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David Planella - Ubuntu, A Powerful, New Force in Mobile


This Øredev 2013 session was all about the new Ubuntu Mobile platform, which I’m very excited over, despite not being a Linux or Ubuntu guy. It looks very promising.

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As Ubuntu was launched for mobile devices a while ago, a new mobile force was born, says David Planella. Unlike other mobile operative systems, Ubuntu Mobile is designed to run on less powerful devices, while still focusing on providing a fast and responsive user experience. It comes packed with core apps and can be extended with third party developer apps as well.

Something very promising with Ubuntu Mobile, is that the Ubuntu SDK comes with full native and HTML 5 support. This is a path I think other mobile operating systems should have adapted as well, instead of leaving us with a flora of native platforms to master, besides the responsive mobile web experience we also have to support when our systems are experienced through a web browser.

It’s rather interesting that the first iPhone (launched before the App Store existed) was presented with a big, dramatic “no SDK needed” callout. The iPhone came with “the world’s greatest mobile web browser”, perfectly capable of running HTML5 apps. Why would anyone need or want anything else?

Then, Apple realized they could make money on app revenue…and here we are.

What about the user experience? Ubuntu Mobile’s main design themes include content focus, fast and natural interactions and sophisticated style. And I have to say, it looks very slick. It uses Unity and screen features like edge swipes to interact with the main areas of the phone. A right edge swipe moves to the next app, left shows the launcher etc. It looks really neat, although when I tried it out, I noticed that it needs better responsiveness and smoothness, especially when scrolling.

But, then again, so does Android.

David went into detail on how you interact with Ubuntu and core platform features like notifications, a cool looking HUD, scopes etc. He also talked about how to build apps, which SDKs to use and how we as developers can benefit from Ubuntu Mobile.

This was a thorough and very interesting talk. I’m really impressed, and recommend that you check out the video for a glimpse of a possible future.