What Is Ubuntu Doing At Mobile World Congress?

Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, has mastered the art of creating hype. If one may recall Canonical succeeded in creating buzz around Ubuntu with its TV offering at CES 2012. Even if the project is in the making and won’t make a dent in the market as a product unless some popular TV makers such as Samsung put it on their devices, Canonical succeeded at something. The company succeeded at main tech sites to take notice of it and talk about it. Through TV, Ubuntu became the talk of the town during CES 2012.

It’s happening again.

It was no coincident that Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu, blogged about Ubuntu for Android just a few days ahead of MWC 2012. ‘Ubuntu for Android’ has already created quite a buzz. British mainstream media (Canonical is based in London) covered it well — from The Guardian to BBC, quite an achievement for Canonical’s PR team.

Now Canonical is all set to take advantage of Mobile World Congress. The company is attending the event and will supposedly be giving some demo of the Ubuntu for Android at the congress.

Both these prototypes rely heavily on other companies. Neither the Ubuntu TV nor Ubuntu for Android make any sense unless it hits the market. Both these projects will turn into profit making products if any industry leader puts it on their devices. At the moment Samsung and HTC are the leading Android players and it will be interesting for everyone to see if Canonical marketing team succeeds in getting these two players.

Motorola is yet another mega player in the mobile space, but I am not sure if Motorola will put Ubuntu on their devices. After all it was Motorola that came out with the idea of mobile phone docked OS with their Webtop OS. The product did not find any takers due to many reasons which I will be discussing later. The same challenges that Motorola had, despite being the hardware maker itself, are the challenges Canonical faces. Unlike Motorola they don’t even have any hardware to put their apps on. So, the challenges are even bigger.

If I look at it from a different point where both these product may not even hit the market any soon I still see Canonical succeeding at something, something the Linux world always wanted — marketing and hype. Even if there will be no top-brand running Ubuntu on their TV set or even if no major smartphone maker will put ‘Ubuntu for Andorid’ on their devices, Canonical has won the public relation round. Tech press will be spending a lot of ink writing about ‘Ubuntu for Android’ in the coming weeks. More and more users will be hearing the word Ubuntu. I don’t know if Canonical will succeed in the mobile space with Ubuntu for Android, but I can clearly see that their master mind media plan is already working.

The question is, what’s next.

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Swapnil Bhartiya

Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.

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