Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
Best Argument: Yes
Audience Favored: Yes (57%)
Market is hungry for a great third option
However, there's a bigger picture here that folks who discount mobile Ubuntu are missing. Will Ubuntu overtake Android and Apple with soccer moms and technorati alike waiting for days in line to grab up the latest uPhone from Canonical? Of course not. However, only having two players in the mobile market is like our current two-party government - it just isn't good for consumers and competition. Yes, Windows Phone/Windows 8 is there and will have an impact in the enterprise, but a third option with reach into both consumer and enterprise spaces means something. The market is hungry for a great third option and Ubuntu has all the chops to be it.
Technically, Ubuntu is a winner but...
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
From day one I knew Unity was really meant for touch interfaces. That's one reason why so many Linux fans were having fits about it replacing their GNOME 2.x style interfaces, I was inclined to give it a chance.
In addition, unlike Android, where the version you get is what you usually are stuck with for forever and a day, Ubuntu on phones, just like on the desktop, will be constantly upgraded. For frustrated Android smartphone geeks who always want the newest version they'll feel like they died and went to heaven.
Still, I'm left facing Ubuntu's real problem: Getting the carriers to buy it. After all, if no one ships it, it won't matter if it's the second coming of the iPhone. Shuttleworth feels that getting carrier support is all important and that the phone OEMs will follow along if they ask for it.
I hope, I really do, that he's right, but he's facing an uphill battle. I'll be rooting him on (sorry little, very little, Linux joke there) but beating Android and iOS is going to be hard. Knocking off RIM, Windows Phone OS, etc. -- that seems much more possible.
So, while I have to say that I'll still believe Ubuntu will beat Android or iOS when I see it, I now feel that it is a real shot at being a viable number three smartphone operating system.
Remote or very remote?
In an odd twist for this debate, both participants wound up thinking that Ubuntu has a chance. The difference was whether Ubuntu for mobile has a remote chance or a very remote chance.
All things considered, I think Dawson got the best side of the debate. I don't think Ubuntu has much of a smartphone chance, but Dawson's argument is cleaner. And we all want a No. 3 platform, but your guess is good as mine on which one takes on that role.