Android’s new killer app? Linux.


Unbuntu for Android

So it turns out the new killer app for your Androidsmartphone is….Ubuntu?

That’s right, Canonical–the organization that brought you the UbuntuLinux distribution for desktops and notebooks–is betting that you’ll want toleave your full-size computer behind if you can use your dual-core Androidsmartphone to dual-boot between Android and Ubuntu. Why? These pint-sizedevices are already reasonably peppy handheld computers, and turning yourAndroid phone into a dual-boot device will allow you to do everything you need todo with a single pocketable device.

Are you sold? Because I’m not. Looking at the bullet points,it seems like it could work: a lot of these Android devices have pretty goodprocessors in them already…after all, dual-core processors WERE the sole place you’dsee dual-core CPUs not too long ago. Your smartphone or tablet often has areasonably power graphics component. And let’s be real: with the introductionof LTE into handsets, it’s possible that you may just have better networkconnectivity with your phone than you do at home.

That said, and I don’t think I’m speaking out of schoolhere, anyone who’s spent any time with an Android smartphone knows that theplatform has some drawbacks that could make it frustrating as a full-oncomputing platform. Even with dual-core processors onboard, many phones canbecome fairly unresponsive with only a few apps running. And because of thewide variety of hardware configurations and vendor-specific kernelmodification, they can be…well, crashy.

Other potential drawbacks are easily addressable. Phoneswith limited onboard storage can often be supplemented by either removable SDstorage or cloud-based storage. And while having this kind of a dual-boot setupwill mean carrying a dock around and finding a monitor to hook up to, thatstill may be more convenient than toting around a full-sized notebookeverywhere you go.

Ubuntu is pointing out that a smartphone that can dual-bootis a pretty good driver for more powerful phones incorporating newer, fasterand more capacious technology, and fair enough. That’s the same basicunderlying engine that’s driven both desktop and laptop innovations for decadesnow.

Ultimately, anything that makes the Android handset morepowerful is an okay thing in my books. So even though I’m not going to beholding out much hope that the mix of Ubuntu and Android is going to be muchmore than a novelty at the beginning, I’m going to be one of the first in lineto try it out.





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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Sean Carruthers
Sean Carruthers
Sean Carruthers is a freelance writer, video producer and host based in Toronto, Canada. Most recently, he was a Senior Producer at, where he was responsible for the conception, writing, production and editing of a number of web video shows, including Lab Rats, How Do I?, Status Update, The Noob, and more.

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