Ubuntu for Android: This, ladies and gentlemen, is the future of computing

Chances are there’s a smartphone in your pocket right now that has a fast processor, at least half a gigabyte of RAM, and it’s connected to your operator’s wireless network. So why isn’t that device your one and only computer? Simple really, the screen is too small and you can’t bang out long emails with just your thumbs. But what if you could connect your smartphone to a large display, wireless keyboard, and a wireless mouse? This isn’t the first time someone has suggested this. Nokia was a pioneer when it comes to this kind of thinking. The N95, which came out months before the first iPhone, had the ability to connect to a television, though the interface you were presented with wasn’t optimized for large screen devices. It didn’t help that the N95 was only capable of putting out 640 x 480 pixels either. Advances in technology have a way of fixing these things however, and now smartphones can send 1080p video to HDTVs via HDMI. Canonical, the guys behind Ubuntu, have decided to take advantage of the power of the devices currently on the market and today they’re showing off Ubuntu for Android.

It’s an easy idea to understand. Use your smartphone like you’ve always been using it, but when you get home you put it in a dock that’s hooked up to a large display, keyboard, mouse, and boom, there’s your computer. Motorola tried to do this with their “Lapdock” concept, but it wasn’t an elegant solution since it only worked on their devices and required dedicated hardware. Ubuntu for Android makes any Android phone into a full blown Linux computer.

Looking at the bigger picture, why wouldn’t Microsoft want to enable Windows Phone 8 owners to bring their smartphone to work, dock it, and then do everything they need to do using the Windows user interface they’re already familiar with? Same story with Apple.

Forget tablets, this right here is the start of something big.

[Additional Reading: The Verge, Canonical]

  • Douglas Mike

    But then they would only sell one device, instead of 3 (phone, tablet, computer). I really don’t see this happening anytime soon.

    • Google doesn’t care if you have one device or three. Neither does Facebook. Apple does, since they make money on hardware. Microsoft might, since they make money by selling licenses, but it wouldn’t be too hard to just change their pricing model.

  • Its the future, isn’t it?

    Now smart phones have become really smart. Ubuntu smart. 

  • Joey Mauro

    I have been telling people all over the internet for months. THIS is the future of computing.

    There is only ONE thing missing from this equation… wireless
    connection. The next step is to be able to walk into the office and the
    phone WIRELESSLY connect to your

    Going home for the night? Your phone WIRELESSLY connects to your Home Theatre.

    Wanna do some reading in bed? Your phone WIRELESSLY connects to a “dumb” tablet.

    I want this to be a reality so bad! 🙂

    P.S. As far as Microsoft, they will end up doing the same thing eventually… Windows 9 or something will merge everything…

    Apple? Just use their latest OSX release and check out their new one…. same thing…. iOS melds with OSX.

    • Helpful

      Hey Joey, some of that convenience that you crave can be realized with Remote Web Desktop. Search for it in market/Play

  • The only challenge I see here is the actual connection – all the pics I’ve seen show a dock of some sort. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find docks for most phones, especially ones that work without removing your phone’s case/cover? Also, you need to get manufacturers to put the extra outlet somewhere. 

    If Canonical can figure out how to do this via a single microUSB port, they’re golden.

    • Joey Mauro

       Forget microUSB… bring on wireless USB or wireless HDMI!!!

    • Again, something time can fix. Apple has mirroring over WiFi, they call it AirPlay. What makes you thinks others can’t do that? Bluetooth is already wireless, so … I guess the only thing left is power. That’ll come with time as well.

      • Joey Mauro

         Wireless(inductive) charging a la the late Palm?? Why not have inductive charging that will go several inches?? When you set it down on your desk it just charges.

        • I don’t sweat the details. When it happens, it’ll happen.

          • Joey Mauro

             I don’t sweat details either… I just like “guesstimating” what is going to happen! 🙂

  • Slikgman

    This would be the perfect concept for a Padfone from Asus.  The phone that snaps in to the back of a tablet and it is still portable. Plus you have Ubuntu and all its functions.

  • Hairyback88

    windows cannot do this or they will lose out on the revenue from selling their desktop OS. +1 for linux

  • Mikerhinos

    Why plug it in a screen with mouse and keyboard ? Why not a big touchscreen ? I think mouses and keyboards are totally <2000 🙂

    • Ryan Hoole

      Because touch-screen’s are not natural for human interaction. There cool but not useful. If I’m sitting at my computer composing an e-mail or programming, I simply can not do it efficiently, without feeling what I am pressing because I am focused on finger placement. The truth is, Gui’s waste my time. Using just a keyboard for all interaction with a computers environment is the quickest and seems to be the most efficient way of input. Until we starting using brainwaves as input… 😉

  • well.something time can fix. Apple has mirroring over WiFi, they call it
    AirPlay. What makes you think others can’t do that? Bluetooth is already
    wireless, so … I guess the only thing left is power……

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