROI within the finance space.

Of course, this results in warped space.

BUT - if and that's a BIG IF - the company can synchronize the consumer - engineering - marketing spaces with the price point of the device with the competition space, then and only then will the phone achieve competitive equality in the market space thereby flattening the consumer space making this product more competitive than the Apple line at its price point in that particular space.

See?

Apple is obviously doomed.

Re:Video and first thoughts. (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about a year ago | (#42453135)

It will be really open unlike Android. As you point out Google is trying to stamp out forking which is really hypocritcal given Android is basically a fork itself and it wasn't that long ago that the Linux community was complaining that Google take without giving back.

Re:Video and first thoughts. (5, Insightful)

Shoten (260439) | about a year ago | (#42453257)

It will be really open unlike Android. As you point out Google is trying to stamp out forking which is really hypocritcal given Android is basically a fork itself and it wasn't that long ago that the Linux community was complaining that Google take without giving back.

If this is the crux of their value proposition, they are fucked. The fact of the matter is, at least 80% of mobile phone users don't even know what "openness" means, and if you can explain it to them, almost none of them will care. You can argue about open source vs. closed source, about how Android isn't really open, about flexibility, even about how open source gets patched faster on the whole.

The vast majority of people will not care. Should they? Sure. But they don't. And they aren't going to either. How do I know this? Because this whole discussion is vaguely familiar...I remember it over a decade ago, when it was about Linux on desktops instead of Linux on smartphones. All that time has passed, and you still can't get people to buy Linux-based computers based on the openness argument.

Re:Video and first thoughts. (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year ago | (#42453625)

If this is the crux of their value proposition, they are fucked. The fact of the matter is, at least 80% of mobile phone users don't even know what "openness" means, and if you can explain it to them, almost none of them will care. You can argue about open source vs. closed source, about how Android isn't really open, about flexibility, even about how open source gets patched faster on the whole.

Explain it to them as configurability and they'll love it.
I have yet to buy a phone with enough configurability to truly soften all the rough edges that interfere with usability.
Even worse, every few years, when I get a new phone, there is a different set of rough edges not covered by the new phone's configurable options.

Re:Video and first thoughts. (1, Troll)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about a year ago | (#42453727)

You say that but what did Android offer over iOS? It's confusing because it looks different and can behave differently depending on who you get it from. It was incredibly buggy for the longest time, getting updates isn't consistent and it does have more malware.

Of course openness only appeals to a small number of people but these are the people that will talk about it the most and create hype and if Ubuntu create something that provides openness while making it a more consistent and better experience than Android then they'll do well.

Also if they improve security over android that will help. Android does get a lot of people buying their phones but it also has a higher level of customer dissatisfaction. in fact in some results, Windows phone ranks higher than Android.

http://www.slashgear.com/iphone-keeps-smartphone-satisfaction-crown-builds-lead-over-android-06246257/ [slashgear.com]
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hardware/wp7-ahead-of-android-and-right-behind-ios-in-customer-satisfaction-survey/13728 [zdnet.com]

Another poll says that 1/3 of android owners would prefer to have an iphone. So is adroid only as big as it is because it's financially people's only choice? http://www.pcpro.co.uk/blogs/2010/11/14/poll-suggests-third-of-android-owners-really-want-an-iphone/ [pcpro.co.uk]

77% of iphone users say they'd buy another iphone. 20% of Android users say they'd buy another Android phone. http://money.cnn.com/2010/07/23/technology/iphone_4_att/index.htm [cnn.com]

So basically all around it looks like there is a lot of dissatifaction amongst Android users and they're not overly keen on having an android phone. Maybe that's why they don't really buy apps or surf the net unlike iphone users.

So let's not pretend Google has perfected the mobile phone and no one should else should try. Again openness does mattter to get in the people who will get all fanboyish about it and promote it and if they can make something that also a superior user experience then they'll do well.

Re:Video and first thoughts. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42453385)

Google isn't stamping out forking. It's stamping out forked projects calling themselves Android, which is sensible.

That creates confusion all over the place, because people expect shit to work, and would blame Google if their Angry Birds didn't work on their phone running Ubuntu Android.

If HTC, Ubuntu, or even you want to add all sorts of app-breaking UI fluff on top of Android, go ahead, just don't release it as Android, and then you take the blame when shit doesn't work.

