I wish Ubuntu focused on Android

Posted by Swaroop C H on February 17, 2012 Filed under: android, mobile-phone, tech, ubuntu
Update on 02-Sep-2013 : KDE Connect seems promising!

Update on 21-Feb-2012 : Looks like Canonical had the same idea!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUXUjjg9qQ0&w=500&h=281]

Instead of Canonical trying to tinker with the UI of Ubuntu Desktop Linux, I really wish they thought differentlyâ„¢ instead.

I find iPhone incredibly easy to use because of iTunes. Regardless of your feelings about iTunes, I find it an indispensable software and have been constantly wishing there was something similar for Android.

That's my wish for Ubuntu's direction - instead of trying to reinvent the UI, simply focus on integrating Android with Ubuntu, so much so that if you're an Android user, you'll be tempted to switch to Ubuntu because it makes life so easy.

For example:

  • iCloud equivalent that would sync Ubuntu and Android Address Book, Calendar, Notes, etc.
    • Yes, there is Ubuntu One but that only talks about the Dropbox aspect of things, not the integration into the specific data apps such as Address Book, Calendar, Notes, etc.
      • Maybe even combine forces with the CyanogenMod folks if it requires a custom Android build!
      • Possibly just use Dropbox as a backing store and maybe cut a deal with Dropbox to highlight Ubuntu, just like iOS integrates Twitter for mutual benefits, for example, Dropbox can be bookmarked in the "File -> Open With" window by default in Ubuntu, and so on. This is a marketing angle that will probably inform most Dropbox users, out of which a large segment will very likely have Android phones, about the possibility of considering Ubuntu.
    • This "uCloud for data" assures me that my data is always safe which is what I'm never comfortable with every new breaking version as well as changing apps in Linux/Ubuntu - "The new default photo app is Shotwell? What happened to F-Spot?" and other situations.
  • Connect your Android phone and auto-sync photos, music, etc.
    • Especially the facility of copying over new photos to the desktop and giving good organizational functionality such as deciding which photos to keep and which ones to delete.
  • Assist with making it easy to read EPUB and PDF both on the desktop and the phone like saving "last read location", etc. just like the Kindle app
  • Other possibilities such as a IFTTT that involves the desktop, the phone and the cloud (an alternative to the Automator in OS X)

If a high build-quality laptop came supported with Ubuntu (there is a list of crowdsourced recommendations but none that you could depend on, it's your guess and fate on whether all the hardware works well with Ubuntu) + an Ubuntu that works super-well with Android, then I would love to eventually switch away from Mac and iPhone to an open source Ubuntu and Android combination.

Benefits include:

  1. Open source benefits, as well as makes future of open source platforms more brighter rather than next generation assuming closed platforms where you can run apps is how it always has been as opposed to having a fully hackable environment
  2. To protect myself against future lockdowns - when I heard of Cory Doctorow talk about the coming war on general purpose computation, I thought he was being too negative and then Apple announced a lockdown of apps for OS X Mountain Lion amongst other AppStore sandboxing issues. Sigh.
  3. As a developer, I'm already highly dependent on Ubuntu server edition, would make it neat to use it on the desktop as well.
  4. This makes it super-easy to transition someone to Ubuntu since it works well with their phone which they rely so much on already, and since the data is suddenly available on the desktop as well, the fear of the unknown reduces and they become more open to trying out a new OS.
  5. I can finally have a usable Android phone.

P.S. Another random thought - An Ubuntu laptop that comes with a SIM card slot built-in so that I can put in a SIM card and will have internet always-on, just like an iPad.

Update : Submitted as Brainstorm Idea #29231.


kingof9x says:

I think you are on to something here.

I would like to see ubuntu used instead of an unknown linux flavor in products like the atrix4g's laptop dock.

jim says:

Good dam idea

barun says:

fantastic idea sir.....more android phone activation - greater inclination to ubuntu - and hence awesomely increased numbers of developers dedicated to the open source community.....bringing in a better future for us.

Swaroop says:

@kingof9x @jim @barun Thanks for your thoughts, I hope you've checked out the new Ubuntu for Android, link added to the top of the post!

Sandeep Mishra says:

great idea...android phone and 3G has been became most hot topic now


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