Ubuntu on Android is nothing new, but an official release is. Ubuntu for Android is a weird version of Ubuntu that is designed to run on an Android device that’s connected to a screen via HDMI. The project page says “Android phone”, but I don’t see any reason why this shouldn’t also work on all those HDMI-equipped tablets out there. The dual core+ requirement should also be easily handled by many tablets, and in theory it should be possible (for Canonical, the developer) to make it so tablets can work as an extended display while providing Ubuntu to the external screen.
Anyways, what this aims to do is bridge the gap between mobile device and desktop device by making them one and the same, with different OSes. The idea is good, and while Ubuntu isn’t overly useful for people who work in a place tied to Windows, it can certainly be used in many situations where Android itself isn’t as useful.
Don’t get your hopes up though, as this needs to be embedded in a device from the manufacturer, you can’t just go to the Market and install it. It’s being offered up right now, but I’m very hesitant to celebrate just yet. Free “bonus software” (that isn’t just ads) has been available since the dawn of computers, but you don’t often see it installed anywhere. Ubuntu would have made a nice secondary OS to any Windows computer, for example, but you don’t see dual boot computers being sold because companies don’t want to provide support for it. Every app, every feature on a mobile device is something that the manufacturer needs to provide support for, and risk confusing customers with. Ubuntu for Android sounds nice, but I don’t see it clearing that obstacle with any mainstream manufacturers as any more likely than seeing a Samsung device come with Go Launcher as a pre-installed alternative to TouchWiz. Still, one can hope that device manufacturers do integrate this.[Ubuntu]