Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu platform, presented a tablet interface in what it described as “the next step towards one unified family of experiences for personal computing on phones, tablets, PCs and TVs”.
A version of Ubuntu targeting smartphones was announced earlier this year, with a developer build released this week. The Touch Developer Preview can run on Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets, as well as the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 smartphones.
The company said that “uniquely,” the OS allows a phone app on the screen at the same time as a tablet app, “both to enable efficient multitasking and to improve the usability of phone apps on tablets”. It also allows multiple accounts on one tablet with full encryption for personal data, “combined with the trusted Ubuntu security model that is widely used in banks, governments and sensitive environments.”
The platform also sees screen edges used for navigation between apps, settings and controls, making for “less clutter, more content, and sleeker hardware”. It also said that media is “neatly presented on the customisable home screen”, which is “perfect for carriers and content owners that want to highlight their own content, while still providing access to a global catalogue”.
The tablet interface supports screen sizes from 6-inches to 20-inches and resolutions from 100 to 450 pixels-per-inch.
“Not only do we integrate phone apps in a distinctive way, we shift from tablet to PC very smoothly in convergence devices,” said Oren Horey, lead designer for the Ubuntu tablet experience.
The Ubuntu Preview SDK, which currently supports phone app development, will be updated to support tablet apps as well.