Developers Get A Taste of Ubuntu For Tablets This Week

Earlier this month we learned that Ubuntu would be making its way to smartphones, and now parent company Canonical seems to be expanding its mobile presence even further. On Tuesday, the company announced that the developer preview of Ubuntu for tablets will be available on Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 devices starting Feb. 21.

The Ubuntu tablet interface will support screen sizes ranging from 6 inches to 20 inches and resolutions from 100 to 450 pixels per inch, Canonical said in a public statement. The company has yet to reveal any specific hardware partners at this time, but has said that it is recruiting an unnamed silicon company to optimize its chips for the open-source OS.

This launch coincides with the operating system’s mobile preview on Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus smartphones on the same day, as the company announced earlier in February. The software’s official website also boasts that Ubuntu for tablets will be on display at this year’s Mobile World Congress, which takes place from Feb. 25 through 28.

Canonical has posted a dedicated page outlining the new features that will come with Ubuntu for tablets, such as its ability to run phone and tablet apps on one device at the same time. As shown in the photo below, users will be able to chat on Skype while working in a document.

Borrowing a page from BlackBerry 10, Ubuntu for tablets emphasizes the importance of the “no home button” approach. Slates based on the open-source software will not come with physical buttons, meaning that users will have to utilize the gesture-based user interface to switch between apps.

“Everything is available at a swipe,” the website reads.

Canonical also brags that Ubuntu will give tablets extra display real estate to work with by eliminating the need for buttons on every screen. Users can summon necessary buttons or controls by swiping up from the bottom if they wish to do so, allowing photos and video to occupy the entire display.

We had the chance to sample Ubuntu for smartphones at this year’s CES, finding that Canonical’s take on mobile software brings a fresh approach to even the simplest of features. For example, Ubuntu Mobile presents a colorful infographic of a user’s recent activity on the lock screen rather than a traditional wallpaper background with a pass code.

Check out the video below to see Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth showcase Ubuntu for tablets.