Linux operating system vendor Canonical has unveiled plans for handsets capable of booting as both Android and Ubuntu Linux systems.
The company said that its Ubuntu for Android platform would allow devices to booth as Android devices in their mobile state, then function as a Linux-based desktop when docked with keyboard and monitor hardware.
Ubuntu said that the platform would make use of high-end mobile hardware such as quad-core processors, HDMI and USB.
While no hardware vendors have been announced as of yet, Canonical said that it would designing the platform to run on handset technologies due to arrive in late 2012.
"The desktop is the killer-app for quad-core phones in 2012" said Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth.
"Ubuntu for Android transforms your high-end phone into your productive desktop, whenever you need it."
Canonical said that the devices would share resources, allowing the handset to access mobile calling and messaging networks while operating in Ubuntu and allowing Android devices to access desktop documents and information.
The company hopes that the device will appeal to a growing market for both mobile workstations and IT consumerisation.
By bundling the smartphone and workstation into a single device, the company sees the platform helping to consolidate enterprise IT estate and provide an option for emerging markets.
While the dual-boot system may be innovative, industry pundits believe the Ubuntu platform will face an uphill battle to win over a mainstream audience.
Enderle Group principal analyst Rob Enderle told V3 that Canonical's platform looks to be a bigger hit with engineers and hobbiests than enterprises and end-users.
"Consumers have generally fled dual-boot platforms on PC and are likely to find the experience on a device they expect to 'just work' even less appealing," he explained.
"And, at the end of the day, employees are generally consumers at heart particularly with regard to phones."
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