back to article Devs tease early screenshots of Ubuntu Touch Core Apps

Ubuntu developer Michael Hall has posted screenshots of early versions of what Canonical is calling the "Core Apps" for Ubuntu Touch, the new flavor of the popular Linux distribution that's being rewritten to run on mobile devices as well as PCs. There wasn't much you could actually do with Ubuntu Touch when Canonical released …

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Bronze badge
Linux

Poof, ta daaaa!

"...across all form factors supported by the OS, including the desktop, tablets, smartphones, and Smart TVs."

And there you have it, your desktop is now running a top the most powerful framework a [b]TV[/b] can handle!

Why is Ubuntu popular?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Poof, ta daaaa!

So they are trying to copy Windows 8.

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Anonymous Coward

What is the USP for this?

What will using this concoction/bodge/kludge give me that I can't already obtain from a stock Android build on my phone/desktop?

They(canonical) are going to to have to make something special in order to even become an also ran in this highly competitive field. The likes of android, iOS and even Windows 8 (And its variants) have a huge leg up on Ubuntu and their offering.

Perhaps they can do something similar to what happened when Ubuntu was first released but I very much doubt it.

The other question you have to ask is,

Are Canonical spreading themselves too thinly? With all the attention to the Server side and their impending replacement of the 'X' server and now this, I can't help but wonder if they are trying to be everything to everyone and could ultimately end up as master of none?

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Anonymous Coward

From casual observation it seems to be "cool" to use Linux at the moment. Ubuntu is also the mighty Valve's chosen distro.

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Re: What is the USP for this?

Native Linux on my phone gives me, as a nerd, a far greater set of options than Android does. Of all the jumped-up feature phones pretending to be smartphones, Android is the one I use, but for technical work it's as horrendous as the rest. Ubuntu, being native Linux, will give me the option of exposing that power. It'll be all prettiness up front, but if I want a bash terminal, I'm betting I can get one. For me, that's the USP - a smartphone that looks like the rest of the shitty modern "smartphones" on top, and actually is underneath.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What is the USP for this?

It's not under the control of a bunch of ad-men?

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Bronze badge
Linux

Re: What is the USP for this?

"...but if I want a bash terminal, I'm betting I can get one."

And I'm betting you can't get a useful one without rooting. Also, I'm not sure you stopped to take a look around lately, but Ubuntu is as "Native Linux" as Android.

FireFox OS is our last hope, if that fails, I'm not sure who would have the money or resources to save us.

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Facepalm

There we go again...

I bet now that about 85% of the comments to this will go like:

"Why do they bother at all? There's already Android and IOS."

or

"This is too geeky**, it will never catch on."

or

"It's not perfect*, how does it dare exist?"

Like aborting your baby being 3 months pregnant, because it can't walk yet, and there's other babies already.

* Perfect is, of course, a bit subjective here, but generally boils down to: Just the way that my first mobile ever worked; in some cases that could be a convoluted mess of random keystrokes to invoke some profoundly arcane action that could be, if ever it would be needed at all, replaced by having a small pebble in your pocket.

** This could also be "not geeky enough", depending from which way you come. It could even be both, if you really don't know what you're talking about, but just need to have an opinion***.

*** A bit like me, that.

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Try making a point without resorting to hyperbole. On the other hand if you actually think your abortion analogy is reasonable you may wish to take break from tech* for a while**.

* and asterisks.

** and seek help***

*** For the tech addiction, not asterisks.

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Trollface

@GBL Initialiser -

Wow. Just 'Wow'. Man, are we serious today. But you're right, I shouldn't do that if I want to make a serious post on a serious topic for a serious audience.

Oh, wait . . .

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Silver badge

A little bit to early

We have become very accustomed to very "visually rich" applications, especially those weather widgets ( I don't use them but they do look quite good).

By bringing out images of these core applications before they are "ready for the public" doesn't make much sense to me. It leaves a bad impression before things have even begun. I understand that the developer is proud to have arrived at this point in the process but it is still far too early to be releasing screenshots like these.

I looked through the blog and was very "unsurprised" to see what I would consider as late Alpha, early beta versions of what will consitute the core of the new system.

I am not knocking the devs work, it is excellent that they have arrived so far, but they must be aware that they can also cause damage by releasing unfinished work this early on. The first thing that many people will see are those images and they will probably not be very impressed, those images will remain engrained for quite some time. ( Most people do not think objectively).....

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Happy

@ Khaptain - Re: A little bit to early

I do agree mostly, but there's also to consider that the tech community which sees these early versions is only a small fraction of the final target audience. I would wager that near to 90% of smartphone users will say "U-wut?", if you mention Ubuntu or Linux to them. The market is mostly made up of "keep-up-with-the-Jones's"-buyers.

