Can the Ubuntu Phone succeed in making an impact in the smartphone market?
Canonical had recently revealed the Ubuntu Phone OS. They have also promised that they will be shipping Ubuntu Phones by the end of this year. Although we are eagerly awaiting the release of Ubuntu phones, the question on our mind and we are pretty sure on everyone elses mind is will it succeed? Can it make an impact? With the smartphone market dominated by giants like Apple and Google, does Ubuntu even stand a chance of gaining a footing in the smartphone jungle?
The Ubuntu Phone.
Ubuntu has been powering our desktops and laptops for more than 5 years now and we welcome the release of the new Ubuntu Phone OS with open hands. The Ubuntu Phone OS has a new unique interface in which every part of the screen including the edges have been designed to take you to where you need to go. Canonical aims to bring in a new smartphone experience with this OS and it looks like they have achieved it.
Can it make an impact?
At first glance, the Ubuntu Phone OS is unique and has immense potential. However that alone cannot guarantee success. I am not trying to be pessimistic but Ubuntu is clearly the little guy here. The current smartphone market is a 'duopoly' with giants like Apple's iOS and Google's Android having a large market share, a huge fan base and a huge selection of apps to meet every conceivable need. There are other players too, like the RIM's Blackberry and of course, Windows 8. Moreover established players like RIM failed to deliver the BB10 OS in time and we are also reminded that another high quality open source smartphone project - 0penMoko failed to deliver a significant impact 'yet'. So there seems to be a number of things going against the Ubuntu Phone.
Whats going in favor of the Ubuntu phone?
Since we are not smartphone market analysts, we cannot see things the way the Ubuntu team does. There is always a chance for something new and there will also be upsets where a small player can rise and dominate the market as the market is never in a status quo. Here are the things that we think run in Ubuntu's favor.
- Ubuntu has proved itself in the Desktop PC market and now 10% of the world's PC's run on Ubuntu which means close to 200 million PCs run on Ubuntu and there were more than 7 million downloads of Ubuntu 12.04 on the day it was released.
- Many established PC vendors like Dell, Lenovo, Asus and HP support Ubuntu and ship their PCs with it.
- Ubuntu already runs on ARM processors which power most smarthphones
- It is extremely trivial to run Ubuntu Phone OS on a phone that supports Android. Just take the case of Ubuntu for Android. Moreover Ubuntu Phone OS was presented for the first time in an older version of the Google Nexus phone.
- Ubuntu has been the first platform on almost all types of computing devices and of course the cloud.
- The Ubuntu Phone OS gives vendors the chance to brand and customize the OS to their specialized needs without compromising on user experience unlike the current ones on the market which is a USP.
- Finally Ubuntu was designed to bring a 'crisper and sharper' experience to low end smart phones and this is one area in which Mark Shuttleworth is aggressively focusing on.
Finally Ubuntu may not be planning to compete with the giants themselves and could be trying to create a space for itself. What do you feel about the Ubuntu Phone OS?