Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ubuntu Phone: Meh?...or How it Might Change the World?

Caveat emptor - I'm pretty tired so I thought I'd write this blog post. Although there will probably be some logic gaps, I'm pretty sure it will make sense. And be a little whimsical.

I know, I know...."Ubuntu Phone " is all the rage on the interwebs in some quarters. Not to be left out, I wanted to share a few thoughts. 

Oh. This will be quick and too the point without grandiose language or arguments, so feel free to ignore anything I might say and maintain a strict adherence to current positions. I'm not assailing them, just sharing my views.

'M' is for Meh

I have a rather nice Android phone, several tablets (including a fab Nexus 7), and more laptops and desktops running Ubuntu (or Xubuntu or Ubuntu Studio) at which I could shake a lemur. Additionally, Google has already integrated my digital (and non-digital) life in a more meaningful way than perhaps Apple could have possibly dreamed.

I don't want a Ubuntu phone. Please don't hate me.

It's not that I don't think it would make a smart piece of kit, it just doesn't seem like a compelling product for me. But that is just me.

However, what I do see happening is this being a life changing event for perhaps millions of people in the world.

I See Trending People

First, see as I see:

Desktop sales are dropping. Android has shown that an operating system can pretty seamlessly span multiple devices. Phone hardware is reaching an inflection point exceeding most needs. Apple starts selling uninspiring products and Microsoft slowly dies. Oh, and water and wet.

Well, the last three points don't matter for this point, but the other ones make me think that waaaaay in the future, like three years from now, people will be using their phones as their computers. Shocking, I know. But these phones will most likely be the only computers for possibly a majority of people.

There. That is my point: three years in the future, an appreciable percentage of people will only have a cell phone as a computer and...this is the tricky part, it will be all okay.


'A' is for Awesome

Forget all the blogs, forget the tech pundits, and especially forget CNN. These are first world people, thinking first world thoughts. I'm not particularly thinking about Ubuntu Phone displacing Android or Apple in the U. S. market. Stop thinking about this.

Start thinking about more powerful cell phones becoming less expensive and people in developing countries.

How transformative would a phone running a full desktop operating system be for someone who can't afford a cell phone and a desktop/laptop computer? Carry your phone around all day, come home...BAM! stick it in the dock and rock it like the desktop that it is! I would say that is pretty damn transformative.

How empowering would it be if that same person also had access to the free applications already on that operating system via their phone? I'm sorry, I can't hear you over how awesome it is that I'm running a small business as an amazingly creative entrepreneur from my phone computer! Imagine an app developer creating and compiling code on her phone. Yeah, that sounds pretty empowering.

Is the future calling? Are they wanting their ideas back?

(Those were whimsically silly, rhetorical questions.)

In Summation

I would say that this sounds capital to me. A world phone. A compelling phone. A transformative, empowering phone. Yeah.

It's not Dick Tracy's wrist tv/radio thingie, but not one single tablet manufacturer listened to me and put a phone in a tablet. And the Galaxy Note doesn't count, they put a tablet around a phone (ewww).

If you made it this far...thank you for reading my tired ramblings. You earned a gold star. See me at UDS-S and I'll give it to you.

P.S.: Moar Power

I like how the Asus Transformer has an extra battery in the keyboard/dock thing. Canonical should do this for the Ubuntu Phone, except the dock should include an additional CPU for moar p0w3r!

P.P.S.: Carly on the (Ubuntu) Phone?

Mark, if you ever think about doing a Ubuntu tablet focusing on music production, I'd love to help. Call me maybe.

Rock on.
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