back to article Canonical: Ubuntu tablets due early 2011

Ubuntu-based tablets could hit the market as early as the first quarter of 2011, says a Canonical exec. "The devices world is a really exciting space right now and we're really bullish on it," Canonical VP of alliances and OEM services told Network World. Kenyon's comments jibe with what he told The Reg last month: that …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    "The devices world is a really exciting space right now and we're really bullish on it," Canonical VP of alliances and OEM services told Network World.

    Dyslexia aside, you forgot the "t" in bull ish. Seems to be a common problem amongst Tablet Suppliers - could tell me again why a dumbed-down for a market niche open source OS fork is a good idea ?

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Did Anybody else?

    ""The devices world is a really exciting space right now and we're really bullish on it," "

    Did anybody else read that as "... we're really bullshit on it" ?

  3. Death to iShite

    Yet more Jobs-inspired Snake Oil...

    Outside of a few Apple worshippers, who really cares about these things? Show me something they can do that a £250 Aspire One can't and I might take them a tiny bit more seriously.

    Canonical would do better fixing all the problems they've introduced into 10.04 for those of us with Intel chipsets than wasting time on this crap.

    1. The BigYin

      One idea

      Hospitals. iPads (as one examples) have few nooks and crannies for muck to collect in, so may be a low infection risk. They could be used by doctors on rounds to quickly access all patient records at their bed side (X-Rays, scans etc). It doesn't have to be an iPad of course, just something "clean" and it isn't not clean enough, place it in a sealed bag (these exists and the touch screen still works).

      Can't do that with the netbook form factor.

      iPads et al will not change the planet overnight, but there will be uses for them.

    2. Cameron Colley

      RE: Yet more Jobs-inspired Snake Oil...

      What they can't do that any old generic netbook can't is look flashy and be "fun" to use.

      If you ask someone who owns an Apple device what it can do that any other generic device of that type can't they just show you the flashy interface and a couple of games that take advantage of the accelerometer to make things move around the screen.

    3. Matt Bradley

      A few examples

      "Show me something they can do that a £250 Aspire One can't and I might take them a tiny bit more seriously."

      How about selling millions of units in a couple of days.

      Or perhaps that iPad can do a level of instant ease of use which the Aspire one can't even BEGIN to approach.

      Oh yeah, and then there's touch. And battery life. And elegant simplicity.

      I'd suggest taking tablets VERY seriously. Whether you like iPad or not. Home computing will become easier, and touch is a significant part of that change.

    4. Volker Hett

      change from landscape to portrait and back

      to read a PDF without a keyboard on the side.

    5. Jean-Paul

      Page of A4

      Well a £250 Aspire One can't display a full page of A4 that you can read easily, let alone comment on....

    6. Lord Elpuss Silver badge


      "Show me something they can do that a £250 Aspire One can't and I might take them a tiny bit more seriously"

      They can do touch-enabled stuff, for one. Questioning the market niche is one thing, but comparing them like-for-like to a boggo netbook is just daft.

      On a side note, laugh at tablets all you want but it wasn't that long ago that Ken Olsen (founder of DEC) said "There's no reason for anybody to need a computer in their home", or that Bill Gates (allegedly) said "There's no need for a computer to have more than 640K RAM", or even that Thomas J Watson (Chairman, President, IBM) said "I think there's a world market for about 5 computers".

      The planet is changing and becoming smarter, and today's pointless toy may well be tomorrow's game-changer.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Quote: "the digital home or something you carry around". But you can wipe smartphones off that list: "We're not thinking about the phone base," Kenyon told us.

    Erm, how come they have not noticed yet that a phone is something that you can actually carry around these days. It was about 1990 when that was a debatable point. I guess Linux has not advanced much since then....ouch!

    Ubuntu will remain a side-show on consumer devices with continued strange logic like this and adherence to quasi-religious mindsets adhering to certain mantra. I have personally been seriously waiting for an MS replacement for at least the 5 years and i feel that waiting another 5 years will not make much difference in that.

    C'mon open source guys, get on consumer devices full and proper and get us real MS alternatives for serious, ubuntu, openoffice, evolution and gimp are simply not good enough yet.

    1. Volker Hett

      How much are you prepared to pay?

      Or how much time would you invest to work on something which fits your needs?

      Gimp and Abiword work just fine for my retouching and letter writing needs, KDEs PIM has all I need for mail and calendaring and contact management. More than what Outlook has, like mail filters running on the server instead on the client.

      And since we're talking tablets, where's Microsoft at the moment? Obviously not where consumers want it :)

    2. James Hughes 1

      So, not used the latest Ubuntu then?

      As an OS is really is pretty good. Most of the apps are pretty good too - the majority of people can easily use OpenOffice as an Office replacement. There are gaps - a decent video editor that doesn't crash would be good, but these things improve at a rate that would put Windows paid for development to shame.

      As to good enough - my AP uses Ubuntu/OO etc and is getting on fine. He doesn't have to worry about viruses, and has all the apps he needs. So, yes, it is good enough, but, and this is the real killer, its getting better all the time.

      I use Ubuntu, my other half uses Vista - she is constantly swearing at her almost new machine as it chugs along, constantly dropping network connections, locking up, or slowing to a crawl. I have one to two issues, but I know which I would rather be using.

    3. Martin Owens


      Get Microsoft to stop the corruption, the closed market and the FUD.

      Little hard to complain at Ubuntu for not doing it's best with a couple of billion in production still not being good enough, where's your wallet eh?

      We don't stand a chance and you know it, it's got nothing to do with quality of product and everything to do with monopoly.

      So we have to keep spending money on making chances until one of them works.

  5. James Cooke
    Thumb Down

    Where's the apps?

