Ubuntu For Android: Do We Really Need it?

Posted by jun auza On 2/28/2012
After Canonical’s decision to venture into the TV and mobile market, another surprising -- or rather shocking to some news started circulating on the Internet. Ubuntu for Android, Shuttleworth’s latest endeavor at wowing non-Ubuntu users was unveiled. Mainly aimed at corporate customers and mobility freaks, this desktop-in-a-phone marvel allows you to use your Android smartphone as a full-fledged desktop.

So, in short, you simply walk in to your office empty-handed, plug-in your smartphone to a sleek-looking dock, and fire up an Internet-capable desktop running your favorite operating system. Though, as a concept, this sounds really brilliant, it really depends much on how the whole product is brought in the market. Also, as the needs of the desktop consumers are more inclined towards anything that’s made by Apple and Microsoft, it’s really hard, at this point in time to predict whether the project will be a success or a failure. The main question, however, still lingers around: Do we really need it?


The target audience

Ubuntu for Android is, quite surprisingly, aimed at corporate customers and people who want to have a complete desktop experience at their disposal wherever they go. The desktop will be the verily familiar Ubuntu along with some added functionality like unified contacts, calendar coordination, call/SMS management and more. Now, of course, simply plugging in your Android smartphone and being welcomed with a shiny yet familiar desktop does feel like magic; however, the technology driving it is pretty simple. Ubuntu will leverage the high-end dual-core capabilities your Droid and bring you -- well, hopefully -- an innovative desktop experience.

Though all seems perfect on paper, there are a few caveats here and there. Agreed that Android is the dominating champion as far as mobile devices are concerned, also agreed that Android is the closest potential ally to Linux enthusiasts. However, when it comes to the target audience, the product only reaches a select set of customers. That is, only the high-end Android users will be able to benefit from this novelty. Also, only the phones that have docking capability and hardware support for HDMI and USB will work with Ubuntu. So, even though it’s our omnipresent Android that’s been used here, it’s only the select few models that would work with Shuttleworth’s idea.


Is it necessary?

Now, another question that seems to be lingering in every consumer’s mind is that, is it necessary? Do I really need to buy it? Oh, okay, it’s the beloved Ubuntu we’re talking about, but can’t I just install Ubuntu on my work computer and have everything synced using Dropbox and UbuntuOne?


Will people buy it?

There’s no point in guessing whether people will buy it or not. One reason why people may buy it is because it will help them have a personalized computer anywhere they go. Also, people who are already using Ubuntu or are die-hard Ubuntu fans will love to have this novelty at their home.

That, however, doesn't imply that everyone will buy this device. There are folks who prefer syncing everything with Dropbox and they might not need it. Also, there’s the generic excuse of needing Windows or Mac to run a particular application that isn't yet available on Linux. The pros and cons are aplenty; it really depends on how the market will respond to such a product.

Also, the success of Ubuntu on Android rests on the very fact that the product must be as stable and as usable as possible. The corporate crowd won’t tolerate a half-baked product like Unity in Natty, they’d want something that would be worth their every penny. So, Mr Shuttleworth, if you’re reading this, please make it as stable as possible.

Finally, it also boils down to the price. From the looks of it, the product will be targeted at high-end consumers; thus, the pricing may be a tad higher than we’d expect. But let’s hope that it’s not so high that it would be inaccessible to Ubuntu fanboys like us.


Will you buy it?

So, are you all excited about Ubuntu on Android? Will you be buying one for your Droid when it comes out? Leave your responses in the comments section.

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