ZDNet is reporting that Canonical is intending to make the next release of Ubuntu, 12.04, a LTS (Long Term Support) release with intention of then expanding Ubuntu beyond desktops and laptops into smartphones, tablets and smart TVs, with a target of 2014 for an all-platform release.
Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, in an interview said, “This is a natural expansion of our idea as Ubuntu as Linux for human beings. As people have moved from desktop to new form factors for computing, it’s important for us to reach out to out community on these platforms. So, we’ll embrace the challenge of how to use Ubuntu on smartphones, tablets and smart-screens.” The full announcement is expected at the Ubuntu Developer Summit, which starts tomorrow and runs for a week in Orlando, Florida.
Having already been in discussions with partners for around 18 months, it seems that this is more than wishful thinking, but one can’t help feel that the whole Palm-HP-WebOS debacle bodes badly for any company wanting to get in on the smartphone and tablet space. If HP can’t make it happen with a solid OS and Zen of Palm, what hope has Canonical? When quizzed about this, Shuttleworth said that he saw “Android as its primary competitor…..We’ve also already heard from people who are already shipping tablets that they want Ubuntu on the tablet.” And of course, “Ubuntu already has a developer and customer base.”
While there’s no doubt that the mobile space is still maturing and there’s plenty of change still to come, I have a hard time seeing Ubuntu on anything but a small niche of tablets and an even smaller niche of smartphones. iOS and Android have their foothold and Microsoft will be a solid third if Windows Phone 7 continues to deliver and Windows 8 delivers as expected. A fourth player is going to have difficulty making inroads, especially one as relatively unknown as Canonical and Ubuntu.
Smart TVs are a more plausible destination as the internal software is of less concern to the consumer. Most people buying a TV are looking at the exterior brand such as Sony, Samsung or LG, and not what’s inside, although this may change if a “Powered by Roku” or “Google TV inside” campaign runs. Plenty of change to come in this space too.
I wish Ubuntu every success.
A few days ago we received the sad news that HP was discontinuing webOS devices. The only good news out of that was for gadget lovers – HP has slashed prices on the recently released TouchPad (it’s already out-of-stock at Walmart online). The bad news for HP, beyond the bad press and bad stock prices, was that Microsoft leaped on the news and immediately began recruiting webOS developers for their Windows Phone platform.
Microsoft’s Brandon Walsh reached out to webOS developers on Twitter, and began the process of bringing them over to Windows Phone. He even went so far as to offer free phones and other tools. At last check, he had received more than 200 replies.
While HP has killed off the hardware-making side of their webOS business, they are hoping to keep the software alive by licensing it to third-party hardware makers, as Google does with Android. That means HP needs to keep these developers on board. That will be difficult with no agreements in place yet to ensure the OS’s future. Still, they are trying their best to maintain ties – see their blog post The Next Chapter for webOS.
Given the current state, it will be hard for HP to hold onto these developers, and given what they have already done, it’s hard to imagine that they wouldn’t pull the plug on the software side of webOS at any moment. This has been a short ride for HP and webOS, and I can’t help but think that they didn’t give it it’s deserved time and effort. Consider it a premature death.
Mobile data usage has been rising for quite some time now. But, with the release of the latest Nielsen report on cell phones, there’s some interesting data. The fastest rise is Windows Phone 7, which has shot up 89% since it’s launch. As of the November launch (4th Quarter 2010) data usage was at 149 MB, but now, as of the first quarter 2011 (March 2011), data usage has climbed from to 317 MB.
While it is the fastest riser of this time period, WP7 still lags far behind iPhone and the industry-leading Android. iPhone has risen steadily to 492 MB, while Android has risen to 582 MB. By contrast, RIM’s Blackberry OS has flat-lined and Windows Mobile, which is now on life support, has slowly trailed off. Web OS unfortunately did not garner a mention in the report.
This seems to indicate that the field is narrowing to a 3 platform race between iOS, Android, and WP7. While Blackberry remains popular with corporate customers they are falling behind overall, despite their recent efforts.
So what are all of you using, and why? What do you like and dislike about your mobile OS? Which mobile OS do you think will come out on top in the future? Give us your thoughts in the comments.
