At MWC 2013, we managed to stumble upon Ubuntu’s booth where they are showcasing their OS on both mobile and tablet devices. Both platforms are being demoed on Nexus devices such as the Nexus 10, Nexus 4 and even the previous Galaxy Nexus. For starters, the Ubuntu runs purely on gestures and there’s no physical/capacitive buttons at the front. All you need to move around Ubuntu is just a single finger swipe from all corners.
For example, swiping from the left most edge brings up the app listing and if you continue to swipe all the way to the centre, it brings back the home screen. Swiping from the right toggles your running apps or brings up a side-by-side app on the tablet platform. To access the menu/options, all you’ll need to do is swipe from the bottom to bring up the basic menu. For more advance options, you would need to swipe from the bottom until the centre of the screen. Getting into the settings is pretty interesting as this is accessed by swiping from the top right corner. To toggle between settings menu, you’ll just need to move your finger slightly to the left/right after you’ve swiped down the settings option. You can get a better idea on how the gesture works in our hands-on video after the break. In terms of apps, there will be native ubuntu apps as well as HTML 5 web-based ones.
So far Ubuntu for tablets and phones are still in developer release so it isn’t ready for prime time yet. Some of the apps are not fully functional but are mere mocks just to illustrate how it would possibly work. The key difference between tablets and phones is that the tablet version is optimised for multiple users and it has a bigger display real estate to show side by side apps, subject to app type. Ubuntu for mobile and tablet devices are expected to be commercially available by end 2013 with their own hardwares. We are liking the user experience and hopefully they will be a serious mobile OS contender next year with a variety of apps.
Head after the break for the quick hands-on video and photos.