Canonical announces its Ubuntu smartphone OS, aims for complete convergence of computing

Canonical announces its Ubuntu smartphone OS, aims for complete convergence of computing
By Bla1ze on 2 Jan 2013 08:25 pm EST

Back on January 22nd, 2012, when Thorsten Heins took over as President and CEO of Research In Motion, many folks were eager to hear his thoughts on the future of BlackBerry. After the initial breaking in period where he outlined all the upcoming changes, he started to talk more about 'mobile computing' and the 'convergence' of technologies such as smartphones, laptops and desktop computers and how a next generation computing platform was the ultimate goal for Research In Motion. As it turns out, he wasn't the only one thinking of these things.

Over at Canonical, the software maker resposible for the Linux operating system Ubuntu, they've now taken the covers off their Ubuntu smartphones. The magic here, after having been in the works for a while now, is that it's much more than a smartphone OS. It's a complete package that provides a full desktop experience when the phone is connected to a mouse, keyboard and monitor. The goal being that you only need carry your smartphone.

Looking back on things, the specs of phones today excel beyond that of computers a few years ago. With that in mind, it's not hard to imagine running your phone and desktop computer all from one device. In fact, the idea itself isn't new. Motorola tried it with Android and their webtop solution but it failed for them miserably due to it not being done right and Motorola pricing it high enough that it wasn't even a considered purchase for most consumers.

Canonical is doing things a little bit differently and rather than taking it directly to consumers, they're going after two very specific markets as noted in their press release, the high-end superphone, and the entry-level basic smartphone, while working with handset OEMs and mobile operators. 

“We expect Ubuntu to be popular in the enterprise market, enabling customers to provision a single secure device for all PC, thin client and phone functions. Ubuntu is already the most widely used Linux enterprise desktop, with customers in a wide range of sectors focused on security, cost and manageability” said Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical. “We also see an opportunity in basic smartphones that are used for the phone, SMS, web and email, where Ubuntu outperforms thanks to its native core apps and stylish presentation.”

If any of this is starting to sound somewhat familiar, it should. Enterprise has always been a key segment for Research In Motion and the entry-level basic smartphone market is arguably what is helping Research In Motion through their ongoing transition to BlackBerry 10. Plus, this convergence of all things is exactly what Thorsten Heins is speaking of when he mentions a 'next generation mobile computing platform' and that's the heart of sharing this news. Ubuntu smartphone OS looks neat but if Thorsten Heins has his way, it'll be a market Research In Motion is on as well.

The similarities don't stop there either. Just take a look at how Canonical has their OS set up and some of the features it includes:

  • Edge magic: thumb gestures from all four edges of the screen enable users to find content and switch between apps faster than other phones.
  • Deep content immersion - controls appear only when the user wants them.
  • A beautiful global search for apps, content and products.
  • Voice and text commands in any application for faster access to rich capabilities.
  • Both native and web or HTML5 apps.
  • Evolving personalised art on the welcome screen.

As of now, we've yet to see any of this vision that Thorsten Heins has for Research In Motion come about but we're sure to hear about it in the coming months and make no mistake, it's going to be interesting if RIM gets into this arena with QNX and BlackBerry 10. Forget desktops, forget laptops -- just the power of BlackBerry 10 and QNX in your pocket. It's certainly interesting to ponder such things for Research In Motion.

Would you all be willing to give up your laptops, desktops and such for one device that you can carry around in your pocket? I know I would provided it worked well enough. If you're looking for more info on Ubuntu smartphone OS as well as some of the challeneges it faces, check out the links below. To me personally, it sounds like Research In Motion and Canonical should be working together.

Source: Canonical, Android Central (2)

Reader comments

Canonical announces its Ubuntu smartphone OS, aims for complete convergence of computing


Guys, before you get excited or mad at the Ubunto video... Have a look at some of the documentation on QNX out there. It will absolutely amaze you at the potential of QNX. I have no doubt that RIM and QNX have even more in mind that what the above video shows. The bonus is just how efficient and flexible QNX Linux hands down.

