Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth has made no secret of his plans to make the popular Ubuntu Linux operating system more touchscreen-friendly. The company recently released a tool that makes it easy to install the operating system on the Google Nexus 7 tablet. And last year the company teased software that would let you run Ubuntu on an Android phone, using it like a desktop computer when you plug in a monitor.
Now there’s a countdown timer on the Ubuntu homepage with the message “so close you can almost touch it,” suggesting that a major touch announcement is coming on January 2nd, 2013.
Update: Canonical has introduced Ubuntu Phone OS, a new smartphone operating system which will launch on handsets in 2014. Early builds will be available for existing devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus in the coming weeks.
It’s not clear exactly what the company will announce this week. Ubuntu 13.04 isn’t due out until April, and the next long-term-support version of Ubuntu comes a year after that.
But Shuttleworth has suggested that Ubuntu development in 2013 will be heavily focused on mobile devices including phones and tablets. Maybe Canonical will be announce a hardware partner for Ubuntu on Android soon, maybe there’ll be tools that make installing the operating system on tablets beside the Nexus 7 easier, or maybe there’s something entirely new to announced.
According to a job posting in April, Canonical was looking for people to work on something called “Ubuntu Phone OS,” which could just be another name for Ubuntu on Android. But maybe it’s a special version of Ubuntu designed to run on phones… because what the world needs now is clearly yet another smartphone operating system.