Ubuntu developer Canonical has lifted the lid on a tablet-focused version of its Linux platform, with a developer build set to be released on 21 February for the Google Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 devices.
Canonical appears to be aiming at the corporate market as much as consumers with this release. The company claimed its OS will enable secure enterprise tablets with full disk encryption, multiple secure user accounts and a standard management tool to cover Ubuntu server, PC and touch versions.
Ubuntu for tablets includes a touch-enabled user interface, building on the Ubuntu for smartphones that Canonical released at the start of this year. It supports multi-tasking, with the ability to run phone and tablet apps at the same time, plus a voice-controlled head-up display (HUD).
Like Ubuntu for smartphones, the new build allows a tablet to offer a full PC experience when the device is docked onto a desktop with a keyboard and screen connected. Remote access to Windows sessions is possible using built-in remote screen protocols from Microsoft, Citrix, VMware and Wyse.
"Our family of interfaces now scales across all screens, so your phone can provide tablet, PC and TV experiences when you dock it. That's unique to Ubuntu and it's the future of personal computing," said Ubuntu and Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth.
The Ubuntu tablet interface supports screen sizes from 6in up to 20in and display definitions from 100 to 450 pixels per inch. It uses the same screen edge gestures that Canonical introduced with Ubuntu for smartphones, intended to keep the screen clearer for displaying content.
Ubuntu is compatible with any Linux-oriented Board Support Package (BSP), according to Canonical, which should make it simple for device vendors to integrate it onto most hardware platforms that are already currently running Android.
Canonical announced last week that a Touch Developer Preview of Ubuntu will be available from 21 February, but this will now include installation instructions for the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablet devices as well as smartphones.
The Preview SDK will also be updated to support tablet apps as well as phone app development, Canonical said.
Canonical will be showcasing the new tablet interface and Ubuntu for phones at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) show in Barcelona next week.
Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.