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Canonical expects Ubuntu-powered smartphones to hit retail in October

Fans of Linux will be happy to know that Canonical intends to have smartphones running the open source Ubuntu operating system on the market by October 2013.

Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical Ltd., recently dropped the news at a meeting in New York on Tuesday.  Ubuntu’s entrance into the mobile sector marks a significant shift in which desktop functionalities are beginning to merge with the portability of tablets and smartphones.

Ubuntu for smartphones is Canonical’s approach to making desktop features more accessible to mobile users.  A smartphone running Ubuntu can be used as a fully functional desktop when docked to a larger display and wireless peripherals like a mouse and keyboard.  As a standalone smartphone, the Ubuntu OS switches to a “mobile interface”, something the company refers to as a “distilled version of the Ubuntu desktop interface.”

Canonical is tackling a heated market in which Google’s Android is the top open source mobile OS, and Apple’s iOS is the preferred proprietary.  Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 OS as well as BlackBerry’s recently launched (formerly RIM) BB10 OS are strong contenders in the mobile space—albeit, with far less market share than Android or iOS. 

Aside from the enthusiasts, Ubuntu for smartphone shows promises in corporate settings where IT specialists can manage all employee devices much more easily through the consolidation of hardware and software.  However, in recent years, the phenomenon known as “bring your own devices” (BYOD) has been catching on, and many IT managements have practically overhauled their infrastructures to accommodate different devices with various mobile OS.

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