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Ubuntu mobile to be tested on Nexus phones the 21st February

Sites include . Published on February 17th, 2013. Written by Loic Cobbina.

Rumors about a Ubuntu based phone started around the end of last year. The phone itself was spotted on a YouTube video released by Canonical and appeared for the first time at CES 2013. As the date of its final release is getting close Canonical has decided to make it available by the 21st February for any interested developer to have the chance to play around it and even try it on a Nexus phone, either a Galaxy Nexus or a Nexus 4.

The build is going to be available to install at the MWC where Canonical will be flashing it on the compatible hardware you bring. This is a move that the company is taking to make sure that the first Ubuntu mobile enthusiasts familiarize themselves with the build. Canonical is also making available a preview SDK, templates and an “app design guide” that will enable the developers to have a better idea of the process that it takes to build something for mobile version of Ubuntu.

It is kind of weird but in the first instance, any developer that might be interested in building something for this new mobile environment will first have to get used to a slightly different distribution that is not necessarily going to be the final version. It has already been confirmed by Canonical that the Ubuntu phones will be released in the market without a centralized app store like its desktop counterpart. Richard Collins, the product manager of Canonical, explained in an interview with Engadget, that the company is trying to win a market segment in which the users main interest is to use core set of applications instead of having to pick and choose from a storefront loaded with many of them.

This may seems like a crazy omission for the Ubuntu mobile platform, considering the fact that it’s been pegged with potential in markets. The decision to omit a centralized app store is partially due to the way the Ubuntu application are meant to function. Canonical is trying to come up with an ultimate phone that can be used in all circumstances. The hope is to design a phone for which the applications can not only run on a phone but also on a PC, television and even tablets PCs.

This means any developer that will want to have his app on the phone will have to come up with something that enables an all-in-one experience for the user who should be able to work across the different devices mentioned above. Even an experienced designer and programmer will have a difficult time making it happen.

The fact is Canonical is really aiming high. The company knows what it can potentially gain if it should succeed with its plan. In terms of stickiness, it is going to be a win. This sort of strategy where one app should be adopted by every user implies that developers will have no choice but design something for Ubuntu phones apps that will follow users as they move from a device to another. That can the seen as the one argument that is going to convince the average user to switch to Ubuntu once and for all.

This won’t happen overnight and it will take some hard work to make this dream become a reality. That is exactly why Canonical is giving the app development world a lead time to allow it to get ready before the day where the beast is going to released in the wild.

When it comes to hardware it is believed that the ubuntu phone is going to be a mid-range phone with a 1Ghz Cortex A9 processor and 512 MB memory. Mind you this is just the bare mininum but one can go for a high-end Ubuntu superphone with a Quad-core A9 or Intel Atom processors and a 1GB memory. Of course they will all come with an SD card slot to expand the internal storage capacity.

User of the Ubuntu desktop are probably going to love it as it reflects a lot of similarity. The navigation definitely reminds of the Gnome version on the desktop even though the phone version seems much smoother. Canonical is really doing its best to give its users a flawless experience of the phone distribution and many believe it is going to shake up the market. So far it is still Apple and Android that are dominating the smart phone world. By the end of this year we will see how Ubuntu phone is going to change things.

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