Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth has announced that the first Ubuntu smartphones will be available in October, following the Ubuntu for Mobile platform reveal in early January.
The Wall Street Journal reports the smartphone line launch is more firm than at the event. In January, the launch was initially slated for the Q4 2013 or Q1 2014, and it's not clear what makes the company now so sure about the October date. Given there's eight months to go, we wouldn't be surprised to see this date slip.
Nonetheless, the Ubuntu phone UI is aimed at offering a simpler solution than Android and other mobile operating systems, according to the company. The lockscreen is more than just a barrier to the rest of the OS. You can unlock to any app you like, and navigation is reminiscent of the frame drags used in Windows 8's Modern UI and BlackBerry PlayBook tablets.
During its press conference, Canonical also revealed that Ubuntu phones will be able to run a full desktop version when docked to a monitor - definitely an interesting approach for a handset.
Devices or OEMs at launch haven't been detailed. In January, the folks at Canonical showed-off system requirements for smartphones running Ubuntu, perhaps giving us an indication of what we might see in terms of specs.
The “entry level” Ubuntu device is expected to run a 1GHz Cortex A9 processor, 512MB – 1GB of RAM, 4-8GB eMMC + SD, and a multi-touch display. The high-end Ubuntu “superphone” calls for a Quad-core A9 or Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM minimum, multitouch, and desktop convergence.
Canonical has yet to release the source code for Ubuntu, as promised. Downloadable versions of Ubuntu are expected for the Galaxy Nexus to let developers begin working on apps for Ubuntu's app marketplace.
We're hoping to get some more hands-on time at Mobile World Congress 2013 at the end of February.