IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Ubuntu smartphone OS: Does it have viable business use?

We take a look at the Ubuntu smartphone OS, which will be available for Nexus handsets, and ask if it has the potential to be used in the business environment.

Canonical has unveiled plans to launch an Ubuntu smartphone OS. But in a world dominated by Android, iOS and Windows Phone 8, will it be able to offer the functionality that users are accustom to?

We take a look at some of the key features of the operating system, which will be based on the Linux kernel.

Why use Ubuntu on a smartphone?

According to Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical, the firm expects smartphones running Ubuntu to be popular in the enterprise market. The vision is that businesses will be able to provision employees with a single smartphone that will also be able to dock and be used as a PC. Canonical claims the thin-client capabilities will allow users to access legacy applications on Ubuntu, such as the Microsoft Office suite.

Ubuntu smartphone docked

It's an interesting concept, but with businesses increasingly setting up BYOD policies and many employees opting for Android or iOS devices, Ubuntu is not going to be an overnight sensation.

Installation

Upon launch the OS is only likely to be used by developers and enthusiasts who have multiple devices to hand.

As Canonical is yet to partner up with an OEM to release an official device, the firm will make the Ubuntu OS available to download. Initially, users will require an Android device to run the OS in the form of the Galaxy Nexus.

This may seem ideal for those who want to take the OS for a test run, but there is a major sticking point at this time. The Ubuntu OS will lack dual-booting functionality so installing it will wipe Android from the device, including apps.

Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu and VP of products at Canonical told IT Pro that a dual-booting functionality "was not a priority" and hopes this will be something the developer community will address.

Code for use on other devices is also be expected to be made available. The minimum specifications to use the OS will be as follows:

Ubuntu specs

Apps

There will be just five native applications available at launch - but the Ubuntu OS will also work with web-apps. Shuttleworth told IT Pro that using an emulator to port over Android apps would send the wrong message to developers. He also noted that no operating system would flourish using apps from another source. Although he has a point, the lack of apps still a major weakness.

Featured Resources

The 3D skills report

Add 3D skills to your creative toolkits and play a sizeable role in the digital future

Free Download

The increasing need for environmental intelligence solutions

How sustainability has become a major business priority and is continuing to grow in importance

Free Download

2022 State of the multi-cloud report

What are the biggest multi-cloud motivations for decision-makers, and what are the leading challenges

Free Download

Solve global challenges with machine learning

Tackling our word's hardest problems with ML

Free Download

Recommended

Dell’s XPS 13 Plus becomes first Ubuntu 22.04-ready laptop
operating systems

Dell’s XPS 13 Plus becomes first Ubuntu 22.04-ready laptop

21 Jul 2022

Most Popular

Dutch hacker steals data from virtually entire population of Austria
data breaches

Dutch hacker steals data from virtually entire population of Austria

26 Jan 2023
European partners expect growth this year, here are three ways they will achieve it
Sponsored

European partners expect growth this year, here are three ways they will achieve it

17 Jan 2023
GTA V vulnerability exposes PC users to partial remote code execution attacks
vulnerability

GTA V vulnerability exposes PC users to partial remote code execution attacks

23 Jan 2023