Canonical and hardware partner BQ have taken the wraps off a Ubuntu-based tablet described as the first fully converged Ubuntu device, featuring an adaptive user interface that can deliver a mobile and a desktop experience.
The two firms are hoping to drum up interest from businesses as well as consumers thanks to this capability. However, pricing has not yet been revealed.
The Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition is due to go on sale from BQ's website in March, and is a 10.1in touchscreen tablet that resembles many other such devices already on the market. It follows the first Ubuntu smartphone, which was also produced by BQ, this time last year.
The differentiator with the Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition is that it runs the latest version of Canonical's Ubuntu platform, which now features a dynamically adaptive user interface that switches between a mobile experience optimised for content consumption, and a desktop mode better suited to content creation and productivity applications.
Canonical expects to see interest in the new tablet from business customers who may be attracted by the ability to carry a lightweight tablet around, but use it as a full-blown desktop PC with a keyboard, mouse and external screen when in the office.
"By providing a common platform that adapts to the situation in which you are using it, whether content consumption or creation, you interact with the device in a different way," said Canonical chief executive Jane Silber.
"If you are just flipping through slides on a presentation and want to switch to content creation, you can pair the tablet with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and the user interface immediately switches to a familiar desktop environment with fine-grained mouse control and windowed applications."
The concept is similar to Microsoft's Continuum feature in Windows 10, but Silber explained that Canonical has been talking about its converged vision for some time.
"Competitors are moving in the same direction, which I think offers some validation of this vision that we have been laying out for several years," she said.
Silber added that enterprise firms in particular are likely to see the concept of convergence as a way to simplify the deployment and provisioning of devices to workers, as this way they can provide a single device instead of two or more that may run different platforms.
Canonical's SDK provides an easy way for developers to write apps that adapt to different screen sizes and formats, the firm said, and the platform itself takes care of the adaptation. The version of Ubuntu on the tablet also brings the Scopes from last year's phone edition, allowing these to be used on the desktop alongside standard desktop applications such as LibreOffice.
BQ's Aquaris M10 tablet is based on a 1.5GHz quad-core ARM chip from MediaTek, with 2GB memory and 16GB of internal flash storage. A MicroSD slot allows this to be expanded with flash cards up to 64GB in capacity. It also has a Micro HDMI port for connection to an external display.
The tablet weighs just 470g and is 8.2mm thick. It ships with a 7280mAh lithium polymer battery, but the battery life has not been specified.
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