Confirming the expected, Canonical have unveiled a new ‘tablet’ face for Ubuntu as part of their focus on convergence across devices.
The tablet-orientated version of Ubuntu is based on Ubuntu Touch – the same version used on Ubuntu Phones – so is gesture-heavy in use.
Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 owners will be able to download and ‘flash’ Ubuntu Touch onto their devices this coming Thursday.
But despite last-minute speculation no hardware partners intending to pre-install the device have been announced.
Interface & Features
Ubuntu Tablet is based on the same code that powers the Phone version of Ubuntu – so strong emphasis is placed on gestures. The edges of the device are the principal means of navigations as demoed in the video above; like Ubuntu phone, the tablet interface doesn’t need hard or soft keys to be present for use.
Oren Horev, lead designer for the Ubuntu tablet experience, says that tablet interface ‘fits perfectly between Phone and PC in the Ubuntu Family’.
“Not only do we integrate phone apps in a distinctive way,’ he says, ‘[but] we shift from tablet to PC very smoothly in convergence devices.”
Indeed, Canonical have placed some emphasis on business-orientated applications, touting tablets running Ubuntu as “convergence devices”, offering a full desktop experience when connected to a keyboard and mouse, as well as a business-friendly “thin client” that supports existing enterprise solutions for running Windows applications.
As with the “convergence” feature on the Ubuntu Phone, only “high-end” devices can make use of this feature. Canonical have outlined minimum tablet specifications for partners to target both “entry-level consumer” and these “high-end enterprise” audiences.
- Dual-core Cortex A15
- 2GB RAM
- 8GB Flash Storage
- 7-10″ Screen
- Quad-core A15 or Intel x86
- 4GB RAM
- 8GB Flash Storage
- 10-12″ Screen
Much like Windows 8’s “Snap” feature, the Ubuntu Tablet interface introduces a new feature called ‘Side Stage’. This feature allows you to run both “tablet apps” and “phone apps” side by side, resizing each on the hop as and when you need to see more of them.
Introduced only recently on Google’s Android operating system, multi-user support arrives out the door with Ubuntu on tablets. Full disk encryption ensures accounts on both a family and enterprise device stay secure.
Aside from the shiny stuff, the tablet interface will support screen sizes from 6″ to 20″, placing it firmly between the Phone and PC form factors.
Downloads for the Google Nexus 7 and Google Nexus 10 will be available along with Ubuntu Phone images on February 21st.
- Ubuntu Touch for Tablets Announced
- Introduces new multi-tasking feature & security options
- Downloads for select hardware available Thursday 21st February
- Source code available Thursday 21st February