Open Source

Ubuntu tablet on the way? CES buzz for 'concept design'

Will Canonical unveil an Ubuntu-based tablet or smartphone next week at CES 2012? A company blog post promises to reveal an "exclusive Ubuntu concept design." Check out the rumor mill.

CES 2012 is days away, and an intriguing blog post from Canonical hints about what we might expect:

Canonical will have a presence at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas....

On display will be the latest in Desktop, Cloud and demonstrations on Ubuntu One, plus an exclusive Ubuntu concept design which will be announced during the show.

That's pretty much the extent of the pre-announcement, leading some to conjecture further about Canonical's plans. Will they announce an Ubuntu-based tablet, answering the prayers of Jack Wallen? Will there be a smartphone or some sort of TV gadget? All three? Here is PC World's take:

After making its mobile-inspired Unity interface the default in its Ubuntu Linux distribution, Canonical last fall finally announced that it was planning to take Ubuntu beyond the desktop and onto tablets, smartphones, and TVs. At the time it sounded like such devices wouldn't be ready to hit the market until 2014, but an early prototype doesn't seem impossible, particularly given that Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth has said hardware makers have already been involved.

Those hardware makers might include LG, according to some scuttlebutt Extreme Tech picked up on from the rumor mill, but when they tried to get confirmation of an LG partnership, Canonical's Communication Director Gerry Carr, denied such an announcement was in the works for CES. In any case, here is the summing up offered by ET's Ray Walters:

Any kind of Ubuntu-based device is going to be a niche product for Linux geeks and the more technical user at best. There are just too many smartphone options already on the market that are already entrenched in the hearts and minds of the consumer.

Have you been expecting an Ubuntu tablet or smartphone? What do you think the CES announcement portends? TechRepublic's Editor-in-Chief Jason Hiner and Master Cracking-Opener Bill Detwiler (not his actual title) will both be attending CES next week, so stay tuned for more news.

[UPDATE]: Alas, no tablet! The big announcement from CES was indeed Ubuntu TV. Here's the scoop from ZDNet, in case you missed it:

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Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...

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