For starters take a look at the QNX System Architecture paper (see forum link below)

There are also papers by independent third parties that benchmark QNX to other Operating Systems (including Android, Linux and Windows) on the exact same hardware... You really get an idea of just how efficient QNX is.

I've uploaded the documents in a forum thread for your viewing pleasure! Check out in the forums "!QNX! Comparison of QNX, Android, Linux RT and Windows CE7 on ARM Processor".

I honestly thought that the Motorola Android Webtop was pretty ingenious. Having that kind of computing power in your pocket and it being ultra efficient as a desktop AND ultra portable combines the best of both worlds. I'd give up both of them to have that kind of tech in my pocket, but as previously stated...if done right. I think that technology was like Bob Marley music...way ahead of its time, but once fully integrated into areas like airports, banks, classrooms, colleges, business offices, then that would be very primo! It's like NFC...awesome practicality at the commercial level, but at the consumer level it wasn't quite there yet. We are now seeing how the customer level could be engaged in the NFC world. It kills me how people are going crazy over it now that its in the SGS3, when its been in the 99xx for two years now...but once again...ahead of itself at the consumer level.

This is very interesting.

I think the current platform that stands to lose the most market share to a mobile Ubuntu would be Android.

The first adopters of that OS were the tech-savvy those who liked tinkering with their systems. Ubuntu would be the new go-to for that crowd.

I see it going no where..ubuntu has been a tech enthusiast OS but for smartphones it is a different story unlike desktops where you can't build your own phone or buy a barebone phone, the big question is who would license it when there are so many well established names already backing popular open source projects like Android and open WebOS etc..combined these companies has some solid patents to defend themselves and their vendors

But that's exactly where it all gets interesting. What if Canonical and RIM teamed up, someway.. somehow? They appear to share the same visions. That's why I wrote this long winded article, lol. The possibilities. 

Not saying that's what is happening by any means, but it's certainly something to think about. Canonicals open source ideals will clash with some, RIM could help in that area. If RIMtruly believes in going forward with this, they should be surrounded with like minded people.

what does Canonical know about mobile business or enterprise security or something that RIM doesn't know or have? RIM already has what it needs and I see no reason whatsoever to partner with them.

A partnership needs to be give and take. I don't see anything Canonical could offer RIM.
Working with RIM would be great for Canonical, but for RIM... not so much.

What Canonical has that Blakberry doesn't is a Desktop OS. Blackberry needs a Desktop OS user interface built on BB10. So, when you dock your BB10 device it turns into your Desktop.

I see your point but RIM would be better without Canonicals, at least in the short term. Canonicals is 12-24 mths away away from anything concrete imho.

RIM/Thor sees the trend and is acting on it, ahead of the curve in some respects, so best to get out there with a solid foundation and negotiate from strength, if at all.

Also I don't think it's an ideal match, basic underlying thoughts to some degree but I just don't see the synergy from a corporate level.

Bright side is the trend away from a stand alone PC continues, so I'm sure down the road many more players will be going the route RIM is, that helps solidify the trend and defacto makes RIM the leader as such.

Leaders don't merge/partner most times when they lead in a particular field. All imho. :)

Besides we are just a few days away from BB10 launch, why are we talking about this,lol. Cabin fever? ;)

Or what if Google, Apple or Microsoft simply bought it. Cause that's what I think of when small cap companies create innovative products but don't have nearly enough resources to bring something as big as this to market.

What about the apps on this new OS? Could they be downloaded from any of the app stores? Or are they all native?

I love the thought of this. What if Canonical did a QNX Desktop for Blackberry? Canonical knows Desktop. Blackberry knows mobile hardware, security, and enterprise. Android was the low hanging fruit for Canonical, since they both share a Linux kernel. What's to say that Canonical couldn't do a Ubuntuesqe OS on QNX? Otherwise Blacckberry is going to have to do their own Desktop OS. Microsoft, Apple, and Google are all going to converge their Desktop and Mobile OS's.

