New software turns Android phone into Ubuntu hardware

Posted by Mark Raby

There is a new trend in smartphones in turning them into computers, and now a new program is bringing the same kind of operating system that real PCs use.

Right now, smartphones that have the ability to dock into a laptop or desktop shell use a specialized OS that doesn't necessarily look and feel like a real computer. But as Netbook News reports, that may soon be a thing of the past.

Canonical's Ubuntu for Android platform literally turns an Android phone into a virtual Ubuntu-powered computer. It only activates the open-source OS when connected to a dock. All other times it functions just like a normal Android phone.

There are all sorts of implications with something like this. First off, the open-source nature of Ubuntu makes it possible for a lot of potential to be unlocked. And even though the idea is to make docking the phone provide a more computer-like experience, all Android apps are functional in the Ubuntu environment.

In addition, things like text messages and incoming calls are still shown if users are in computer mode. All content, like videos, photos, and music, is transferred. There's talk that a phone running this software could be all that companies need to give their employees instead of both a phone and a laptop.

For now, it's all about the software. There has been no confirmation about hardware companies to provide the dock or what the hardware requirements as far as the Android phone. Those things are incidental, though. The important part is that it works and is ready for deployment any day now.

It's expected we'll see more of this at the Mobile World Congress in Spain next week.