February 21st, 2012at 06:33pm Posted by Eli
Here’s an interesting little tidbit from Engadget:
Well, it turns out Ubuntu now runs on multi-core Android devices and your handset can grant a full desktop experience when docked with a display and a keyboard. It’s a customized version of Ubuntu that plays nice with Android, the two OS’s sharing data and services while running simultaneously. So, you can still access telephony and texts from the Ubuntu environment while enjoying all the computing capabilities it has to offer, including: Ubuntu TV, virtualization tools for running Windows applications, desktop web browsers, and Ubuntu apps built for ARM. It isn’t clear exactly what hardware you’ll need to run Ubuntu on a handset, but Canonical has said it works on multi-core devices with HDMI and USB connections.
As the owner of a multi-core Android device, this certainly piques my interest, but other than the Oh Cool! factor, being able to connect my phone up to a keyboard and monitor doesn’t really buy me much unless it’s in the form of one of those Atrix-style laptop/docking stations. Which means that this opens up a whole new market for third-party manufacturers to start making generic docking stations that any multi-core Android phone can use.
I don’t know if they necessarily will, but they can. I’m pretty sure a bunch will make a go of it, but I can’t predict how successful they’ll be. I know I would definitely be interested in being able to turn my phone into a netbook running a full-fledged (or close to it) desktop OS which can access the internet from pretty much anywhere.
It’s a funny thing: It used to be that smartphones ran scaled-down mobile OSes because they had tiny displays and nowhere near enough power to run a desktop OS. But now modern smartphones have dual (and soon quad) core processors, and even GPUs, that give them more than enough power to run a desktop OS. They just don’t have the screen real estate to display it (or in most cases, a keyboard to interact with it). With a bit more RAM, they could probably even run Windows 7.
So if you have a phone with netbook-class internals (or better), then why not give it the ability to actually be a netbook when the occasion arises? If my phone yearns to spread out and become a PC every once in a while, then who am I to deny it?