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Ubuntu Linux to run on Android Phones, A desktop on smartphone.

Have you ever wondered how powerful today's smartphones have become? If you ask Canonical the makers behind popular Ubuntu Linux, powerful enough to run full fledged desktop class OS with ease.  This could simply lead to a future where your mobile phone can double up as a portable desktop and a mobile. With Ubuntu for Android, which the company says launches a full desktop OS experience whenever you connect your phone to a computer screen and keyboard. With it, Canonical claims you’ll be able to use Android on the phone and Ubuntu as your desktop, both running simultaneously on the same device, with seamless sharing of contacts, messages and other common services.

The company states that the phone experience will be pure Android–it’s a normal Android phone. When the device is connected to a computer screen, however, it launches a full Ubuntu desktop on the computer display. It’s exactly the same Ubuntu Unity desktop many are familiar with, and and it will include all of Ubuntu’s current applications, from office productivity to photography, video and music. 

Ubuntu for Android will require a device that has Android 2.3 Gingerbread or later, a mutli-core processor, and the ability to be docked with HDMI and USB ports. The software will offer a full desktop experience, complete with default apps for email, calendar, and media, and offers access to the phone's native contacts. Incoming calls can be answered in the desktop environment, and users can place outgoing calls directly. These hybrid Android/Ubuntu smartphones and tablets will share all data and services between the environments. Both Android and Ubuntu run simultaneously on the device. So Android applications such as contacts, telephony and texting are accessible from the Ubuntu interface.

Likewise, SMS messages can be sent and received from within Ubuntu for Android. Ubuntu for Android will support HDMI, USB, Google Docs, and 4G LTE data, among other things, and Canonical says wireless carriers can load up branded applications and services as part of the Ubuntu desktop. Also, judging by Mark Shuttleworth's quote that "the desktop is the killer app for quad-core phones in 2012," it's pretty clear that the company is targeting brand-new handsets coming out this year, rather than any existing dual-core devices, though we should learn more about this in the coming days.

In an attempt to persuade OEMs and carriers that Ubuntu for Android is a good deal, Canonical also states that “Ubuntu for Android justifies the cost to enterprise customers of upgrading to higher bandwidth 4G connections and contracts. Cloud apps like Google Docs work best with a full desktop, and shine with the lower latency of LTE. Network operators can deliver their own branded applications and services as part of the Ubuntu desktop, in partnership with Canonical.”

Here are the official hardware requirements for Ubuntu for Android and: 
  • Dual-core 1GHz CPU
  • Video acceleration: shared kernel driver with associated X driver; Open GL, ES/EGL
  • Storage: 2GB for OS disk image
  • HDMI: video out with secondary frame buffer device
  • USB host mode
  • 512 MB RAM

Today's announcement is a big step toward fulfilling Shuttleworth's promise back in October to haveUbuntu running on smartphones, tablets, phones, TVs, and smart screens by early 2014.

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