Canonical commits to netbooks over tablets for Ubuntu

The company has not yet built a tablet-specific edition of the Linux-based Ubuntu distribution

Canonical has not yet built an Ubuntu Linux distribution for tablets and will continue development of the OS for PCs and netbooks, company executives said.

Fast growth in tablet shipments has not affected Canonical's focus on netbooks and the company wants to push Ubuntu into more low-cost laptops, they said.

"We certainly haven't quit the netbook space -- if anything, we see growing demand for Ubuntu in PC sectors pushing into new global markets, where netbooks are the name of the game," said Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, in an e-mail response over the weekend to questions about the company's focus.

Canonical in the past has said it would build a version of Ubuntu for tablets. Some tablets, such as Kno, have shipped with Linux OSes based on Ubuntu, and many tablets with the OS have been shown at trade shows.

Canonical last week released the first beta of Ubuntu 11.04, code-named Natty Narwhal, in distinct editions for desktops, servers and netbooks. The Netbook Edition is for use only on devices using ARM processors, and its release came as a surprise as Canonical on March 9 said it would nix the Netbook Edition starting with version 11.04. The company did not release a Netbook Edition beta for the x86 architecture, integrating the code base into the Desktop Edition, which is for laptops and desktops.

ARM processors are primarily used in smartphones and tablets, and have not found success in netbook-like devices or PCs. Most netbooks ship with Intel's x86 Atom chips, but shipments of the devices are slowing down because of the popularity of tablets, according to market research firms.

The ARM-based Ubuntu 11.04 Netbook beta is not specifically for tablets, but it could be adapted for the devices, said Gerry Carr, head of platform marketing at Canonical, in an e-mail.

"We're not targeting this platform in the sense of making it available for download for people running [devices on the ARM architecture]. It's for the pre-install market only and part of our efforts to support ARM fully as an architecture. I guess you could build a tablet out of it -- but I have no idea if anyone is," Carr said.

The Ubuntu 11.04 Netbook Edition beta is designed to work with ARM-based processors including Texas Instruments' OMAP4 application processor, which is being used in Research In Motion's PlayBook tablet. The OS is based on a new user interface called Unity, which can dynamically adjust UI behavior based on screen sizes. For the ARM platform, Ubuntu is offering two separate Unity implementations, including one with advanced shaders and effects, and another with a 2D interface for lightweight devices.

More Linux-based operating systems are entering the mobile fray. Many tablets and smartphones ship with Google's Linux-based Android OS. Intel is backing the development of Meego, a Linux-based OS for smartphones and tablets, while Hewlett-Packard's proprietary webOS is based on Linux.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags canonicalhardware systemstablet PCslaptopsnetbooks

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?