Canonical has nothing to worry about. Techies like me will buy a Nexus 4 and flash the phone with Ubuntu. And I hate Android and don't own a single Android device!!

That's always the niche crowd Ubuntu has catered to, anyway. PC Ubuntu rarely comes preinstalled on any computers. Ubuntu/Linux fans who want Ubuntu will know how to find a way to get our hands with it.

Though it interesting that native apps for this mobile Ubuntu system will be made with QML/C++.
Sound familiar? Yup, same as cascades for BB10.

The use of bezel gestures for navigation also looks familiar.

Yeah they are taking a very similar position there to the one RIM has chosen. Give HTML 5 apps system access and support for leading open standards.

That's a good thing because the more companies that jump on that bandwagon the better it is for BlackBerry World and the worse it is for systems that do not support leading standard for development. If a Dev can make an app using QML/C++ and distribute that app with little to no modification in 4 stores, they are going to be more likely to develop using these tools. That's good news for BlackBerry world

I'm glad you brought this up Blaze. RIM has to keep well on it's force cause the competition is getting stronger. They need to realize that it is much bigger than Apple and Google. These OS's such as Tizen and Ubuntu want to take over cars, TV's, etc... RIM has got to put its foot down and fast!

I really hope those rumors that pop up every now and then that RIM is working diligently on an Apple TV competitor are true. RIM definitely needs to get BB 10 or at least something app compatible with BB 10 on more screens. RIM should be doing everything in its power to ensure that Automakers and OEMs using QNX Car 2 maintain app compatibility with BB 10. If RIM really wants to make a play at becoming a mobile computing company it needs to define the terms to it's Partners and make sure that they maintain compatibility with RIM's own products. Or better yet, I'd love to have a QNX powered home monitoring system installed and control it with my Playbook and BB 10 phone. I'd love to have BlackBerry 10 on my TV and in my car's center console. RIM needs to quickly figure out how to turn these little hobbies of theirs into real, consumable products.

Hmm wonder if we will see something similar sooner, like January 30th. RIM will have mobile computing out then!

I shared similar thoughts when reading the announcement. That OS is targeting RIM's segments by offering a much more flexible and standards based solution. No vendor has managed to deliver a really secure Android. You have to have the team of experts in-house if you really want control the flow of company data.
It will be am interesting battle in 2014, if RIM hasn't been split by then.


what standards are you talking about? and what is BB10 missing? Canonical is barely surviving with meager revenues and you think they really can do something which Google failed to do?

Cascades is more than just QML though. It's a lot of pre-engineered UI elements that make it easy for people to develop applications with BB10 styling. It'll be interesting how this goes.

that's 100% is a framework, same on the lines of Java which is a language but Spring, struts, hibernate, axis are some well known frameworks

Thought I also read somewhere that Canonical was planning for an Android emulator as well? A little too familiar perhaps??

It's taking the best of both worlds of BB and Android... which hmmmm both run on a UNIX shell... So Ubuntu coming on the scene is basically taking all the foundations both BB10 and Android run on and make them their own.

They even copy and mimic peak and flow... which is rather interesting, and gestures.

I used to use Ubuntu on my computer, but wasn't a huge linux geek, so I deleted it.

i love my BlackBerry and am extremly excited for BB10, but being a linux PC user, IF BlackBerry ends up being sold to Dell or someone and the company goes downhill, i would be most interested in a ubuntu phone over a iOS or android device. i LOVE my BlackBerry and i LOVE my linux...hmmmmmm

The things that annoy me about Android are the same things that annoyed me when we used Ubuntu as our main PC for a year. There are some crazy good apps on both platforms but when there is a problem, getting to the bottom of it is a pain in the arse.

I would have been all over a tablet or smartphone back when unity first took the place of gnome, but instead Mark Shuttleworth and his Debian derivative wasted time and money marketing Ubuntu TV and dragged out the obvious turn to mobile.