Which is why this is called Ubuntu Mobile, or Ubunutu Phone or whatever, and not Ubuntu for Android or whatever it would have been called.

Re:Video and first thoughts. (0)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about a year ago | (#42453495)

I believe they gave Acer shit and Acer weren't even calling their phone Android. But that said Android is already a confusing mess where buying a phone from a certain provider doesn't mean it will be the same as a phone from another. You can't say how many, if any, updates you get because it depends entirely on which one you buy.

If Ubuntu can tackle that then that's yet another bonus.

Re:Video and first thoughts. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42453523)

Acer specifically signed a contract saying they'd only use official Android, and then did just the opposite. Had they not joined the AOSP program, there would be no issue.

Re:Video and first thoughts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42453589)

Yeah, Canonical, saviour of the Linux way on cell phones. LOL

Re:Video and first thoughts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42453643)

Not to mention that the few basic UX ideas they haven't stolen from BB10 UI, they've stolen from Sailfish.

Re:Video and first thoughts. (1)

Lost Race (681080) | about a year ago | (#42453691)

It says it uses the Android kernel and drivers to be compatible with the hardware, so will OEM(s) shipping devices with this OSes fall foul of Google's anti-fork rules[1] for Android?

The Android kernel is a derivative work of the Linux kernel, so it's GPL and Google can't prevent anyone from forking it.

Re:Video and first thoughts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42453737)

Technically speaking Google can stop supporting whoever is shipping a phone, running anything. W8, Ubuntu, Firefox OS, you name it. They can tell them "if you keep selling that, we will stop helping you port android to your phones".

Oh, great, exactly what I don't want... (5, Insightful)

seebs (15766) | about a year ago | (#42452465)

I hate the way iOS has gradually made it harder and harder for me to interact with the app I have open rather than the OS. Dragging from screen edge, tapping with the wrong number of fingers... All sorts of things get eaten by the OS, so I end up doing something other than interacting with the app.

Now, in their own tragically quite imitable style, Canonical appear to have decided that the problem with the intrusion of the OS into the app's UI is that it does not go far enough.

Re:Oh, great, exactly what I don't want... (4, Funny)

macbeth66 (204889) | about a year ago | (#42452707)

At least they won't force a completely awful replacement UI just after you have gotten to like and understand the old one. For no reason.

Oh, wait...

Re:Oh, great, exactly what I don't want... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42453155)

Like this is unexpected?
This is sort of the first thing I thought of when I first heard about Unity. "Gee, another iOS influenced interface. I wonder where they're going with this?"
The only surprise is that it took Canonical this long to publicly admit that they are working on a phone OS.

Re:Oh, great, exactly what I don't want... (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#42453043)

This is probably THE most useful comment made.

It's a fact that OS/UI developers seem to believe that the Operating System and User Interface are these most important things. They certainly don't see it the way users see it. (To be clear, most users don't identify which OS/UI is in use, they just want to run the programs they want to run.) And while we all like to have some eye candy and flexibility in the way we do things, we generally need increasingly large displays [read: pixel counts] in order to restore focus on the application and to minimize the impact on screen and usability which the OS/UI claims. This has instinctively been my biggest beef with Desktop UI developments with Linux lately. The GNOME 2 experience defaults to two tool bars, one top and one bottom. The first tweak I usually do is to add a drop-down window list to the upper-right corner and remove the lower tool bar. Yes, it's MacOS9 style, but it minimizes the space claimed by the OS/UI and let's me focus on what I'm doing.

Now let's look at Android 2.x+. Android seeks to minimize the UI impact and it does a nice job of it. A minimal row of buttons give the user a single and simple home from which to go home, switch apps, go backward and open a context menu. Swiping from the top of the screen is a useful feature which enables the user to quickly access contols and status information. With Jellybean, we actually have two sides of the top to choose from on larger devices and it is always opposite of the button row at the bottom. Simple and effective. It is also visibly obvious.

What Ubuntu-phone is proposing is unintuitive and seeks to infringe on how an app can live on a device. Do. Not. Want.

Re:Oh, great, exactly what I don't want... (4, Interesting)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year ago | (#42453115)

I'd argue that Android doesn't go far enough.

It is really annoying to be running an app playing some video full screen and in order to adjust the screen brightness I must:
1. Hit home to get out of the app.
2. Access the quick settings menu in the upper right.
3. Adjust the brightness.
4. Open the recently-used list to find the app and go back.

