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Canonical has introduced its first full version of its Ubuntu phone platform, which unlike other operating systems, uses the same base software as its desktop and TV counterparts.
The announcement forms part of Canonical's desire to have one platform for all screens: television, tablet, laptop and smartphone.
Clearly looking to kick off the new year with a bang, Mark Shuttleworth, creator of Ubuntu and founder of Canonical, introduced the software in London on Wednesday evening.
"The thing that makes Ubuntu different, unique, in the world is a convergence mission," Shuttleworth said. "We deeply believe all these different types of computing - phones, tablets, PCs, smart TVs, servers, cloud, supercomputers - can in fact run off one common platform."
The OS, which Shuttleworth said treats native and web apps as 'equal citizens', is being pitched at a variety of users. For manufacturers that want to aim low-end devices at emerging or developing markets, Shuttleworth said the platform offers a cheap route to market. The Canonical founder also said the OS is simple to use, something he described as essential; Shuttleworth added that he thought Android was overly complicated in places.
Shuttleworth also said the company had chosen to work with old hardware deliberately to show that the requirements of the system are low, should manufacturers wish to take the low-end route.
However, while Canonical talked up the OS's prospects in the cheaper end of the market, it also envisages the system being used on high-end 'superphones' that offer multi-core processors and full desktop convergence.
The first handset to run only the Ubuntu OS is not likely to arrive before the start of 2014; Shuttleworth confirmed the company currently had no commitments from manufacturers or operators. (Canonical has also developed Ubuntu for Android, which should start making it to market a little later in 2013.)
At the announcement, Ubuntu was shown running on a Galaxy Nexus, pictured adove showing the welcome screen.
The welcome screen has a constantly changing and evolving pattern behind the on-screen notifications, which cycle through showing you things like missed calls, messages received and other updates.
Image: Ben Woods
Opening up the device you are taken to the home screen, which houses pretty much what you'd expect to see: a list of your apps, calling, texting, emailing and media options and a recently used apps list.
Shuttleworth also said the platform as a whole offers an advantage over others as it doesn't require a Java Virtual Machine (such as Dalvik in Android). Ubuntu OS also supports ARM and x86-based devices.
Image: Ben Woods