This is no ordinary phone. Instead of Android, it's running a very different Linux-based OS -- the long-awaited mobile version of Ubuntu -- which comes with a new UI adapted for smaller screens. There are a few salient features to report. First and foremost, the UI relies heavily on edge swipes instead of buttons -- much like Windows 8 on a tablet or indeed other mobile OS's like MeeGo, although here each swipe has its own Ubuntu-esque functions. Beyond that, the icons along the top have some interesting features.Voice control is in attendance, and an app store is in the works, with a mix of both web apps and native apps -- with the latter type being able to make better use of the hardware.
Speaking of hardware, here's where you might get a twinge of disappointment: there are no immediate plans for actual Ubuntu phones, and no carriers have been signed up yet. Any new phone built for Android with at least a dual Cortex-A9 cores, a gig of RAM and 800 x 400 resolution could run this OS, should a manufacturer see merit in installing Ubuntu instead, and high spec 720p, quad-core phones should do wonders with it. Meanwhile, rather like Ubuntu for Android, this is still an idea looking for a device -- but as ideas go, the initial impression is that it looks like a bright one, especially if you dig Linux and open source. The Galaxy Nexus-compatible build will be available for download within the next few weeks, and Mark Shuttleworth is optimistic that actual devices will ship sometime in early 2014 -- which is quite a ways away.
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