The only reason this is necessary is because Android allows apps to run full screen and block access to the notification bar. If I'm on a 10" tablet, I don't mind having a few pixels of mostly black space set aside so that I can still have notifications. By all means make it configurable, but I want to be able to keep apps from blocking access to it.

Re:Oh, great, exactly what I don't want... (4, Interesting)

Jerry Atrick (2461566) | about a year ago | (#42453351)

Meanwhile I'll be gaming on my phone and won't want to yank down the notification bar by accident.

It's right to allow full screen as an option for apps. App writers just need to think more before using it.

Re:Oh, great, exactly what I don't want... (1)

EETech1 (1179269) | about a year ago | (#42453561)

Check out the app Display Brightness. It allows you to put a transparent slider on the edge of your choosing that overlays the screen and allows you to change the backlight by sliding your finger along your selected edge.

Just be sure to uncheck apply at boot if you're gonna see how low you can set the backlight! Some phones work down to 0%, others turn off the backlight completely somewhere below 5%. Then it becomes a race between you and your device rebooting to uninstall it before it gets loaded. After trying unsuccessfully (god I was so close... wish i had ADB enabled too) for 30+ minutes, i had to hard reset mine!

Best app out there!

Cheers!

Re:Oh, great, exactly what I don't want... (1)

FunkyELF (609131) | about a year ago | (#42453283)

The GNOME 2 experience defaults to two tool bars, one top and one bottom. The first tweak I usually do is to add a drop-down window list to the upper-right corner and remove the lower tool bar.

Android seeks to minimize the UI impact and it does a nice job of it. A minimal row of buttons give the user a single and simple home from which to go home, switch apps, go backward and open a context menu. Swiping from the top of the screen is a useful feature which enables the user to quickly access contols and status information.

These are two bars in Android, much like the ones in Gnome that you tweak to consolidate.
I find that in landscape mode on my Nexus 7 these two bars take up entirely too much real estate

Re:Oh, great, exactly what I don't want... (3, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#42453387)

To be clear, most users don't identify which OS/UI is in use, they just want to run the programs they want to run.

Except for Gnome-Shell users, for which the OS actually applies itself in a natural, minimal, and very POWERFUL way. Alt+F2 brings a run dialog. Windows key (Meta) or a top-left tab brings up the Activities view which shows desktops, icons, running applications expanded out, a search menu, and the system status bar. From within the Activities view you can move windows between desktops, run new tasks, search for applications, and view and respond to waiting notifications. Also, you can log out. Outside of that, the UI is basically out of your way. I mean, there's a clock at the top of the screen, and you can bring down the system menu from the top right to log out.

Too bad the alt+tab behavior is task-based instead of window-based. I hate composing an E-mail in thunderbird, hitting Alt+Tab, and it takes me to Chromium on another desktop instead of back to the Thunderbird main window I was just in before opening the New E-Mail window. I don't remember the last actual program I was using; I remember the last window. Fast swapping between two windows is useful. This task logic is not; it just deprecates alt-tab as a method of navigation.

Re:Oh, great, exactly what I don't want... (3, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | about a year ago | (#42453219)

I hate the way iOS has gradually made it harder and harder for me to interact with the app I have open rather than the OS. Dragging from screen edge, tapping with the wrong number of fingers... All sorts of things get eaten by the OS, so I end up doing something other than interacting with the app.

Settings > General > Multitasking Gestures > Off. That leaves swiping from the top edge to open Notification Center. I can't think of any other interaction mechanism that iOS intercepts. Tapping with the wrong number of fingers doesn't do anything, unless perhaps you've switched on some accessibility feature by mistake?

Re:Oh, great, exactly what I don't want... (2)

seebs (15766) | about a year ago | (#42453333)

Interesting, I hadn't seen the setting for that. Although the notification center thing bites me pretty frequently. I think it may have been the "four or five fingers" stuff, which is apparently mostly under that multitasking guestures thing. Thank you muchly! Since they used to not exist, I didn't know they had added a setting for them -- and being Apple, they have often enough offered no control over such a feature that it didn't occur to me to go looking. Still want to be able to turn notification center off while in apps, though, since it's almost never what I want, and I have at least some apps in which "drag something from near the top of the screen to somewhere else" was a thing.

