Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
Best Argument: Yes
Audience Favored: Yes (57%)
Mobile Ubuntu can steal Android's thunderAndroid is undoubtedly the mobile OS to beat in 2013. iOS has loyal fans, but it simply can't achieve Android's volume driven by multiple OEMs producing phones and tablets in countless form factors.
That said, Android has problems. Big ones. The first is Google itself. If you don't opt in to at least a substantial subset of Google's services, you can forget using an Android device. The second is ongoing patent issues, both for Android and manufacturers that use it. Finally, both Apple and Microsoft are ahead of Google in terms of enterprise management and deployment
Ubuntu can address all of these issues on mobile devices, bringing a platform which is at once trusted in the enterprise, unencumbered by patent and privacy issues, and still more open than Android.
Will mobile Ubuntu kill Android? No. Can it steal its thunder, though, and put a squeeze on Google, especially in the enterprise? Yes indeed.
Ubuntu on the smartphone? Too little, too late.I like Ubuntu. I like the idea of Ubuntu on a smartphone. I don't think they can pull it off.
Why? Let me count the ways:
1) Canonical is too late to the game. Android and iOS already own the smartphone market. Microsoft despite its billions still hasn't been able to get Windows Phone 8 off the ground.
2) The Ubuntu team doesn't know carriers. RIM, Samsung, Apple, etc. all have existing company relationships. Canonical doesn't. Period. End of statement.
3) Canonical has strong PC OEMs relationships, but they don't have strong partnerships with handset manufacturers. Sure, if all you want is hobbyists, you don't need OEMs, but they want a mass market.
4) They're also starting from near zero on handset developers. The best and brightest mobile programmers are already hard at work building Android and iOS applications.
I like the idea of what Ubuntu wants to do. They want one operating system and one interface for smartphones, tablets, PCs, and TVs. Yea them!
Unlike Microsoft, which badly stumbled with Windows 8's Metro interface, I think Ubuntu's Unity interface might just be able to be that do everything on every platform interface. But, even if Canonical does pull off the technical magic, I just don't see how they can beat all the business factors lined up against them.
I'd like to be wrong, but I don't think I am.