Mobile Devices

February 19, 2013

New Ubuntu Tablet Interface Designed for Smooth Interaction and Multi-Tasking Across Devices

Canonical, in conjunction with Ubuntu, today revealed Ubuntu’s tablet interface, which both companies tout as being the next step toward creating a singular, unified family of devices including PCs, phones, tablets and even televisions.

The interface is reportedly unique in its focus on “multi-tasking,” which served as the dominant feature of the product from its inception. “Multi-tasking productivity meets elegance and rigorous security in our tablet experience,” explained Ubuntu and Canonical founder, Mark Shuttleworth.

The Ubuntu tablet experience includes groundbreaking features, such as the ability to break up and use a shared screen on both phone and tablet. For instance, when reading a news website on a smartphone, the user could select an article to read, but have it come up on their tablet for an easier read with a wider screen.

The Ubuntu tablet has no physical buttons, so its interface works entirely via touchscreen, with side-screen and edge navigation ability for a cleaner home-screen – a design that is unique to Ubuntu.

Canonical’s design team leader, Ivo Weevers, commented on the stylistic quality of the device, saying “Fashion industry friends say the Ubuntu phone and tablet are the most beautiful interfaces they’ve seen for touch.”

The tablet interface was designed with “twin goals of style and usability” so that it would be optimal for not only personal use, but for businesses and industry as well.

Ubuntu’s tablet experience is the only one on the market to offer full convergence, secure multi-user accounts, a content focus and voice controlled Heads-Up Display (HUD) all in one device. Rather than having a disconnect between, say, mom’s Kindle, dad’s laptop, the family television and the kids’ iPhones, for instance, Ubuntu eases cross-connection to not only allow but encourage simultaneous usage.

“The tablet fits perfectly between phone and PC in the Ubuntu family,” said Oren Horev, lead designer for the new tablet interface. “Not only do we integrate phone apps in a distinctive way, we shift from tablet to PC very smoothly in convergence devices.”

With Ubuntu’s devices, the full PC experience comes on the tablet when docked to a keyboard, and can be managed with any Ubuntu server or desktop. The touchscreen aspect of newer devices on the market helped Ubuntu to develop its tablet interface to run smoothly and allow the best possible multi-tasking ability.

As touchscreen is largely becoming a staple in mobile, companies are starting to take interest in offering similar touchscreen options for PC and television devices. Ubuntu is the first, but likely won’t be the last, to leverage this trend.

“We benefit from the huge number of contributing developers who run Ubuntu every day, many of whom are moving to touch devices as their primary development environment,” explained Rick Spencer, Ubuntu Engineering vice president at Canonical.

For more information on Ubuntu’s tablet experience and products, visit

The Touch Developer Preview of Ubuntu will be released on the February 21, 2013, and will include installation instruction for both the Nexus 4 and the Galaxy Nexus.

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo

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