Well, now you've gone and done it: You've pointed out that Apple's actually better about this than Canonical.

Re:Oh, great, exactly what I don't want... (3, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#42453295)

Exactly. I'm waiting for the day I forget to lock the screen, the phone slides around in my backpack and find I've accidentally bought a 1000 dildos through the Amazon Shopping Lens, with express shipping, or installed Windows Phone on the damn thing. :-)

More Choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42452483)

So Ubuntu is getting in the phone OS game too? Excellent. The more choices [slashdot.org] consumers have, the better.

Inspired by RIM's Playbook? (5, Informative)

alphax45 (675119) | about a year ago | (#42452497)

This sounds very similar to the way the current (OS 2.1) on the RIM Playbook works, not a bad thing as it works well.

Re:Inspired by RIM's Playbook? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42452703)

Agree, very similar to what RIM has been showing off. But very neat, overall. I love the gesture movement with all touch devices.

Re:Inspired by RIM's Playbook? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42453577)

Quick - someone fill me in on what's current about anything RIM makes.

Hopefully it'll be better than Ubuntu for PCs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42452503)

Can't imagine having to drop to a command line on the phone and having to run apt-get to fix whatever wasn't working with the latest release upgrade...

Re:Hopefully it'll be better than Ubuntu for PCs.. (3, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#42452715)

I used to do something like that to get decent functionality out of the SMS app on the iPhone.

That nonsense is why I defected to Android.

Dear Canonical, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42452513)

What do you think you are doing to Debian?

Re:Dear Canonical, (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42453005)

> What do you think you are doing to Debian?

Bathing it, shaving it, dragging it out of the cellar, exposing it to sunlight and getting girls to play with it.

*yawn* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42452523)

*yawn* Wake me up when they actually have a even a single OEM or carrier signed up. Last year they did the same thing with Ubuntu TV claiming it would be out by the end of last year before even signing anyone up. And as we can see, that prediction came about swimmingly. *rolls eyes*

Re:*yawn* (-1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#42452557)

come on

this is Ubuntu. the company that follows trends years after everyone get their piece of the market
the company whose products no one cares about

Hate the interface... (2)

IANAAC (692242) | about a year ago | (#42452541)

As soon as I saw the finger dragging along the left side of the screen to get to something, I thought "eh".

I liked other elements of it, but gad, the finger dragging from top to bottom. Don't like it.

Re:Hate the interface... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42452705)

Meego on the Nokia N9 uses this. Finger-drag top to bottom closes the app. But whenever the UI lags, you can't tell if your swipe registered or not. I'm not at all fond of the feature.

Re:Hate the interface... (2)

Darth Snowshoe (1434515) | about a year ago | (#42452855)

"A short swipe from the left edge of the screen is all it takes to reveal your favourite apps. Page either left or right from the home screen to see the content you use most. A full left-to-right swipe reveals a screen showing all your open apps, while a swipe from the right brings you instantly to the last app you were using. ... A swipe from the right edge takes you back to the last app you were using; another swipe takes you back to the app you used before that. It’s natural to keep many apps open at once, which is why Ubuntu was designed for multi-tasking. ... Swiping up from the bottom edge of the phone reveals app controls."

Gee I can't see why you don't find this immediately intuitive and convenient. /sarcasm

oh god no (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42452553)

No, please no. No more "innovation" from Canonical. Stick to screwing up Ubuntu.

What is the market for this? What manufacturer would jump from Android or even Windows Phone for this? What incentives do carriers have to add support for this? How is Ubuntu Phone OS going to gain consumer mindshare? How could they possibly build a developer community for this when developers already grumble about having to support Android as well, especially given that would-be Ubuntu phone users would be even more spending-averse than Android users.

There is just no viable business plan here. So, you know, business as usual for Canonical.

westlife and ubuntu fan here (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42452575)

I love it

Wow, how innovative (5, Funny)

pclminion (145572) | about a year ago | (#42452579)

Windows 8 has been such a mind blowing success that we just have to get that swiping stuff into Ubuntu. Apparently.

Unity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42452585)

I'm so glad Canonical fixed all the problems with Unity, and decided it was time to develop a mobile phone.

Good job listening to your users!

Re:Unity (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42452693)

When 'fix' is "everything new is bad, give me my terminal and old panels back", they should be ignored.

