You may remember I tested a few Ubuntu phones last year and I was a little underwhelmed with it. I felt that the software needed a bit more work to give it enough pizazz to take on the likes of Android and iOS in what is already a very crowded market.
So the team at Canonical have been busy beavering away on this project and have refused to let it go. During this time, they have made some significant improvements, including the ability for the system to replicate a full computing experience, however, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.
The M10 Tablet is coming from BQ, the OEM that was behind two of the three existing Ubuntu devices currently on the market. They have essentially taken their 10″ Android tablet and shoehorned Ubuntu onto it. The announcement for this device went out a few days ago, but it was still missing the price. However, we did get to see some picture of it and also the specs that this will be based on.
Let’s see what’s under the hood:
- 10.1-inch multi-touch screen
- MediaTek Quad Core MT8163A processor up to 1.5GHz
- High capacity Li-Poly battery (7280mAh)
- Full HD (1080p) camera for super-sharp video recording
- 2GB RAM and 16GB internal memory
- MicroSD slot for extra storage (up to 64GB)
- 8-megapixel rear camera with autofocus and 5-megapixel front camera
- Front facing speakers
- Micro HDMI slot
- Dimensions: 246 x 171 x 8.2mm
- Lightweight at only 470g
I think it is fair to say that these are not exactly the most showstopping specs, but that is not a bad thing as Ubuntu is very light in terms of requirements. It also means that chances are the price will not be too high. We have also learned that this time around you will be able to buy the device without an invite or having to break any codes etc.
Where this really comes into its own however is when you are using the tablet in conjunction with a keyboard and mouse. Very much like what Microsoft are doing with “Continuum”, Canonical have been working on “Convergence”, which is their the way of making the tablet into a desktop. The big difference is that this time around it seems to be a full desktop.
We are talking about full access to Linux programs on either the tablet or an external display via the Micro HDMI slot. So you could be using the Scopes interface whilst out and about but then when you get back to your office/workspace etc, you can get cracking on with work on a full desktop UI. LibreOffice, Mozilla Firefox, The GIMP and Gedit are among a ‘curated collection of legacy apps’ to ship pre-installed on the tablet.
I have some high hopes to see what this machine is capable of, and I hope to get the chance to get hands-on with it at is upcoming unveiling at MWC in Barcelona in a few weeks time.
In the meantime, if you want to find out more about this tablet then check out Ubuntu’s site for more info and the chance to register your interest.
- Ubuntu launches the first in a series of converged devices alongside European partner, BQ
- Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet brings full Ubuntu experience to life
- Ubuntu is the only platform that runs both a mobile-based full touch interface and a true PC experience from a single smart device
Canonical’s long held vision of a single, converged personal computing experience took an important step forward today with the launch of the first fully converged Ubuntu device – the Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet. Shipping with the latest Ubuntu software, the device features a dynamically adaptive user experience, capable of providing both a true tablet experience and the full Ubuntu desktop experience.
Ubuntu is already firmly established as the preferred desktop experience of over 30 million users worldwide. The first three models of Ubuntu phones quickly sold out when they hit the market last year. With this latest software release and the launch of the Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition, Ubuntu is now the only platform that runs both a mobile-based full touch interface and a true PC experience from a single smart device. This gives device manufacturers the opportunity to create true device convergence and bring the full power of personal computing to modern touch-based mobile devices.
Jane Silber, Canonical CEO said: “We’re bringing you everything you’ve come to expect from your Ubuntu PC, now on the tablet with BQ, soon on smartphones. This isn’t a phone interface stretched to desktop size – it’s the right user experience and interaction model for the given situation. Also, in terms of applications, we have something no other OS can provide: a single, visual framework and set of tools for applications to run on any type of Ubuntu smart device.”
Key Ubuntu convergence features
Building on the secure, reliable core of Ubuntu, the native Ubuntu tablet experience also features the ability to access content and services readily through scopes, as popularised on Ubuntu Phone. Hundreds of apps and scopes are already available in the Ubuntu App Store. Additionally, the tablet “side stage” feature allows you to view two different applications on the same screen, with each intuitively optimised for available tablet screen space.
Further convergence features include:
- Effortless multitasking and window management;
- Full range of desktop applications and thin client support for mobility and productivity;
- Integrated services with desktop notifications;
- Ability to manage applications and easily organise favoured ones for fast access;
- Simple file browsing, file and folder creation and management;
- Responsive applications developed for both touch and point/click input and which re-shape to whichever UI is being displayed;
- Comprehensive system control and access to the underlying OS if required;
- Single application store with a range of compatible third party services;
- Communication from the desktop interface using the phone’s telephony and messaging applications;
- All the security, updates, and reliability features appreciated by Ubuntu users worldwide.
Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet features
The Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition is the first device to offer an Ubuntu convergent experience. It is also the first tablet with the Ubuntu Operating System. Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition brings Ubuntu’s rich full touch experience to life. It’s simple to connect a bluetooth mouse and keyboard to convert the Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition into a full Ubuntu PC, featuring everything you know and love about Ubuntu. Then, connect the tablet to an external display for a full-sized PC experience.
“The Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition is our third mobile device to ship with Ubuntu. Our customers were delighted with the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition and Aquaris E5 HD Ubuntu Edition phones, and we’re excited to be the first OEM to ship the converged Ubuntu experience. It’s this kind of innovation that makes BQ and Ubuntu such a great fit,” said Rodrigo del Prado, Deputy CEO of BQ.
The Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet has a 10.1 inch multitactile FHD screen with Dragontrail Asahi protection. This light and compact tablet offers an excellent balance between sleek design and autonomy: with 8.2 mm of thickness and 470 grams in weight, it includes a 7280 mAh LiPo battery. It has a powerful MediaTek Quad Core MT8163A to 1.5 GHz processor which gives the extremely high performance. View the full spec.
What’s the value to the enterprise?
For businesses, Ubuntu convergence combines everything you need to take your work with you. It works seamlessly with Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and thin client services and easily mixes local and web applications for mobile and desktop use. Excellent security comes as standard as part of the Ubuntu OS but Ubuntu convergence brings unparalleled enterprise-grade, system-based security. For many organisations wanting to take tight control over their own systems, avoiding third party access, Ubuntu is ideal.
If you love being able to connect your PC to your TV, this is now simple via your mobile device. You can run all your favourite apps on the tablet but benefit from a full PC interface – familiar and easy to navigate. It’s all about making life easier and so now it’s simple to create documents, send messages and stay connected in the same way as you do on the PC.
And what about partners? (OEMS / ODMS/Operators)
For partners there’s a real opportunity to diversify and differentiate from nearly identical slabs of glass, and to participate in real innovation in the mobile space. Canonical’s mobile experts have deep knowledge and experience working with a range of OEMs and ODMs having successfully launched devices worldwide.
The opportunity for developers
Third party developers will be able to easily create new Ubuntu applications which only need to be developed once but which can be available and used across all Ubuntu interfaces. The Ubuntu SDK provides the fundamental tools developers need to make their apps easy to adapt and run on any display. When you see your application on the phone and then use that application on the desktop, it is the exact same code running each application. Ubuntu does not need to know if the app is coded for a mobile or desktop display rather it is the application that surfaces the appropriate interface depending on which display is required.
The Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet will be on sale from Q2 2016 via BQ’s online store.
BQ is a leading European technology company. Its goal is to help people to understand technology, encourage them to use and inspire them to create it. It is committed to education in technology, DIY philosophy and the Open Source Initiative. BQ applies this philosophy to its products (smartphones, 3D printers, robotics and much more) and software solutions by working to make technology a tool for improving the world and the lives of its users.