Nobody Really Cares About Using Their Phone as a Desktop Computer
reported yesterday that Ubuntu Phone—that is, the smartphone version of the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution—is dead. While technically correct, that's not the whole story; what's really happening is that Ubuntu is abandoning Unity, their in-house desktop environment that also happens to run on smartphones and tablets.
The idea started as Ubuntu for Android way back in 2012
, three years before Microsoft's Continuum
and five years before Samsung's DeX
. And now Ubuntu is dropping it altogether and moving on. You could argue that Ubuntu smartphones never had a chance in a world dominated by Apple and Google, and you'd be right—but you also need to consider the bigger picture. If there was ever an addressable market for phone/computer convergence it would be Linux geeks, but even amongst them I've seen zero evidence of widespread adoption. If you really think about it, it's not hard to see why.
"Hey man, can I unplug the monitor, keyboard and mouse from your computer so I can use my phone instead?"
In an age of Chromebooks, Ultrabooks and cloud computing that just ain't gonna happen. Ever.
As an Ubuntu user myself I'm genuinely bummed that Ubuntu Phone is no more—I didn't much care for the iteration I tested
but I recognize that, for a very niche audience who genuinely care about Free/Libre software, it would have been a welcome alternative to the bigger players. But let's be real here, getting phones to do double duty as desktop computers is ultimately a waste of time and effort for everybody.
Sources: Android Police (1
), Howard Forums
, PC Mag
, The Verge