Mark Shuttleworth punts Ubuntu Phone OS at CES 2013

South African millionaire and Canonical boss, Mark Shuttleworth, announced during a “virtual keynote” on 2 January 2013 that a version of the Linux-based Ubuntu operating system (OS) would be coming to smartphones.

Shuttleworth showed off the mobile OS, which incorporates many features of existing platforms while making them its own.

In a recent video interview with MobileIndustryReview, conducted at CES 2013, Shuttleworth said that Canonical is “engaged with a variety of silicon partners” to ensure that Ubuntu can soon ship on phones currently being planned – especially those with the Android operating system in mind.

According to Shuttleworth, within 6 to 12 months the Ubuntu Phone OS could ship as the core operating system on devices.

Shuttleworth explained that some of the core elements of Ubuntu have been reworked around existing Android drivers, illustrating the compatibility with the base Linux infrastructure of the Android OS.

This means that high-end Android devices can soon make use of Ubuntu for Android (not to be confused with the full Ubuntu Phone OS), which is an upcoming free and open source variant of Ubuntu designed to run on Android phones. Both Android and Ubuntu will run at the same time on the device.

Shuttleworth described this as a convergence product that brings the Ubuntu desktop experience onto Android devices.

Shuttleworth went on to discuss different categories of smartphones, from entry-level consumer devices to enterprise-grade systems, and how Ubuntu Phone OS fits into the market.

Shuttleworth also gave his own hands-on demonstration of the Ubuntu Phone OS in action on what appears to be a Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

He also touched on the convergence of devices, explaining how a single device can scale the Ubuntu desktop experience to power a tablet PC, a desktop environment, and act as a media centre and TV.

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Mark Shuttleworth punts Ubuntu Phone OS at CES 2013