If the PlayBook could be about twice as good as it is now the TV out (without having to have airplay) is a good way to make the all in one system possible. Bridged with my phone as alittle keyboard and remote It is a cool little system. If the office suite had a few more features on the PB and a little bit more computing power between my PB and BB phone combo I would never fire up my CrunchBang (#!) powered laptop...

Frankly i have always been surprised at the lack of discussion on this very point when Thorsten has been talking 'mobile computing' for months, especially when the playbook is clearly aimed at this space with the mouse functionality, the built-in HDMI port and apps like Citrix receiver. It is the way it needs to go and RIM seems to be out in front from the OS side, but they need to make it a full solution from a hardware standpoint. I would LOVE to ditch the laptop AND the playbook in favour of just a phone with low cost ($150-$200) docking stations everywhere i work. The phone hardware is largely there and the playbook OS is already adequate for the task, but there is no docking port solution. Give me a docking port i can stick the phone on (like the Motorola Atrix) that gives me a 20" monitor, keyboard, and mouse and this is a real world solution for enterprise. There are so many benefits to this approach i can't list them here!

IMO they would need to partner with someone like RIM because of the carrier relationships and experience in the mobile business. The only problem I see with this venture is capital. I can't even imagine how many patents they would have to license and how many investors would be ready to invest for a vision. As well when is this launching because if its 2014 by then I'm sure the Aristo will be released and if anybody remembers that smartphone dock that RIM patented they would be doing nearly the same thing. HMMM well I guess we will just have to wait and see. 2014 is going to be really interesting and not just for RIM but for the whole smartphone industry.

It looks like a really well advanced OS, much better than the existing ones. I see this one being the competition for RIMM more than the existing ones.

Why does this feel like a hint or a subliminal leak? I'm not saying that BB10 will be this but, definitely can see similar features being presented on Jan 30th. nerds help me out....I thought Android WAS Linux-based....that's why I've always been so surprised when people talk about the $hitty security of Android...because I run Ubuntu side-by-side with windows....when I want to surf the internet, I restart and choose Ubuntu....when I want to do some word processing, I choose windows. Android a Linux-based kernel? And if so, why does it's security suck? If it isn't...what IS it based on?

Okay, Android is based on Linux but here are the problems with Android:
1. Google is very lax on which apps make it into market and which ones don't.
2. The apps and environment (correct me if wrong) are running in a java virtual machine. Meaning Linux wouldn't be harmed but the environment you are using would be.
3. The OS is not geared towards enterprise, so not as many security features intergrated into the OS, it is geared towards consumers.
4. No matter what you use, if you allow something malicious to run on an OS, it will be compromised! So I believe that some, if not most, are rooted which means it'll give access to processes. On ubuntu you use sudo to give a process root access which allows it to modify your setup or OS. If you don't sudo the process will not have that sort of power.
Hope it explains. If you want to stay safe just use common sense, don't say yes to something you did not triger, and stay away from bad websites, aka porn.

Why does everyone always assume it's porn sites that have the malicious apps? Everyone say's "But I don't look at porn so how did I get that Trojan?"

Well probably because you use facebook. That site has more malicious apps then all porn sites combined. But of course that's only common sense because if you're trying to steal personal information or gain access to computers to redistribute your code, you want to target the largest user base possible and that's facebook. Plus, people have been harping on porn sites for almost two decades now and so most people know better then to click on a pop-up on a porn site. But just come up with a fake news story about John Cena being dead and circulate it on facebook, and viola, you have access to tens of millions of computers over night.

Yeah, to much jerking off will make you blind with hairy palms, but at least warn people about real threats that they are likely to encounter rather then just defaulting to blaming the porn industry. I agree that common sense is the best defense, but one needs to exercise caution everywhere.

+1 I haven't had a virus or anything for years without any shitty norton security running. And I watch porn 24/7 lol. But my mom and grandmas computers are complete garbage because they have a dozen virus's recording and sending information all the time. And all they use is facebook and email.

