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Last year when Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth said Ubuntu will be “all about mobile” in 2013, he clearly wasn’t kidding. It only took until January 8 for Ubuntu to put in an appearance on actual mobile hardware, and we went hands-on. Then Canonical came out and asked the community to build 12 core Ubuntu Phone apps, and that was all before the end of January.
Seven days into February and we’ve now got a launch window for the first round of Ubuntu phones. If Mark Shuttleworth is true to his word, you’ll be able to go out and purchase an Ubuntu smartphone in October. He won’t say specifically where they will be available beyond “two large geographic markets.”
Before the end of this month developers will be able to get their hands on a development version of Ubuntu for mobile that’s optimized to run on a Galaxy Nexus handset. They’ll then have seven months in which to perfect both the core operating system and any apps that will be available for launch, including those 12 core apps Canonical wants included.
Shuttleworth isn’t just aiming Ubuntu phones at consumers who want a different experience to iOS/Android/Windows Phone, though. Canonical is thinking much bigger than that and wants Ubuntu used in the business world, too. With that in mind, we can expect to see Ubuntu smartphones capable of streaming Windows apps from a server, as well as supporting connection to larger displays and peripherals to form an alternative to using a desktop PC.
Getting businesses to embrace yet another mobile OS is going to be tough, but the idea that you only need a smartphone to act as both a mobile device and a desktop PC replacement may prove too tempting to ignore. The cost savings at the corporate scale could be enormous.