Canonical and BQ unveiled an Ubuntu-powered tablet which is described as “the first fully-converged Ubuntu device”.
Shipping with the latest Ubuntu software, it is “capable of providing both a true tablet experience and the full Ubuntu desktop experience”.
Noting that the tablet market is undergoing a transition, Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical, said: “The fact that it’s a tablet isn’t the most interesting thing about this product. The thing that is most interesting here is the notion of convergence and the opportunities that this opens up.”
The example given was of a commuter using the device in tablet mode, where it supports content and services through the “scopes” concept introduced with Ubuntu Phone – Canonical said that “hundreds of apps and scopes are already available in the Ubuntu App Store”. By adding a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard at the office, it then becomes “a full Ubuntu PC”.
Silber noted that while Microsoft is looking to offer device convergence through its Windows 10/Windows 10 Mobile platforms and Continuum, it has not unified the underlying platform. Likewise, while Apple is targeting enterprises with iPad Pro, this is powered by its iOS device platform rather than OS X.
Noting that the computing giants’ moves offer “some validation of the vision of convergence that we have been laying out for several years”, she continued: “We’re taking the view that you also want to converge that underlying platform, through that platform convergence, you gain the advantages of reduced costs, greater manageability, and in the enterprise scenario improved maintenance and systems management.”
Silber also said that smartphones offering the same capabilities as the tablet are in the works. “What we are providing through Ubuntu is a software stack that no matter what the original form factor it ships on, can adapt to those different scenarios,” she said.
BQ, maker of the new tablet, is already a partner for Ubuntu-powered smartphones.
The tablet, Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition, is powered by a 1.5GHz quadcore MediaTek processor, has a 10.1-inch screen, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage with microSD expansion slot.
It will be available from Q2 2016 via BQ’s online store. Pricing details have not been confirmed.