Ubuntu, the Linux-based operating system running on plenty of corporate servers, will arrive on smartphones in October 2013, according to the man leading the project. Developers will get access to the mobile OS in late February.
Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical, a company that provides services to companies that use Ubuntu software, had previously announced his company was taking Ubuntu to phones, but originally gave the target date of early 2014.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Shuttleworth said the first Ubuntu-based phones would be coming in October. Developers, however, will get their hands on the software as early as this month.
Why would anyone try to compete with the likes of Android and iOS, especially when there are already alternative OSes such as BlackBerry and Windows Phone? Shuttleworth believes Ubuntu phones will really solve a problem, letting users stream corporate software — even Windows desktop apps — right on their handsets as well as boot up the full Ubuntu OS when they’re docked to a workstation.
That could make Ubuntu handsets very attractive to a set of corporate IT departments who already use Ubuntu on the desktop and back end. For security-conscious companies that are heavily Linux-based, Ubuntu might even be a better choice than BlackBerry.
Ubuntu isn’t the only dark-horse mobile OS trying to fill a niche that the larger platforms have seemingly overlooked. Mozilla is vying for a spot with its Firefox OS, and there’s also Tizen(formerly MeeGo), which has gotten limited backing from Samsung.