-instant messaging
-office suite (libreoffice)
-Media Player, sound recorder
-Web browser
-Tons of applications
-Ability to customize the shit out of anything that's possible with utilities accessible in the ubuntu software Centre.
You don't even need windows anymore.

I couldn't even finish watching this. This is BB10 and nothing more!!! Why would they do this right before BB10 drops!!!! Screw these idiots. We all need to boycott!!! What a ripoff! I hope RIM files a lawsuit!!! This prick even sounds like Thornsten. Come on let's Rock n Roll this BB10!

yea I realized that too. They copied a lot of different oses that are already out there and if Apple has anything to do with it, they will see a lot of lawsuits come 2014.

Really, I was not impressed. Does this mean we should expect some from the ubuntu camp to start posting here, oh gawd, is there not a ubuntu fan website someplace, I'll even pay for the domain,lol.

I am hardly from the ubuntu camp, two Bold 9900's and three PB's in my campground...

Just saying that the video was impressive and I wish something like this was done by RIM.

I can at least respect some quality marketing when I see it.

Roflmao, call me when unbuntu has a $Billion for marketing, you aint seen nothing yet, hang on to your hat, RIM ... itsa comin!

Great marketing,lol,reminded me of an oxy-clean commercial,almost looked like him, but hey, just sayin.

As for "camp", was not referring to you in particular, ease up, ubu all you like. Myself, shiny objects don't do it for me. :)

I want the real deal BB10, not some cheesy half backed, copy cat knock off trying to take advantage of BB10 launch by doing PR a few weeks ahead of BB10, so lame, more so considering ubu is 12-24 months out,lol.

I am all onboard with the concept. I was figuring this is what Thorstein was talking about back when he was using the term mobile computing. I think that is the way it WILL go and BB10 and Canonical can help drive it that way. I think that even if Canonical is not successful, it will help turn people's way of thinking around. About 10 years ago I was hoping form some sort of larger tablet that I could dock my Palm into that would give me a bigger screen to view, but all the data and computing power would reside on my Treo. Today I have my BB cellphone and Playbook. I look forward to the day where all my data and computing is done on one device that I can connect to peripherals that can enhance features as needed. No more duplicity needed!

^yep, convergence of mobile device and desktop pc/laptop is upon us. Windows, Apple, and Google are close. Is Blackberry?

I pretty much only us my 9930 and PB for everything. Extremely specific things that need a pc I use but other than that just my mobiles. So yes I would give it up since I pretty much did 4 years ago

Same here, 9900 + PB for everything unless a specific need to use a pc arises. This has been since I bought my PB on launch date. BlackBerry all the way!

After wathing this video it makes me belive even more that bb10 will succeed as lots of great ideas and UI is part of bb10. As some VPs said that market likes new, innovation and guess what who will be there before anyone else ? RIM, in few weeks. The open source and Ubunto is all great but none of open source suceeded, ask redhat and few others, MS won;t let them win.
Most of great stuff from this video already part of BB10, not sure who copied here, RIM copied these guys or these guys copied RIM.

Fellow BB fans, this may just be what is needed to get RIM/BB/QNX to push the mobile computing platform. So they have the rest of 2013 to get it all setup, so when Ubuntu finally goes live, RIM alreadyhas foothold (as apple did with the ipad) and Ubuntu will have something to be compared to and not be the standard.

BUT! lets 1st get BB10 launched and out in the hands of the masses and I hope it comes standard with automatic background (i.e. silent install) OS updates, instead of 10.1, then 10.2 etc.

When we look at the IOS environment, with desktop, laptop, tablet, and phone, they are closest to the whole unified concept. That being said, in my estimation, they have missed the boat, and certainly have not, I believe, marketed the whole mobile computing platform concept like Thorsten has. It is like the whole concept is now reaching top of mind awareness, with mindshare growing. Ubuntu will help create the "need". The advantage is that BlackBerry is poised, with BB10, to meet that mindshare.

