February 21, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
Motorola’s Webtop is not the only Android-based desktop game in town. Canonical has announced Ubuntu for Android, a whole new “peripheral ecosystem” that runs a desktop-class mode with access to office apps, web browsing, email, calendars, and more. And it does it all thanks to an Android phone and dock combination.
Ubuntu for Android is powered by a special dock that launches the Ubuntu OS desktop mode embedded within a compatible Android device (companies must implement the software). Because Ubuntu and Android share a kernel, the two operating systems can co-exist and deliver productivity software for desktops and still have access to select web services. That means you can launch Thunderbird for gemail or Chromium to browse the web, and still be able to send/receive SMS messages and phone calls. Contacts, social network account credentials, and photos are also available in either mode.
While I’ve been interested in Webtop in the past, I’ve found it to be a little expensive and limited. Ubuntu proposes something more powerful and could be employed through a dock, though more information on hardware would be necessary to fully compare the two options. We’ve also seen rumors of Android supporting dual-booting into Chrome OS, which I don’t really see happening, and Lenovo even has a Thinkpad that dual-boots between Windows 7 and an Android media mode. Ubuntu represents something more integrated and effective for desktop use.
A complete desktop solution needs a full range of desktop applications. While a mobile OS carries no deep desktop software catalogue, Ubuntu offers thousands of applications, all designed for the desktop and most, like Ubuntu, free. And Ubuntu is certified by governments, industry and enterprises, widely deployed on the desktop, and supported by leading management solutions.
Another alternative would be a web-top, or web only desktop. But markets have not responded to web-only environments. The desktop is a high-productivity mode, not a media consumption mode or a browsing mode. That’s why we’ve brought the full power of a native desktop to this solution.
Android 2.3 or higher is required for Ubuntu for Android. The set-up also needs A dual-core 1 GHz or higher, 2GB of space, HDMI video-out, USB host mode, and 512 MB of RAM. Get more info on requirements and features at Ubuntu.com.