    As much as I'd like a full featured linux on a tablet this is completely useless unless there are touch friendly apps. The current Ubuntu netbook remix would be most of the way there in terms of finger friendliness but that breaks down with the first program you launch.

    This is why iOS, Android, Meego et al are currently the only likely players in the tablet market.

  6. Scott 9

    I don't get tablets

    They seem to have been a stillborn product for over a decade, yet they keep coming around as the next big thing, this time most likely as "competition" to the iPad. Yet for the life of me the only advantage I see is to have a smallish display to poke with a finger or stylus as you navigate around. Otherwise I'd much rather have an old-tech laptop. Everything else is a disadvantage, from the horrible on-screen keyboards to needing a protection or enclosure to keep that exposed screen from getting damaged to having to learn gestures and the like to use the screen. Also, Heaven help you if you have dry fingers and the screen doesn't register, but eh, I guess the marketing people know what they're doing, right?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      it's magical and revolutionary

      haven't you always wished you could read email while you watch TV? No?

      Okay bad example... well maybe there's some reason why you would want to watch TV on it, as you sit in front of your actual TV which will be turned off? No again?

      But I'm SURE you want to play music on it, it's just like your regular mp3 player if that were the size of a baking tray. No?

      ...I've got nothing.

  7. toor


    This sounds disturbingly like like a fast track to confused, bandwagon-jumping GUI fragmentation, does canonical really have the resources to be chasing all these different targets? Hopefully they'll get it right so that I can have multi-touch on my desktop or whatever cut-down interface is developed for smaller tablets on my 30" LCD monitor if I really want but what on Earth is the point of (what I thought was?) a desktop-centric distro chasing "in-car systems" and "set-top-boxes" (slightly more understandable I guess)?

    For the sake of full disclosure I'm a Red Hat "fan" but Canonical efforts towards providing a "it-just-works", polished desktop Linux distro have been very important and can clearly be seen influencing other distros like Fedora but I just don't get this?

    Are they aiming for Apple-like device OS ubiquity? So you'd have Ubuntu on your Desktop, tablet (something I consider a fad anyway), STB and car so that you can sync your MP3 collection over to your car when you park it on the drive and then control the music server with your tablet?

  8. M Gale

    Maverick Meerkat?

    That bloody car insurance company has a lot to answer for.


  9. Anonymous Coward


    Not UBUNTI, because the word "Ubuntu" is not derived from any Latin word (so far as I know - it's of African origin)

    Mine's the one with the Latin-English, English-Latin dictionary in the pocket.

  10. Mr Brush

    A head start?

    To make a decent dent in the iPad as 'market leader', customers need to have choice now. By next year his Jobsness will have anyone who wants a tablet by the balls.

    I'd like a tablet now (the wife wants one too after seeing the iPad ads), but the only real option is the fruity one. Personally, I won't touch an Apple product with a barge pole, but Joe Public won't be so picky.

    By the time the alternatives turn up, anyone who wants one have sold their soul to Steve.

  11. Change can be good

    Ubuntu everywhere!

    "Canonical was prepping Unbuntu for in-car systems, tablets, set-top-boxes"

    Ubuntu is already running on Desktops, laptops, serves and soon to be on Tablets, in-car systems, set-top-boxes.

    :) Wow, complete, integrated...

    These are indeed exciting changes.

    Not foraying in the smart phone market is a smart move as I feel it is over-crowded with competitors.

  12. TWB
    Thumb Up

    I'm an Apple fan but...

    ...I am not that keen on the iPad. Physically I like it and I think what it does, it does well, but I don't want to use it the way it is designed - I would get one if it ran more like my macbook with a more 'normal' OS X (or Windows or Linux) installation.

    So I welcome other 'Pads - I think they would make brilliant media centre controllers.

  13. indicator

    ubuntu is the plural....

    abantu is the singular, while ubuntu is already in the plural form.

  14. Robert Ramsay

    I will believe it...

    ...when they can make my netbook wifi run out of the box without having to recompile the drivers or wrap the Windows wifi drivers...

  15. James Hughes 1

    Whhooo Hooo

    Been waiting for a cheap Ubuntu or Android tablet for ages (since well before the iPad). Now perhaps it's on its way!

  16. James Geldart

    compared to netbooks...

    I'm sure the iPad will do streaming video much better than my £250 Acer. And it'd be nice sometimes to be able to sit on the sofa and browse the internet on a decent size touch screen rather than fiddling with a trackpad.

    But personally, if I want a machine of that size, I want a fully-featured OS not the restricted, closed sh*te that runs on my iPhone, so I won't be getting an iPad but will be really interested to see what Ubuntu have to offer.

    And, OpenOffice 3.1 is far easier to user than Office 2007, it's just that Microsoft hijacked the open file formats so anyone using it who doesn't know what they're doing gets files which other people can't read

  17. informavorette

    A tablet doesn't have a mouse

    Sadly, one of the weakest points of Ubuntu as an everyday desktop OS is its touch and multitouch support. And this is a crucial success factor for tablets. It is bad enough to have a device without right click when the app developers have that in mind, like the old Palm PDAs. But using normal applications on a non-right-click-device is maddening (I've been using and cursing Fennec since its release).

    Since November, I've been trying to get a sensible multi-touch support for my desktop PC with a Wacom tablet. I am consistently failing, despite upgrading to Lucid the week it came out and despite writing a 150+ lines Xorg.conf by hand. And the driver I am using is the best one available for all wacom and non-wacom touch devices alike.

    So if Canonical would have to set a developer team on a new, improved touch driver and have it written, tested and working out-of-the-box before October (I know the xf86-input-wacom guys are working on it, but I don't think they will be that quick). If this isn't the case, any Maverick tablets will just create bad reputation for Linux tablets . And this would be sad, because the market could use some non-restrictive gadgets in iPad size.

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