Skip to main content

Promise Of Convergence Not Enough To Save Ubuntu Touch, Canonical Pulls Plug

In terms of column inches to delivered devices, Ubuntu Touch has all other smartphone platforms on the ropes. We seem to have been talking about the Ubuntu Unity8 desktop / mobile convergence for years, indeed it was announced way back in 2013. Two years before Microsoft launched Continuum.

Canonical has now announced the cessation of development of the mobile version of its platform.

I'd be inclined to say that a desktop convergence mode is the kiss of death and doesn't bode well for the Samsung Galaxy S8, but Ubuntu Touch had problems all of its own. The promise of external connectivity through Unity8 was the best that Ubuntu Touch had to offer, very little else materialised to give the platform a hope.

Convergance never actually made it to a shipping phone - of which there were few enough. The sum total of phones to have made it to market with Ubuntu is four - two from BQ and two from Meizu. There's a single tablet, also from BQ. Whilst some Android phones could have Ubuntu Touch sideloaded, there was little incentive for anybody but a few interested developers to do so.

When Windows 10 Mobile made it to market with Continuum, Ubuntu Touch lost its main selling point and any hope of a long-term future. Not that Windows has proved any more successful.

Desktop-like behaviour from your smartphone, when connected to the right external hardware, seems like a winning option, especially in developing markets where computers are still a rarity. Smartphone by day, desktop by night certainly sounds like an appealing combination. No-one has proven that it can be a strong selling point though.

If anybody can make it work, it will be Samsung. The Galaxy Note wasn't the first large-screen phone, nor the first with a pen. It was the first to do both properly though. My feeling is that the Samsung Galaxy S8 with DeX is the first to do smartphones as desktops properly. Presumably the Note 8 will support the same feature when it arrives and by this time next year we might be talking about mid-range Samsung phones that can also be desktops.

That's the sort of volume that could take the DeX into the mainstream and persuade other manufacturers, and eventually Google, to follow Samsung's lead - with catastrophic results for PC sales.


Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…

WhartonBrooks Indiegogo Windows 10 Mobile Even More Doomed To Failure Than Usual

WhartonBrooks is currently crowd-funding its latest Windows Mobile smartphone on Indiegogo. If crowdfunding isn't already a bad enough idea, a company trying to crowdfund a Windows Mobile device should be warning enough for you.
Not that anyone seems to be taking the project too seriously. With a few weeks left to run the campaign has managed to ensnare just 2% of its $1.1m target.
If you want a better indication of how few Window Mobile loyalists remain I doubt there is one. Of 3,900 Windows Phone enthusiasts Wharton Brooks was seeking for its new phone, it has managed to entice just 50.
Windows for Phones is dead, even if the corpse hasn't stopped twitching yet.