Windows 10 vs Ubuntu : Who Wins the Epic Operating Systems War for smartphone to PC convergence
In the battle of converged computing for smartphone and PC,the Open source system Ubuntu seems to be taking a lead over the proprietary Windows.
Of late, smartphones and tablets are gaining more popularity over desktops. Hence, now the manufacturers of desktops are thinking of creating newer version of their desktop software which can support
Microsoft recently announced that the Windows 10 phones will be so designed that it can also be used as PC if it is connected to external monitor.
On the other hand, Ubuntu open source system with Linux as its OS was the first one to put forth the idea of Smartphone-PC convergence way back in 2013.
Ubuntu’s crowdfunding campaign for its Ubuntu Edge was a failure in 2013 however Canonical is bent upon transforming Ubuntu into an OS that can be used along all the platforms with a feature of adapting to all the interfaces as per requirement.
In a recent Ubuntu Online Summit Keynote, Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu recently said: “While I enjoy the race, I also like to win.” During this summit he also announced that Canonical has got into a partnership with some hardware manufacturer and very soon they plan to release their Ubuntu smartphone which will feature the Smartphone-PC convergence. Most probably there are chances that Ubuntu might release its flagship phone even before Windows 10 is rolled out because it seems Microsoft will not roll out its most awaited Windows 10 this summer hence Ubuntu might beat Microsoft in this smartphone to PC convergence feature!!
Though not much is known about the Ubuntu smartphone however Mark Shuttleworth founder of Canonical, in a recent presentation said: “I’d like to announce that we are going to ship a device, this year, with a manufacturer—which will fit in your pocket; which will be a phone; and which will give you a desktop experience. So, that pocket PC experience is real on Ubuntu. And, while I enjoy the race, I also like to win. And I bet you do too. And so it will be lovely for us to drive free software first into the convergence world.”
On the other hand Windows 10 OS promises to feature ‘Continuum mode’ and it will be able to detect if the smartphones are hooked up with mouse and keyboard and if so it will reorient its UI as per requirement. Further, Microsoft will support universal apps hence it will be in a position to switch the interface to be used on any platform including desktops, smartphones, laptops and even augmented reality handsets.
In the race of Smartphone-PC convergence we now need to wait and watch whether Microsoft or Canonical will take a lead in bringing about the computing convergence to the tech world. Lets see what all strong steps are being taken by both the firms to ensure they take the vanguard in this Smartphone-PC convergence:
- Hardware: The recent acquisition of Nokia gives Microsoft an upperhand on hardware front because Nokia already has a strong hold on the market and hence Microsoft can bring its new OS to smartphones and tablets via Nokia which can flaunt the capabilities of Windows 10. Microsoft had earlier declared that it will roll out Windows 10 to desktop first and then to smartphones. However, it is already working on its flagship phone code named “Cityman” which will have the Windows 10 OS and user can connect this phone to external monitor to get the desktop experience. This phone is expected to release around the time Windows 10 for phones will be rolled out.
- Other features: Besides the “Continuum mode” feature Microsoft promises that Windows 10 will also have other additional services which can work across desktops and smartphones as well as tablets. Majorly these services include Cortana which is Microsoft’s virtual assistant that is smart enough to set appointments, answer questions etc.
- User based: Microsoft is dominant OS in the desktop world however in the smartphone market it has on 3% to 5% market share. With the established user base it might help Windows 10 because users might give Windows 10 preference in this Smartphone-PC convergence as they would prefer to use a known OS which they have been using for a long time on desktop.
- Software control: Microsoft has developed dynamic software Live Tile such as Office Suite which gives its developers an advantage to redesign the Microsoft Office as “touch friendly universal apps”.
- Open to iPhone and Android apps: Microsoft has plans to bring the iPhone and Android apps to Windows 10. Further without the need of rewriting the codes developers will be able port iOS and Android applications to Windows 10. With this step Windows 10 will have most of the apps that run on the popular smartphones and thus it can attract lot more buyers who want those apps.
- First one to market converged phone: Ubuntu plans to release its Smartphone-PC convergence phone this year as confirmed by founder Mark Shuttleworth. Hence, this step may place Ubuntu an open source system ahead of Microsoft’s Windows 10. However, Ubuntu has a history of delaying the release of its planned converged phone.
- Low cost smartphone: First Ubuntu phone was Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition and it was relatively low cost smartphone. Recently, Mr Shuttleworth also said the Ubuntu Smartphone-PC convergence “will be suited to casual users rather than power users”. Hence, it is an indication that though the specs might discourage users, however the phone might be available at a relatively lower cost which could succeed in attracting more buyers ………..especially if it gives tremendous performance.
- Novel UI: Ubuntu users have an advantage of either storing content directly on the phone or it is even available to them via online services. The distinction between online and local content is almost negligible for Ubuntu phone users. This can understood with the following example: Music Scope would show music on the handset, on the Sound Cloud music sharing and even via the GrooveShark music streaming services and on YouTube. So users can listen to their favorite music with each section that can be further expanded into an app either to play music or for exploring more tracks. This shows that Ubuntu specializes in organizing their OS around the interests of the users and also blurring the boundary between online and offline contents, this gives Ubuntu and edge over Windows 10 dynamic Live Tiles.
- Abundance of free software: There is a wide range of free open source software that runs on the Linux OS. Though, many bigger open source projects run on Windows, however Ubuntu has an abundance of free software or free open source apps which users can download directly from Dash desktop search or even from terminal. Hence, with respect to the open source apps again Ubuntu seems to have an edge over Windows 10.
- Customization of OS: With Microsoft users are stuck with the OS that accompanied their device when it was shipped so they have to rely on the OS given by Microsoft. On the contrary, Ubuntu is Linux based and hence user gets the advantage of switching certain features of their OS by using certain commands and hence get rid of some unwanted features of their OS.
- Some major features where Ubuntu lacks over Windows 10:
- Hardware: Ubuntu phone appears to have a fair middle level hardware and Mr. Shuttleworth further confirmed that their first Smartphone-PC convergence handset would not be “biggest, baddest workstation”.
- User based: Ubuntu is a Linux base and hence it has very little penetration in the market of desktops. It has been observed that the Linux based OS has only one percent PC users across the globe.
- Software control: In comparison to Windows 10, Canonical does not have much internal control over development of flagship software on Ubuntu and the reason is simple because Ubuntu is an open source software and it has many developers.
With the overall review, it is very much clear that both, Windows 10 and Ubuntu have certain marked advantages as well as disadvantages. The most important point is that even if Canonical releases their first Smartphone-PC converged phone this year Microsoft will surely beat them to market because Canonical has few developers and it is just an open source system in comparison to the well established and a giant Microsoft’s Windows OS.
The race is still on! lets wait and watch….