Canonical today announced plans to release a version of Ubuntu for smartphones, adding that devices running the platform will come to market early next year. The open source operating system is built on the Android kernel and drivers, but Canonical is pitching Ubuntu as “more immersive, less cluttered” and easier to navigate.
Ubuntu for mobile looks pretty impressive — Engadget has a video demo here — and it includes some nifty, innovative features. The OS leverages the phone’s entire screen, enabling users to navigate it from the edges of the handset as well as the face, and a dynamic home screen is designed to help users access the content and services they use the most.
The problem for Canonical, though, is that the cutthroat mobile OS market grows more crowded by the day. Android and iOS dominate the space, Microsoft may finally be picking up steam with Windows Phone, and Research In Motion will launch BlackBerry 10 in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, Samsung looks to be throwing some of its muscle behind Tizen, and Mozilla is developing its Firefox OS. Ubuntu will face a huge challenge in finding manufacturer and carrier partners given all that competition.