The border between the mobile and the desktop Ubuntu platforms is getting blurry, and distinguishing which is which is now difficult, judging by a simple image. Convergence is happening, and it will be here much faster than people imagine.
The idea of convergence seems to have a lot of supporters, and it’s being worked on for many non-Ubuntu platforms. It’s also true that Canonical has been among the first to notice that we carry around with us small devices that could very well act as computers and has actually done something about it.
The idea was to get to this convergence step a lot earlier, but since the Ubuntu Edge crowdfunding campaign wasn’t a success, the Ubuntu team started to work on the long way around. They first built a working and stable operating system for mobile devices, and now they are uniting the mobile and desktop platforms.
In the next couple of years, both the Ubuntu desktop and Ubuntu Touch will share pretty much the same code but modified to work on different platforms. This also means using the same desktop environment, Unity 8, and a common display server, Mir. The two platforms are already starting to meet halfway, and it’s getting increasingly difficult to tell them apart.
Is that an Ubuntu phone or a desktop?
The answer is both. Unlike other projects, which we won’t name, Ubuntu is not simply expanding some functions on a bigger monitor. The phone becomes and acts like a regular Ubuntu OS, only that it has a few extra functions, like SMS features for example.
So, how advanced is this convergence? If you take a look at the image, you’re going to have a hard time figuring out which is the phone. The biggest problem right now is the hardware, which is lacking. The only device that has all the necessary bits and pieces is the Nexus 4, and that’s a rather old device. Hopefully, the new one being made right now by Bq, which should land next year, will be more powerful.