Re:Unity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42452833)

A new shit isn't auto better. You can call it a unity tootsie roll, but it's still just a unity shit

Re:Unity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42453065)

A "fix" would for example be to stop requiring users to install a new distribution just to update a single app.

Re:Unity (1)

Merk42 (1906718) | about a year ago | (#42453623)

Isn't that what PPAs are for? I agree not as elegant as it should be, but it's also irrelevant to Unity.

Re:Unity (3, Interesting)

bregmata (1749266) | about a year ago | (#42452785)

Canonical is dedicated to fixing problems in Unity to the point of having a dedicated team doing just that. Turns out, though, that making Unity work like a clone of Microsoft's Windows XP is just not in the cards, no matter how much Gnome2 used to try. Sorry.

Timed for Tegra 4's release (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42452587)

I can see myself getting one of these.. Kind of hoping to see a beta we can use.

Re:Timed for Tegra 4's release (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42452639)

Getting one of what? They don't even have a single OEM lined up to make a device using the OS. Sort of like how no manufacturer lined up, or has lined up yet, to put Ubuntu TV on their TVs.

ubuntu is a solid offering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42452613)

Worth more than many other operating systems.

"Web apps are first class citizens on..." (1)

CdBee (742846) | about a year ago | (#42452645)

I seem to recall that this is the phrasing the late Steve Jobs used during the keynote where he first displayed an iPhone.

While HTML5 has advanced a lot (and Apple certainly did their bit although they werent perhaps quite the driving force they would like to be thought of as) I'm still not entirely convinced. I use a lot of web apps, they improve constantly, but theres a lot to be said for local code running fully independently of connectivity.....

Re:"Web apps are first class citizens on..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42453037)

(My guess is the poster of the "weren't the driving force" comment probably posted it from an AppleWebKit user agent based browser...)

Re:"Web apps are first class citizens on..." (1)

CdBee (742846) | about a year ago | (#42453201)

yes, good point, I did.... (Chrome on Ubuntu) - although in defence I remember using Google Spreadsheets thru Firefox and it being good enough, before iOS was even announced.

Re:"Web apps are first class citizens on..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42453325)

Apple has consistently done all they can to break web apps on iOS. Each new release cripples or disables some feature.

When they decided that local storage can be erased when you close the app, because according to them "the spec doesn't say how long the persistent data should exist", was when we (at my place of employ) simply dropped iOS. What's the point of tracking things in a database if the database is deleted every time you close the app?

It's clear they don't want us developers delivering any sort of actual functionality outside of the app store.

We agonized a bit over the decision, looked at workarounds - mainly being packaging it in PhoneGap with a plugin to replace localstorage and websql (actually indexeddb now, but the websql backend lives on in the short term).

So much developer resources wasted trying to track down stupid problems, and figure out if it's a bug that can be worked around (after all, Apple's shit is full of those), or if this was another case of Steve Jobs trying to fuck over the entire ecosystem for their own benefit.

In the end, our clients all want apps for Android, Blackberry or Windows any how, so it didn't really matter.

Apple doesn't really matter, is the TL;DR. We won't even support Safari.

Re:"Web apps are first class citizens on..." (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about a year ago | (#42453733)

Well Sencha [sencha.com] seems to think HTML5 is already ready for prime time. [crackberry.com] Their fastbook (HTML5 implementation of Facebook) app looks pretty impressive.

I'm probably misinformed here... (4, Insightful)

sticks_us (150624) | about a year ago | (#42452721)

But I'm seeing two benefits:

1) If Canonical can get traction with the OEMs, maybe there will be more diversity in the type of hardware available. Might open up the "mobile OS hacking" subculture even further, allowing people to come up with novel, mobile GNU/Linux distributions.

2) Allowing devs to write/ship mobile applications in something other than ObjC (iOS) and Java (Android). I don't think it's possible or viable today, for example, to write a full Python mobile application and ship it. Sure, there are some pet projects out there that will, with some effort, let you kindasorta run things like Perl or Python on Android, but anything other than ObjC/Java are second-class citizens, currently.

Perhaps having Ubuntu begin to carve out even a little space here might help open the market a bit to more interesting and useful approaches to mobile operating systems?

I fart on Canonical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42452723)

They'll have to pry this Windows phone from my dead, cold hands.

