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Ubuntu set to move to mobile phones


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Steve Costello

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Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu operating system, announced the platform will be made available for mobile phones, describing this as “our most important ever product”.

It said it is “ready to start working with partners with an aim to releasing phones before the end of 2013”, although it did not name any vendors it is set to work with.

The company will demonstrate Ubuntu for phones at the 2013 CES event next week, and it will also be showcased at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in February.

Canonical said that when it began developing its Unity interface “a few years ago” the intention was to create a single family that work the same way on different devices.

This means that “unlike most of our rivals, we are able to use a single underlying OS across all the devices which people use, be they PCs, phones or any other device”.

According to Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical: “We expect Ubuntu to be popular in the enterprise market, enabling customers to provision a single secure device for all PC, thin client and phone functions. Ubuntu is already the most widely used Linux enterprise desktop, with customers in a wide range of sectors focused on security, cost and manageability.”

Canonical also said it sees an opening for Ubuntu in “basic smartphones that are used for the phone, SMS, web and email, where Ubuntu outperforms thanks to its native core apps and stylish presentation”.

Ubuntu for phones is said to offer customisation options for partner apps, content and services, enabling operators and device makers to differentiate devices, and also supports Canonical’s Ubuntu One cloud service.

The company said that for handset makers already offering Android smartphones, the work needed to support Ubuntu will be “trivial”.

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