The 2013 Case for Open Mobile Devices--from Phones to Tablets

by Ostatic Staff - Mar. 01, 2013

In a post a few weeks ago, I discussed the impending arrival of a slew of mobile phones based on Firefox OS and Ubuntu, and we've seen a few of these show up now, like the Firefox OS phones seen here. There are many concrete signs that we are going to see heavy competition among open mobile operating systems this year. But we aren't just going to see phones based on them.

Many people are excited about Ubuntu Touch, which Canonical has delivered in a tablet version. And, it turns out that both Firefox OS phones and Ubuntu Touch tablets were seen at the Mobile World Congress show this week, with Ubuntu Touch qualifying as the most exciting thing out of the conference, according to CNet. 

CNet gave its Best of Mobile Word Congress award to Ubuntu Touch, and noted this in its review:

"The team thought that Ubuntu Touch, the tablet version of which we got our hands-on for the first time at MWC, feels more like the complete package at this point. We liked its slick, elegant interface that makes use of every side of the screen and puts your content and contacts front and center, minimizing the time spent hopping back to a home screen."

Canonical, of course, has been focused on taking Ubuntu beyond traditional computers for some time. The company wants Ubuntu on TVs, tablets and phones. I have to say that I want an Ubuntu Touch tablet, and I bet a lot of Ubuntu fans will.

Much of the talk surrounding the market prospects for Mozilla's phones and Ubuntu phones and tablets centers on whether the devices will be as feature-rich as iOS and Android phones and tablets. And, I have written posts on how important the app ecosystems will be for these new, open devices. However, it's also true that open source simply has millions of dedicated loyalists. They will flock to these open devices by the millions, just as many of them flocked to Android.

When Android first started to ramp up in 2009, you could find only one or two phones running it. This year, we're going to see an array of mobile devices based on Firefox OS and Ubuntu, and some of them are going to be market hits. In some people's eyes, Ubuntu Touch tablets have already earned that status.