The "Here you have it, it's finished and beautiful" approach doesn't seem to work in community developed systems, it's more like watching a tree grow.

Personally I'm quite exited about it. I like the idea of having an operating system on a smartphone that can support the same applications that run on my standard computer; and no, Windows phone doesn't deliver that. I know that there's millions* of IOS and Android Apps out there, but wouldn't it be nice to just install another instance of the program that you run when you're at your desk?

* The amount of Apps seems overwhelming, yet: how much chaff is there with the grain? Last time I checked up on it there where over 1100 (OMG!!!) <u>fart</u> apps available for IOS. I wouldn't even need one.

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Coat

@Andreas Koch

Good to see you took GBL's advice about getting help*

* For the asterisk addiction**

** Oh blast, now I'm doing it!

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Re: A little bit to early

Agreed. While Canonical's work is undoubtedly impressive in such a short space of time, they are rapidly becoming the Peter Molyneuxs of the Linux world. Keep traps shut, open when system is ready.

That said, you've got to get the developers in early.

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This sounds like quite good progress.

If Ubuntu want to go somewhere it was obvious they needed to get improved versions of all their stuff out on a short cycle and keep on upgrading them.

From a dead image to a working (limited functionality) set of apps in 2 months with a new SDK is pretty impressive.

Thumbs up to them for the progress.

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Devil

Re: This sounds like quite good progress.

It's Ubuntu, so it would always be a new SDK. Why improve someone else's work when you can write it from scratch and own it outright?

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h3
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They will never win at copying Google or using Google Android as a base. (Is it even going to be opensource ?)

They more than likely won't win at trying to beat KDE Active (Both are using QT / QML but Ubuntu doesn't even like KDE or put any effort into doing it properly.

They should use Tizen as a base with QML and EFL.

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Meh

@h3 -

?

The whole point is to not use someone else's. If you use Android as a base then you'll always lag behind Google.

Tizen is perfectly OK as Tizen, Mozilla/Firefox OS is totally fine on it's own.

I think you mistake something for something else here.

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h3
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Re: @h3 -

I know what they are (And what they poeple making them want) but it doesn't align with what I want very well.

Android is ok but the best in class for pretty much every app is nothing compared to what is available for proper Linux. The command line environment is too limited. Lots of apps are inferior to the iOS versions they are ported from.

This Ubuntu is based more on Android than Ubuntu (It supports Android video drivers).

It is a completely new UI but based on qml (Which is pretty nice to a point for toy projects you can learn it in about 5 mins.)

The Internals of Tizen are pretty interesting but it has no native SDK. I am interested in using Tizen but not in a HTML5 / Javascript way but proper native code linked with the enlightenment libraries. If they skinned qt so QML could be used it would be a bonus. (Porting decent none terrible already opensource apps without too much effort would be good as well.)

KDE Active looks fairly good and not done by amateurs.

None of them are totally fine on their own for different reasons.

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To the naysayers

Here's the thing: at the moment, if you want a mobile OS that isn't locked into a walled garden where your corporate overlords (be they Apple, Microsoft or Blackberry) decide what you're allowed to install, then you have one choice - Android. Android is a perfectly good OS, in it's current form it's slick, easy to use and very well supported, but only having one option is not good.

So I sincerely hope that at least one of the in-progress mobile OS's, be it Ubuntu, Firefox, Tizen or whatever, manages to break out. I want an alternative to Android, one that treats me like an adult and lets me use my phone/tablet as I see fit.

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Bronze badge

Re: To the naysayers

Actually Win8/x86 allows you to install what you want on your Windows tablet. Including stuff like a development tool to write more software. Elipse or Netbeans run fine from experience. So that gives you at least two options.

For another OS to interest me on tablet pc it must have:

+ Pen (Wacom and NTrig, see below) support at least equal to Windows 7 (Handwriting recognition etc)

+ Tool support at least equal to Windows 7 (MS Journal, Artrage, OneNote, Total Stylus integration)

+ Useable on tablet and desktop - one OS and UI for all systems

+ Speach I/O at least equal to Windows 8 or the equivalent to Dragon Natural 11 (OFFLINE!)

+ Useable as a notebook or even desktop replacement

+ Full support of available hardware platforms (OS follows hardware not the other way round)

+ Controll over power consumption equal to Windows 8

+ SD card slots

+ Miracast support

+ Touch can be completely disabled

+ Producer delivered patched comparable to Windows for duration

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Re: To the naysayers

Actually Win8/x86 allows you to install what you want on your Windows tablet.

Win8, be it on ARM or x86, is a non starter as far as I'm concerned.

