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Ubuntu tablet OS: screenshots and details

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By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 20 Feb 2013 at 11:06

Canonical has unveiled the tablet interface for Ubuntu, part of its effort to create a single OS across smartphones, tablets, PCs and TVs.

The Ubuntu tablet interface will be made available on 21 February, alongside the previously announced smartphone UI. Initially it will support the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets, alongside the Nexus and Nexus 4 smartphones.

Click on Gallery above for screenshots of the tablet OS

The entry-level smartphone OS will arrive with Ubuntu 13.10 in October, but will take a few months for mobile operators to test and optimise, so handsets likely won't arrive until the first quarter of 2014, said Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth.

The tablet interface and high-end smartphone version will arrive in Ubuntu 14.04, in April 2014.

According to Canonical, Ubuntu will allow a phone app and a tablet app to work on the same screen at the same time, using a feature called "side stage". For example, a user could be watching a movie on a tablet, and then swipe in a messaging app in a side panel - not unlike Windows 8.

Ubuntu side stage

The developer preview will also feature a voice-controlled version of Ubuntu's Head Up Display as well as Edge navigation, which uses all four sides of the screen for navigating between apps and settings, rather than having home buttons.

Ubuntu tablet HUD voice control

It will support multiple accounts on one tablet, full encryption, and a customisable homescreen – handy for mobile operators that want to personalise the platform.

Shared binary

However, the key aspect of the tablet OS is that it will be essentially the same as the phone and PC version, and is in fact based on the same binary.

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User comments

Jony Ive?

Did anybody else watch the video and immediately think about Jony?

The style is very similar, although not so many amazings, a few, but not as many.

By big_D on 20 Feb 2013

It might just work

Oh look a different interface for different devices, does that mean if I use Ubuntu desktop it won't try and look like a tablet and tell me to tap things ... at least some manufacturers still have some common sense.
The tablet UI looks really great too, I hope this does well and pushes Ubuntu a bit more mainstream, it may be the push it needs!

By bendeavin on 20 Feb 2013

Privacy

I wonder if Ubuntu will give users more data privacy than Apple or Android?

By Kuryakin on 20 Feb 2013

Hmmmm... Now where did I see most of this before?

Seems strangely redolent of WindowsRT to me, but then they wouldn't have copied something so bad. Would they?

By wittgenfrog on 20 Feb 2013

Same binaries?

It uses the same binaries? I don't think so, an x86 desktop binary wouldn't run on ARM!

By big_D on 20 Feb 2013

@big_D

Which makes me wonder if these are all going to be Intel Atom devices.

They seem to be aiming the phone version at the Nexus and Nexus 4 which rubbishes that idea, but it would make sense to some extent to use Atom just for that reason of binary compatibility.

By RnP_PS on 21 Feb 2013

Shuttleworth...

...is the smoothest South African I have ever seen.

The OS & UI looks good, too.

By pofadda on 21 Feb 2013

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