The Ubuntu website is once again displaying a countdown – similar to the one shown ahead of January’s Ubuntu Phone announcement.

Next to the clock sits a not-so-subtle clue about the purpose of the countdown that reads: ‘Tick, tock, tablet time!

Unless Canonical decide to throw a curveball into the mix here by announcing the release of an Ubuntu-powered graphics tablet I think we can all safely assume that the reveal will concern the next step in Canonical’s ‘multi-device strategy’ – namely, tablets.

Ubuntu Touch = Tablet, Too?

Aside from the presence of a countdown there is, for now at least, little else to go on.

If Canonical are announcing a tablet version of Unity then what form is it likely to take? Will it be based on the Ubuntu Phone OS code? Or will it be some form of rejigged Compiz-powered Unity?

My money is on the former.

In the same way that Android powers both smartphones and tablets (albeit with marginal interface differences between the two) so too do I imagine that the ‘Ubuntu Phone OS’ – more accurately known as Ubuntu Touch – will.

It makes sense, after all. Ubuntu Touch has been designed from the ground up to be gesture-centric. Confining such an experience solely to small smartphone screens would be a waste.

Ubuntu Tablets Aren’t New

Ubuntu isn’t a stranger to tablets. Over the years it has been ported to run across a wide range of devices – as a quick browse of our Ubuntu Tablet category will show.

Most recently it was shoehorned on to the Google Nexus 7 so that developers could tune Unity and the Ubuntu desktop to be more performant.

Significant performance boosts have already landed on the Ubuntu 13.04 desktop because of this decision. Unity (and Ubuntu in general) have never felt so fluid and lightweight.

But none of these ‘Ubuntu Tablet’s’ have actually been an Ubuntu tablet. They’ve been ‘Ubuntu desktop on a tablet’.

Tomorrows announcement will likely rectify that.

Tablet Timing

The timing of the tomorrows announcement is also curious. It’s being made just days before the source code for “Ubuntu Phone OS” is released alongside installable images for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and LG Nexus 4.

With the Nexus 7 already having history with Ubuntu development could it be likely that an install image for it, – and it’s bigger sibling the Nexus 10 – also see release on that date?

The good news is that we won’t have to wait long to find out. 6PM GMT will reveal all… 

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