Linux

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:

About

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...

23 comments
ubducted
ubducted

If they come out with the product, I'd buy it just to support them. Any Ubuntu tablet from Canonical is bound to be a solid product.

toodevastate
toodevastate

I have been trying to get a Linux distro onto a laptop for a while now. I've been successful in getting as far as a Parted desktop. A laptop with Linux on it would be very useful and worthwhile. I hope they go for it.

ag691234
ag691234

The problem with ipads and Android tablets is they are useless if the user wants to create content. So their users spend $500++ for a device to consume content only running an underpowered limited capability OS. Linux, unlike Windows or Apple OS is lightweight and does not require fast hardware to run. This leads me to believe Ubuntu can modify the OS for touch input, slap it on a tablet and have it ready to do the kind of computing one expects to do on a fully functional laptop with ease of a tablet. If this is what Ubuntu has developed, all those ipads and Android tablets will be made obsolete overnight. Tablets will no longer be a lightweight consumption device, but also a fully functional content creation computer.

TNT
TNT

As much as I think its a great idea, I think manufacturers will wait to see how well Win8 tablets are received. I think I'm probably in the minority, but I'm waiting for a tablet that runs a real OS like Windows, Linux or even OS X. So far my longings remain unsatisfied. However, once Win8 tablets do come to market I think Ubuntu will release a version that will run on the hardware and allow dual-boot. Then, if Win8 tablets sell well, Dell and maybe one other hardware manufacturer may offer an Ubuntu tablet. Thats my guess anyway.

rpollard
rpollard

I've been running Linux since SUSE 8 and Ubuntu since version 9. I develop web apps with it and it meets 99% of my enterprise needs. I really wish they would release a tablet with Ubuntu.

peter.fleming
peter.fleming

I've been running UBUNTU since ver 8, and it's gotten better with every release. Whenever someone in my office needs something Wintel won't do, they bring it to me, and I bail them out with my UBUNTU system. If my HTC will run it, I will give a try.

wompai
wompai

... I would like a linux based OS on my tablet :)

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Best warn those who are running displays at CES that Bill is on his way with his Screwdrivers so that they can all hide their new Tech from him. ;) Bill [i]How does it work?[/i] Stall Attendant [i]It's really quite simple and very powerful and it's all Battery Powered.[/i] Bill [i]Mind if I have a Look[/i] and he then proceeds to dismantle the device before moving onto the next stall to do the same thing. That may even be a Big Draw Card for may of the people who attend the show. :D Col

avivme
avivme

but the idea of writing content on a touch screen device. UBUNTU will be better then android or apple but still lack the flexibility of easy typing and mouse navigating for editing. Aviv M LINUCITY.COM

avivme
avivme

Aviv M linucity.com

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

Col If only they would let me! Actually, I'm getting ready to pack up my screw drivers, thin metal blades (not knives for you worried about me getting through airport security), and plastic spudgers. I'll be doing two live "Cracking Opens" from the CNET Stage during CES 2012. Here's the tentative schedule: Tuesday 3:00 - 4:00 PM Pacific (6:00 to 7:00 PM Eastern) - Cracking Open the Amazon Kindle Wednesday 3:00 - 4:00 PM Pacific (6:00 to 7:00 PM Eastern) - Cracking Open the Samsung Galaxy Nexus S Jason H. will be on stage with me asking questions as we go. CNET will be live streaming the event. I'll post a URL as soon as I have one.

adornoe
adornoe

If it's somebody from Microsoft, then you're going to be waiting forever for your scenario to play out, because, Microsoft won't be there. Perhaps you can go there with your screwdrivers, and wear a cap with a Microsoft logo, and a tag that says "Bill", and go about playing out your imagined scenario. You'd end up in the news, and in tech blogs all over the place. Have fun!

ag691234
ag691234

Wireless keyboard/mouse can be used as input devices for ipads. I might be wrong, but I am not aware of any fully functional word processing software for ipad like there is for mac os, Windows, or Linux. Nor is there an equivalent to Photoshop or Gimp. As I wrote, current tablet OS are too lightweight to allow for any serious processing which is required for content creation.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Just ask the Stall Person if you can have a look at their product and when they give you permission take it apart. ;) After all you did ask first. :D Once upon a Time in the Dim Distant Past I used to tear every new product that we got to component parts have a good look around and then put it back together again. Helped no end to allow you to fix them when they broke. :0 Oh and Bill if you worry about Airport Security you should try getting into Jails with Screwdrivers. They are a Dangerous Weapon and the Waders really don't like you taking them in even if it means you can not do your work. I went through that at one prison and after the Governor refused to allow the machines to be removed to be Repaired/Serviced the Guards finally relented and gave me a Trustiee to help me carry stuff into and guide me around the Prison. He was only in there for a Triple Murder involving Screwdrivers and people nailed to walls with them. Airport Security is a Breeze after that. :^0 Col

adornoe
adornoe

and start "dismantling" at CES.

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