Canonical Unveils Deeply Integrated Ubuntu For Android, Mixes Phones With Desktops

Brad Chacos

As smartphones grow more and more powerful, they've come to resemble miniature computers more than the rotary phones of our past. In fact, smartphones and tablets are becoming so powerful that some analysts have posited that we're moving into a post-PC world. Maximum PC's response? Post PC my ass -- but that's a lot harder to say in the wake of the new Ubuntu distro for Android devices. When you're squawking, it's a normal Android phone, but the second you connect the phone to a monitor and keyboard -- BAM! -- you're greeted by a full Ubuntu desktop experience.

This ain't no namby-pamby slap-dash conversion, either; Android and Ubuntu run side-by-side and share the same address book, calendar, settings, photos and social media passwords to make the whole thing seamless. You'll be able to make calls and texts while using the Ubuntu desktop, too. The magic happens because Android and Ubuntu for Android use the same kernel.

It's a really intriguing concept, but be forewarned: you'll need a pretty beefy phone to pull it off, plus the aforementioned monitor and keyboard. Here are the phone requirements:

  • Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) or higher
  • Dual-core 1GHz CPU or higher (multi-cores required)
  • Video acceleration: shared kernel driver with associated X driver; Open GL, ES/EGL
  • 2GB storage for the OS disk image
  • 512 MB RAM
  • HDMI video out with secondary frame buffer device
  • USB host mode

Canonical plans on showing off Ubuntu for Android at Mobile World Conference next week; hopefully, we'll get more details then. In the meantime, here's the list of specs and features . The OS is only available to OEMs at the moment, alas.

Does Ubuntu for Android get you jazzed, or do you consider it another unwanted attempt to blur the line between PC and smartphone? No matter what, it's a nifty out-of-the-box idea.

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