Platforms... Lots of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42452727)

Like standards where there are many to choose from it looks like there will be a lot of phone platforms to choose from. Let's see, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Tizen, Ubuntu, and more. As a developer I really don't want this. Fortunately the market will shake these out. Short term of course it is a two horse game with iOS and Android. Longer term it may be different horses but there won't be all that many of them. They just won't each get a full on ecosystem with enough apps to attract enough consumer interest. Sort of like in the PC world where you have Windows and OSX. Everything else is pretty much rounding error. This will continue to be that way. Ha! The year of Ubuntu on the phone top!

Re:Platforms... Lots of them. (2, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#42453631)

The way I see it, it will come down to Android in favor of iOS unless Apple loosens up the control a bit.

Lately, I have observed many mobile phone users dumping their iPhones for Androids simply because they are able to do more of what they want and that the cost in terms of access to applications lost is between "0" and "negligible." What I mean by that is initially, the quality of iPhone apps was far greater than the quality of Android apps and that the frequency of exclusively iPhone apps was fairly high. This is changing. What's more, people are more enabled with Android than they are with iPhone. There are fewer limits, for example, on what a user can do with his Bluetooth interface under Android than under iOS. There are fewer limits on external display technologies and more as well.

Apple would choose to limit the release of each new idea so that it can be a "killer feature" of the next version of the iDevice. Other makers of great ideas aren't willing to wait for Apple to do it first and so they are heading straight for Android to implement. And the proof is everywhere. For example, before I even thought about it, car stereo makers are using Android to create car computers which do everything their phones and tablets do but in a car-context meaning they can integrate with OBD2, Bluetooth devices, controls on steering wheels, heads-up displays and more.

Innovators aren't willing to wait for Apple. And since Apple fans and Apple both agree all "real innovation" begins and ends with Apple, they will go the way they went in the personal and business computer market. The word is "niche."

And what happens when it's all Linux? Well, we will see a lot of cross-platform compatibility where apps will work with the intended OS/UI but also, compatibility layers, libraries and the like will also emerge. The most unobtrusive OS/UI will win out over those which impose their idea of how things should work on the user because that will have a rather direct impact on emulated/simulated compatibility with apps meant for other OS/UIs.

I'll just sit back and wait for blowback from Apple fans now. If you are an Apple fan, please don't quote to me who is the leader in the past or present. Don't tell me about who is the most profitable company in the history of the planet earth (though I think the east india trading company might actually have been better in its prime) Speak to me of what matters to people who are presently dumping iDevices in favor of others. I have to say, I have never heard of anyone dumping Android in favor of iDevice though I am sure it may have happened in the past, but certainly not recently.

D.O.A. !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42452743)

But then it won't get that far !! You have to birth before you can die !! Silly nerds !! Phones are for PROs !!

And I don't want to hear you cry-babies !!

Like Nokia N9 (3, Interesting)

lalleglad (39849) | about a year ago | (#42452801)

It looks in many ways like what I have on my Nokia N9 with MeeGo Harmattan. The Linux for mobiles that was doomed before it was finished.

The swipe functionality is really great and one reason I still love it, even though it does have its own set of problems, which is mostly because it didn't get the time to mature. When I for example sometimes have to for many seconds and up to minutes before something happens, doesn't make me a happy camper.

Another good part is the keyboard designs, which is very clear with the Japanese keyboard on the N9. Pres one key and swiping up, down, left or right gives you other options. Thereby you can have larger initial buttons, but with several options popping up, and when you learn the keyboard it is really fast for such a small screen/keyboard.

Again, the swipe functionality is a great way to interact with a touch screen device, and is a step in the right direction from just having pinch-to-zoom.

Re:Like Nokia N9 (2)

scorp1us (235526) | about a year ago | (#42453059)

It's got more than that. The Ubuntu phone SDK is QML, so the two phones share way more than a love of swipes.

I am a N9 owner and I love it, despite the rough edges, The Swipe based interface is a joy. I still use iOS and Android devices, and they feel clunky in comparison.

I'm really excited to see where Ubuntu takes this.

the one redeeming feature (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42452817)

TFA alludes to the idea that your phone becomes a full blown PC when you dock it. OK, so Ubuntu doesn't have a good track record with UI, and there is no reason to believe that this phone UI is any better than what they've done to the Linux desktop. But the idea of my phone being my computer is very appealing to me. I dock my phone at the office, and immediately get to use a full display, keyboard, mouse/trackpad, etc. Same thing when I take it home. It's a real Linux OS, with a CLI and everything if I want it. That is very appealing to me.