I would say Apple, Microsoft, and Google are closer to a mobile computing platform. Why? because they have all the parts. They have desktop OS, a mobile device OS, and the hardware or partners hardware to run it on. Blackberry has a beautiful mobile OS, Foxconn is taking care of hardware, but what about BB10 Desktop OS? Can you dock a BB10 device and it becomes a Desktop OS that is equivalent or better than Windows, Apple OS X, or Canonical Ubuntu?

I really hope RIM has a successful BB10 launch, enough for them to be able to look around and diversify.

I think there is a real opportunity with QNX, they should expand BB10 and offer it in more shapes and sizes.

Probably offer a new Tablet with new capabilities, a Wacom Digitizer, a Keyboard Dock with extra Battery and Ports, a fresher more Desktop Friendly User Interface, a touch of Eye Candy, and Suite of Desktop friendly Productivity Applications like Office, Multimedia Creation Tools.

Same news on 3 different sites from mobile nations (WP Central missed it):
imore "Canonical announces Ubuntu phones. No, seriously."
androidcentral: "The Ubuntu phone's time, if ever, is now - not in 2014"
crackberry: "Canonical announces its Ubuntu smartphone OS, aims for complete convergence of computing"

Looks like CrackBerry is the only adequate community on Mobile Nations (just look at the comments)

The idea behind all this is "revolutionnized personnal computing". This is something I've been thinking about for a while. Todays major computing companies won't revolutionize anything, they are not creative enough. Intel won't revonutionize anything, Microsoft won't as well, Google won't nor Apple will. We need new comers with new ideas and new solutions.
I really think that RIM with its QNX/BB10 Micro-kernel OS should closely work with Texas Instruments proividing its powerfull and efficient computing Platforms (ARM Cortex-A15 + DSP C66x + SGX+...). Together, they have the solutions to revolutionize home or personal computing by creating the "intelligent, universal, distributed" plateform : one computer for one home, connected to the web and distributing video to home TV's and screens, music to home loudspeakers and devices, and runnings apps for every electronics devices at home, smartphones, tablets, screens and keyboards. All by air connections wherever you are in the world, using Open-VG, Open-GL, Open-CL, html5 standards.

Google, Apple, and Microsoft will be just fine. Just wait when the iPhone, iPad, and iMac converge, or when the Windows Phone, Surface, and PC converge. Blackberry's got BB10 which I think is the best kernel, lets just see what they an do with it. Whoever can do the my phone is a smart phone and a desktop computer the best wins.

So let me understand this.. once BB10 is released on the phones end of this month and RIM gets it running on the Playbook.. then all they need to do is get it running on a desktop/notebook platform and you'll essentially have the same capability as ubuntu. Especially with Enterprise with 2 distinct profiles and high security. Is this correct? ..or am I missing something here?

I think it looks interesting, but other than the 3 recently used apps and the one swipe to get to one, I am not seeing a very good multi-tasking option here. It is just like Windows 8, but Windows 8 at least offers the ability to see your open apps in a app tray. I agree that Android is done. They have peaked! All that is keeping that platform alive are the spec sheets that retailers market as must haves or your phone is junk. I still use a single core 1.5 GHz processor with 512MB RAM and it works just fine. I made this point to my uncle last night, ask any random SGIII owner what 1gb of RAM does for their phone (or what RAM is for that matter) and what dual core means, they will have no clue. People are also starting to want intuitiveness and not power which is why BB10 will take back the market. It will never go back to number 1 but will hold firm to number 3 then maybe back to 2.