Microsoft made some big announcements today at the E3 gaming show, most surrounding the Xbox, but a few involved Xbox Live in Windows Phone. However the bigger, or at least more interesting, Windows Phone news came from Microsoft Vice President of Windows Phone Joe Belfiore, via his Twitter account.
Today an Apple fan got excited about the fact the volume up button can be used to take a picture. Mr. Belfiore responded, good-naturedly, that Windows Phone can do a good bit more. It was a rare bit of humor from Redmond, which tends to stick to the policy of ignoring Apple completely (while sometimes borrowing an idea).
Perhaps the Windows Phone team has some reasons to be happy. After all, they are definitely on the rise, while Apple may be running a bit low on new ideas as they have slipped behind Android and are looking over their shoulder at Windows Phone. Today’s announcements didn’t break any new ground, but seemed more like playing catch-up.
Make no mistake though, Apple can never be counted out and may have something huge brewing that hasn’t yet made it into the rumor mill. But, at least for one day, it seems Microsoft may have a leg up.
It was a bit of a surprise when Microsoft didn’t have a problem with developer Chris Walsh’s ChevronWP7 to “fix” NoDo installs that weren’t working, even inviting him to visit their headquarters. It now comes as less of a surprise that Microsoft is endorsing Walsh’s latest tool, especially since it helps to get those “hacked” phones back on the official update path.
The new tool, called “Walshed Phone Support Tool” solves the issue behind the “80180048″ error code in the Zune app, and an equivalent one in the Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac app, that has prevented the upgrade from even starting.
The ChevronWP7 tool was used by Windows Phone 7 users who wanted to receive the NoDo update before it became available. The patch was delayed several times due to a variety of issues. Unfortunately, ChevronWP7, while working flawlessly, rendered devices as “unofficial” and not eligible for future updates. The new “Walshed” tool will fix that and put those devices back on the right track. So, Microsoft’s endorsement of both has become a win-win for them.
Perhaps the next platform update, known currently as “Mango” will go much smoother. Given that this was their first update I can grant some slack, but if they want to make a real dent in the mobile market they will need to get it together.
Anand Iyer and Chris Bergstrom of Welldoc, Inc. (www.welldocinc.com) present Welldoc Coaching Software for phones that helps patients with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes report their ongoing self-monitoring statistics and other relevant data to their physicians, thus helping the patient remain in compliance to their medical treatment program with an eye towards better patient outcomes.
Interview by Jeffrey Powers of The Geekazine Podcast and Tom Newman of The Fogview Podcast.
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Tomorrow the first Windows Phone 7 devices will hit the US market on AT&T and T-Mobile. And I am very curious to see the reception. Will there be lines? Will there be shortages of one or more of the devices? What will the general public think of it?
Windows Phone 7 ads blanketed today’s football coverage. They were running a couple of times per hour per game. That was when I got my first clue as to what may happen tomorrow. My 14 year old daughter looked at the ad and said “I want one of those.” And honestly the ad is catchy and amusing and the shots of the phone interface are compelling.
Will enough people feel the way my daughter did? I think they will. I think we may see lines tomorrow for a Windows product! When did that last happen? Windows 95? Okay, Xbox if you count all Microsoft products.
Will this help Zune? The platform will get a huge boost, but I don’t think it will help the Zune device itself much. At least not initially, but there may be a long term boost.
Which phone will be the early hit? From everything I am seeing and hearing that seems to be an easy question to answer. The Samsung Focus will be the big hit. The least popular? At the moment that seems to belong to the HTC Surround, which is a rather strange device with pop-out “surround sound” speakers that don’t entirely work as advertised.
From everything I see now I think this will be a hit, but with a few complaints along the way about some lacking capabilities. I also think the market is big enough, and still growing enough, to accommodate another OS. The bad news isn’t for Microsoft because they are late to the show, but for RIM and Nokia. This could put both of them into serious trouble. Nokia still has a commanding lead worldwide, but they have been slipping for awhile and show no signs of getting things together. Blackberry also seems lost in this new era of smartphones and Windows Phone 7 could really eat into RIM’s business market.
I tried to get a review unit, but Microsoft’s PR firm only took my name, phone number, and email address and never contacted me again so I am as anxious for tomorrow as everyone else. And, my contract is almost up so I am in the market…