For the rest, your requirements for a tablet are clearly very different to mine. It sounds like you pretty much want a laptop replacement

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Bronze badge

Re: To the naysayers

Actualy a replacement for the T731, Q550 and EP121 that currently make up my tablet "zoo". Those are actually more than mere notebooks since they offer capacities well beyond that

Once you get used to full powered tablet pc the various toy breeds (iOS, RT, most Androids) simply look pale in comparison. It shows that MS does productive tablet software since the early 2000s. Guess my next is a Helix (preferably a Haswell version) with the T902 a second option

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Anonymous Coward

Re: To the naysayers

Eh? Android is no different from any of those mentioned

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Re: To the naysayers

Win8, be it on ARM or x86, is a non starter as far as I'm concerned.

Why? It's the best Windows version I've used in years, and TIFKAM works quite well on a tablet.

For the rest, your requirements for a tablet are clearly very different to mine. It sounds like you pretty much want a laptop replacement

That's what tablets used to be. What's wrong with wanting a tablet that actually does stuff?

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Re: To the naysayers

Why? It's the best Windows version I've used in years, and TIFKAM works quite well on a tablet.

Personal preference - I can't stand TIFKAM. It may well be the best version of Windows to date underneath, but I find the whole tiled interface horrible.

That's what tablets used to be. What's wrong with wanting a tablet that actually does stuff?

I didn't say there was anything wrong with it, but my use for a tablet is the standard "consumption device", and in that scenario I value thin, light and loooong battery life. The full fat x86 Win8 tabs are heavily compromised in all three of those areas, for very little benefit in my use case.

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Bronze badge

Re: To the naysayers

Actually ATOM based units get runtimes up to 11 hours, quite similar to ARM devices. But with a full-featured OS. And at weights simiar to the 10'' ARM devices as well. Some even have user-replaceable parts

Core-i based units have 4-5 hours for the 800-1000g units, up to 10 for a 1.3kg unit (Sony Duo11). But they can do a lot more replacing both the "consumption" tablet and the notebook. With a docking station they can even replace most non-gaming PCs since 8GB and a mobile i5/i7 are good enough even for programming.

I tried or had to try all the toy bredds exept RT and they all failed. Even in the media consumption business, there mostly due to "second rate" software

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h3
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Re: To the naysayers

Android is terrible if you want to use it for any form of creation. (Most of the ported apps are inferior to iOS versions). The console environment is poor.

Take music players :

Compare something like Clementine to Poweramp.

or :

The UI of Enlightenment DR17 to Android (Android doesn't even do multiple Windows properly). Cornerstone is as close as you get but Google hates that.

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Meh

ON the idea of "One UI to rule them all"

If they want to migrate most devs to this language and toolkit what migration tools did they develop?

As others have noted the concept of a single UI across all your UI running appliances sounds great but then you get a)The OS to drive the UI becomes the resource driver when the actual control panel you're simulating is a half dozen switches and a few knobs. b)You design to a lowest common denominator. Designing a properly scaleable UI which has core commands and additional functions that can be layered and take advantage of the greater processing power without disturbing your well developed muscle memory for the lower level systems (or vice versa) is very tricky. The big one being where do you put all that cruft that sits on your big screen when your mobile is a few inches wide?

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@ John Smith 19 - Re: ON the idea of "One UI to rule them all"

>

. . .

The big one being where do you put all that cruft that sits on your big screen when your mobile is a few inches wide?

<

This is why I think it might just work out. I hated Unity for quite a while until I gave it a longer chance and now I actually like it a lot. And I see a lot of empty space most of the time. I think it would do very nicely (better than TIFKAM, in my opinion; and yes, I've tried that, too.) on a small screen.

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Happy side effects?

Qt and QML, eh? Across everything? Can we finally expect greater inter-compatibility with KDE?

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h3
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Re: Happy side effects?

I doubt it will integrate well with KDE. The KDE way is to do stuff quite well and with some forethought. The Ubuntu/Canoncial way is to do as little as possible in the worst possible way take as much unfinished stuff as possible from elsewhere reskin it and then change their mind. (Or don't change their mind when they should.)

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Anonymous Coward

Wow, a calculator and a calendar. Killer applications!

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Trollface

hmm

Ok great. Its wonderful and all to have another choice on my phone, but now fix your default desktop. Unity is garbage on a decent sized screen. It actually makes the abomination that is Gnome 3 look almost decent by comparison.

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h3
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Xmonad could be good on a tablet with gestures to do manual Window Management if necessary.

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h3
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If WinRT could just be another screen when I was using my desktop just for the Metro stuff it might be more interesting for me. It is great with RemoteFX (Any old app works great with fast 3D).

Using working just as well as a 3rd screen (The current ios / Android apps that do the same sort of thing are nowhere near as good) must be possible.

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