Canonical has reveiled some pretty big aspirations so far at CES 2012. They have already announced Ubuntu TV. Is an Ubuntu tablet in the works as well?
InfoWorld was able to get a one-on-one interview with CEO Jane Silber to discuss Canonical’s upcoming plans for Ubuntu.
Right out of the gate InfoWorld asked Jane Silber Canonical’s goals for Ubuntu as client distro, the server distro, the smartphone distro, and tablet distro. She responded:
On the client side, it’s about moving from the desktop to other form factors. So tablet, TV, and at some point down in the future probably phone, but that’s a bit off. And success, there is commercial success in terms of device manufacturers wanting to ship Ubuntu and its user base, its user adoption. There is a real demand for an alternative platform. We believe Ubuntu has all the characteristics that are needed to become that platform.
Jane Silber went on to say there are no Ubuntu tablets currently but they are in talks with hardware manufacturers. We should expect an announcement this year. Like most of us, we are wondering if Canonical will be able to compete with the already crowded tablet marketplace, which includes the likes of Google and Apple. Silber responded:
[I think we can compete] …because of characteristics of Ubuntu as a platform, industry dynamics, and an increased wariness around the walled gardens of Apple and to some extent Google and even Amazon, as they are increasingly in this game as well. There is a demand for a platform that has characteristics that Ubuntu meets. The characteristics in my mind that are important are openness, and by openness I don’t just mean open source code, I mean the governance structure, the ability to collaborate, the ability for there to be multiple devices from multiple vendors.
You can check out the full interview here.
As much as I personally would love to see an Ubuntu tablet, I have my doubts. I am worried they will be made by a no name manufacturer so they won’t run well, they will be very expensive like the Ekoore Ubuntu tablets to overcompensate for the low demand, and lastly that they won’t have any real purpose (It would be hard to run Ubuntu desktop apps on a tablet). A good idea would be for Canonical to partner with Asus to make Ubuntu tablets. Ubuntu could have their own version of the Transformer tablet. The tablet would dual boot Ubuntu and Android and, like the Transformer, have an option keyboard dock. The keyboard dock could be used when booted into Ubuntu.
I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Is Ubuntu outside of the desktop environment doomed to fail? Would you like an Ubuntu tablet/TV/etc? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.