Never say never, IM4CHRST. None of us knows what the future holds. Years ago not many people ever thought Apple would survive let alone thrive or that IBM would be a non-entity in the computing field. I do not necessarily disagree with your projection for RIM's place in the mobile world, but stranger things have happened. Let us hope that we are under-projecting RIM's performance.

did anyone watch the video? is it me or doesn't some of the gestures look like BB10? also, didn't everyone talk this way about apple a few short years ago! Just sayin'

Hmm "Just Announced"? I've seen the option on Ubuntu's site to load their OS on your Android Device for at least 6 months now...As well as loading it on Smart TV's and of course on your computer. Anyways, if anything ever does happen to RIM (which nothing will) this is gonna be my runner up for a cell phone, becuase I used Ubuntu and aside from the lack of ability to run all windows applications (most run well using WINE), it was pretty awesome to use, not to mention the fact that my playbook doesn't connect to my windows PC anymore but when I used it with Ubuntu I could easily transfer files.

Windows needs to be fully clean installed to get it to detect the playbook. Happened to me on more than one occasion. But... You could install virtualbox and then connect your playbook do that and use windows seamlessly on ubuntu to manage it.

I think the best way to handlel all of this would be to basically have a QNX based "home theater pc". A central server which would allow interconnectivity between blackberry10, mac and windows pcs, as well as media distrubution to internet connected tv's and other devices via wifi. This central server can also be used to integrate with the connected home innovations coming from qnx. I would like to see this server having it's own OS which can be utilized via any tv in the house and controlled from a blackberry 10 device, or better yet any device with a bluetooth HID profile(I use my 9900 as a mouse/keyboard for my htpc running windows 7 now).

You could stream all of your media from your home server to your smartphone or tablet. It would basically be a personal "cloud". All of your devices could back up there. It should be offered with compatibility to both mac and windows for media streaming, backup and content sync and ideally it should play nice with ios and android as well. Make something everyone in the house hold can utilize. One of my biggest issues is that I use a blackberry, my wife uses a galaxy 3 and my dad uses an iphone. I should be able to push content to/from/through any of these.

QNX has a phenominal ability for interconnectivity and I want to see that put to full use.

Let's face it... Ubuntu has a long way to go with this. If RIM is getting flack for not having enough apps, imagine what Ubuntu will be going through. Also, Ubuntu does not have 79 Million Subscribers currently using their phones. And when it comes to owning patents, they are a now a little late to be jumping on the bandwagon. They'll be sued to kingdom come.

If Blackberry wasn't my #1 choice, I would go with the Ubuntu phone. I do not want to support android, and I'm definitely not about jump ship to an iPhone.

But I'm a linux user, and I love ubuntu and it's ecosystem (I'm already tied to it). I love anything open-source.

That said, I only see this as a competitor to the Android platform. It is a casual experience platform for consumers as I see it.

I imagine the mobile Ubuntu software lacks apps, as well as a unified inbox (i.e. hub), and NFC support.

This will definitely become a good alternative, but I can't imagine it will compete with a household name such as Blackberry. Small businesses? Sure, they may start using this (the low cost may be the benifit that offsets the risks with experiencing issues with limited customer support from an open-source developer with few employees! i.e. Canonical)

I could see people hacking their Ubuntu phones and using different window managers and all that, like I do with my desktop pc. Pekwm, fluxbox, sawfish, gnome classic (I don't like unity), gnome shell, and all those other applications included. Heck, different TTY's within a keystroke (ctrl-alt-f1 to ctrl-alt-f8) and multiple terminals. Damn yes!!! But I'll stick to my blackberry and playbook.

Mobile computing is the future. Convergence is the future. Windows is going to get there, Apple is going to get there, Google is going to get there. Imagine a Windows phone that docks and it's also your desktop. Same for Apple, your iphone is also your iMac, Your Android phone is also your Linux Desktop. So Blackberry when you dock can you be a desktop? If you are just a phone, and can't be a laptop / desktop replacement than umm... hmm....? Ubuntu is coming from the desktop to the mobile world. Apple and Windows have Desktops OS's and Mobile devices. Blackberry has a beautiful mobile device OS with QNX. QNX needs to be mobile device OS, Desktop OS, and auto mobile OS. I truly hope Blackberry is not late to the party with a converged device that is your phone, your desktop, and the brain for your car.