Ubuntu Touch: The next popular mobile OS?

Right now, there’s a two-way race between Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android for dominance of the mobile market. But that could change with some brand new mobile operating systems planned for the near future – including the upcoming Ubuntu Touch. 

A few new mobile OSs have been unveiled recently and could be due this year. Two of the most prominent examples are Samsung’s Tizen OS, which is set to be released in August, and Firefox OS, whose creator, Mozilla, has been aggressively trying to lure developers to the platform.

However, based on early reports, the most promising mobile OS — and the one most likely to challenge Google and Apple — is Canonical’s Ubuntu Touch.

The developer of the most popular Linux distribution first announced Ubuntu Touch, a version of the OS for smartphones and tablets, in January and released a developer preview the following month.

Among the mobile OSs displayed at the recent Mobile World Congress conference, CNET named Ubuntu Touch the clear winner.

Will your users work on Ubuntu Touch devices?

The approach Canonical is taking seems to be similar to what Microsoft has tried with Windows 8 — one operating system that can be run, with the same applications, on multiple types of devices.

However, Ubuntu Touch adds a noteworthy feature: Mobile devices running the OS can be docked to a desktop or laptop computer and use the machine as a thin client to run the mobile OS in a full-sized environment.

The OS has also been praised for its overall design, which emphasizes gesture-based controls while decreasing the need for buttons and allowing more screen real estate to be used for apps. In contrast, CNET reviewers reported that Firefox OS and Tizen seemed more like poorly made Android imitations.

It’s too early to tell how the upcoming mobile OS will be, but the platform could find a place in the corporate world, especially as more companies turn to Linux for their other computing needs.

When will mobile devices running Ubuntu Touch be available? Canonically has named October 2013 as the expected time for the launch, though the Australia-based organization hasn’t made it clear where the phones will be released first.

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