South African entrepreneur, philanthropist, space tourist and Canonical Ltd founder Mark Shuttleworth announced last week that the company would be launching ‘Ubuntu for Phones’ at the end of 2013 or early 2014.

The popular Linux distributed Ubuntu is a free desktop operating system (for PC and smart TVs) that was launched by the UK-based businessman in 2004. Since its inception, Ubuntu has gained a loyal user-base of an estimated 20 million people – including science and maths pupils, the French police, employees of Google and actor Stephen Fry.

Ubuntu for Android was launched close to a year ago. It is designed to launch a full version of Ubuntu desktop, when the Android phone is docked with a keyboard and monitor. This led to the inevitable development of Ubuntu as its own smartphone OS.

Unlike the more popular smartphone operating systems such as iOS (iPhone), Android and RIM (Blackberry) – Ubuntu will be a full desktop operating system on your phone. Meaning that there won’t be any syncing issues and the capacity to attach a monitor and keyboard to your phone.

Canonical CEO Jane Silber explained, “Ubuntu will enable customers to provision a single secure device for all PC, thin client, and phone functions. We also see an opportunity in basic smartphones that are used for the phone, SMS, web, and email, where Ubuntu outperforms thanks to its native core apps and stylish presentation.”

Among the many features, Ubuntu’s interface uses all four edges of the screen, which allows the user to find content and switch between apps more effective than the competitors.

Cyberspace is filled with many gleeful geeks excited about the prospect of Ubuntu hitting the market. The OS can only be run on high-end ‘super-phones’ like the Galaxy Nexus, which has left many wondering about its possible market share. But with the rumours of possible hardware partners, the future looks bright for Ubuntu.

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