I definitely don't want this if the OS is owned by the cellular carrier. I want to install my own OS on a commodity phone, and I'm the root user on the system, not Sprint or Verizon or AT&T.

Re:the one redeeming feature (1)

ilikenwf (1139495) | about a year ago | (#42452869)

Yes, it's a nice concept, and you can do similar (without all the MMS, etc integration) with a chroot and VNC, though you'd need a PC to do it...

That said, I definitely don't want this if the OS is Ubuntu. Give me Debian, Archlinux, or the option to do it myself and install the integration applications separately.

Re:the one redeeming feature (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42453729)

Yes, it's a nice concept, and you can do similar (without all the MMS, etc integration) with a chroot and VNC, though you'd need a PC to do it...

Why would you need a PC??? On my HP Touchpad, N900, N810, and N800 (in reverse chronological order) I've been able to set up a Debian chroot and access it without trouble, no PC involved. Sure, if you have a silly-lockdown tablet/phone you might need a PC (or a non-lockdown tablet with USB host mode) to install cyanogenmod or such, but if you're already running an unlocked android, I can't see why you'd need one... or is Android really that much more crippled than I thought? I sure hope not, as the death of MeeGo/Maemo and WebOS has Android looking like the default winner for my next mobile.

Re:the one redeeming feature (1)

Knuckles (8964) | about a year ago | (#42453505)

TFA alludes to the idea that your phone becomes a full blown PC when you dock it. OK, so Ubuntu doesn't have a good track record with UI, and there is no reason to believe that this phone UI is any better than what they've done to the Linux desktop. But the idea of my phone being my computer is very appealing to me. I dock my phone at the office, and immediately get to use a full display, keyboard, mouse/trackpad, etc. Same thing when I take it home. It's a real Linux OS, with a CLI and everything if I want it. That is very appealing to me.

I definitely don't want this if the OS is owned by the cellular carrier. I want to install my own OS on a commodity phone, and I'm the root user on the system, not Sprint or Verizon or AT&T.

The thing about sprouting the Unity GUI für PC when an external monitor is connected was announced a year ago or so. Explained at http://www.ubuntu.com/devices/android [ubuntu.com] at the time of writing

Impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42452863)

I found the presentation impressive. A lot of work has gone into this concept and I suspect it may do well. That being said, the thing which stuck me the most about the presentation is that how Canonical thinks people use their phones and how I use my phone are completely different. The three primary tasks of my phone are: sending/receiving text messages, saving/storing contact information and making calls (verbal communication). I think it's telling none of the above are really touched on during the feature tour. There is a lot of talk about apps and search and settings, but really nothing about the features I personally would use.

I'm such a sucker. (1)

jabberwock (10206) | about a year ago | (#42452889)

... I thought that "Ubuntu Phone OS Unveiled" on /. ... leading to

"Ubuntu Now Fits on Your Phone"

... meant that I was going to encounter an actual operating system or some evidence that someone, somewhere, has this working. And by "working," I don't mean has an artist's mockup set up on a demo.

Very few people will use this, even if it ships (1)

DavidinAla (639952) | about a year ago | (#42452897)

It's amusing to me that some people seem to be taking this seriously. There's a good chance that it'll never ship, IMO, but even if it does, hardly anybody will use it. What an amazing waste of time and resources.

No one cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42452903)

Ubuntu, Canonical, Pottering et al are destroying the Linux ecosystem.

The sooner all of this odious nonsense dies a death, the better for everyone.

OMG (1)

drankr (2796221) | about a year ago | (#42452963)

So there's no phone? Dude don't be wasting your time on "keynotes". Start knocking on and groveling in front of 100 OEM doors and hope that 5 will give you the time of day and put this thing on 10 of their products and maybe you'll get a chance to scoop up 0.05% of Android's market share... oh the humanity.

Mockups with Galaxy Nexus? (2)

rjzak (159949) | about a year ago | (#42453027)

The website shows what I assume are mockups of Ubuntu's mobile OS running on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. I do hope they'll release some images, I'd reflash my Galaxy Nexus and take Ubuntu Mobile for a spin if I could.

windows 8 (4, Informative)

dirtyhippie (259852) | about a year ago | (#42453049)

In the video, shuttleworth goes on about how ubuntu is this revolutionary way to have the same software on your phone and desktop. Umm, did he miss the memo about windows 8? I mean I know Windows 8 sucks and all, but ignoring the big gorilla in the room just makes him seem out of touch.

Re:windows 8 (4, Insightful)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about a year ago | (#42453335)

Windows 8 won't have the same apps on your phone as on your desktop. It'll have whatever apps software companies decide to port across to Windows 8 for ARM. It's just like Windows CE in that respect, so you'll end up with cut-down "Express" versions of a few of Microsoft's own programs, a few custom-written things for parcel delivery van drivers, and 200 different Sudoku games with varying amounts of malware.

At least with Linux you stand some chance of being able to port apps to a mobile platform, because the source is available.

Re:windows 8 (3, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#42453347)

In the video, Shuttleworth goes on about how Ubuntu is this revolutionary way to have the same software on your phone and desktop. Umm, did he miss the memo about windows 8? I mean I know Windows 8 sucks and all, but ignoring the big gorilla in the room just makes him seem out of touch.

You have to do a full left-to-right swipe on Mark to get him to see all the active operating systems.

Amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42453053)

But will one of the features include uploading my usage metrics to Amazon?

Cool More Fragmentation for Linux (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42453075)

Android is Fine, stop this shit!

Re:Cool More Fragmentation for Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42453237)

I really wouldn't mind if this led to a common kernel. There are some Android apps that I'd like on my desktop.

Re:Cool More Fragmentation for Linux (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | about a year ago | (#42453585)

Wouldn't it be more about having the common userland, and a suitable way to interact with apps designed for touch-based UIs. Without the latter, one may as well be trying to control Excel from a Nintendo game pad.

Nothing new here (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year ago | (#42453235)

This looks a lot like what the guys at Jolla are doing, which is based of the N9/MeeGo.
WebOS algo had a bit of this as well, although only on one edge.

Looks like it took a couple of years before everyone started becoming interested in edge-swiping, but this isn't new at all. I've been using compiz with move-mouse-to-corner-X-to-do-Y for plenty of years, yet people still prefer using using a taskbar instead of proper window switching.

Thanks, ill pass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42453285)

Unity, Amazon. 'nuff said.

Patent Infringement Avoidance Strategy (3, Interesting)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#42453483)

Looking at their approach here something occurs to me: the ui is almost self-consciously different from iOS. The layout of Android's ui has many parallels with iOS and partly for this reason Android phone makers are haunted by the ghost of Steve Jobs' lawyers. Of course, many of those elements are perfectly obvious to any ui designer working when smart phones were taking off (e.g. let's put icons in a grid pattern). Looking at this Ubuntu phone ui, especially some of the stranger elements of it, I can't help but wonder whether the design is different for the sake of being different, i.e. different for the sake of being competitive in a world where superficial resemblance can have a product banned from import. Were I a smartphone manufacturer, knowing all Samsung et al. have gone through with Android, an OS which had a very different ui (with, et al., no slide to unlock, a different approach to gestures, and no home button requirement) might be worth careful consideration for those reasons alone.

Oh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42453513)

Oh goodness what would the world do without Mark Shuttleworth and his following of ubuntards!

Is it open source - Can I try it on my own phone? (2)

mrpacmanjel (38218) | about a year ago | (#42453551)

If the answer is "no" to both these questions then this whole concept is going to fail.

I have an android phone - I can install chroot ubuntu but no GPU support means it's limited.

If the source code is open source it means we can install it on existing devices or ideally run in parallel with ICS or Jellybean.

If they only going to release the Ubuntu Phone OS with hardware (e.g. "..9 to 12 months time..") then this will go the same way as WebOS.

They are going to build some kind of traction with the community first.

where is "Ubuntu for Android"??? (1)

FunkyELF (609131) | about a year ago | (#42453619)

...It is just one tab over from "Ubuntu for phones"
They're talking about being open, yet they haven't released "Ubuntu for phones" in any product or any source.

Ubuntu for phones would be great 5 years ago, but there are already too many Android apps / games out there the people will want.

I don't want Ubuntu for phones, I want it for Android like they advertised a year ago.

Perhaps these two ideas will merge at some point. People will want to run Android applications.

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