Canonical has announced a new project called Ubuntu for Android which combines the popular Linux operating system with the popular smartphone OS. The idea is that a phone will run both operating systems side-by-side, using the same Linux kernel.

Ubuntu for Android

When you pull the phone from your pocket, you’ll be able to use the familiar, finger-friendly Android operating system.

But drop the phone into a docking station and plug in a monitor, keyboard and mouse and you’ll have a full Ubuntu Linux desktop experience.

Both operating systems will be able to access shared storage and other features. That way you can access documents whether you’re using Android or Ubuntu and you won’t need to sync anything.

The address book is also shared, as is your Android calendar data. You can even answer incoming calls or reply to SMS messages while using Ubuntu.

Ubuntu for Android will be able to run on phones with 1 GHz dual core processors with hardware video acceleration, 2GB of disk space, 512MB of RAM, USB host mode, and HDMI output. It supports Android 2.3 and up.

The system sounds a lot like Motorola’s Webtop solution which lets you dock certain Motorola smartphones into a multimedia dock or laptop docking station and access a light-weight Linux OS and full Firefox web browser. But the Ubuntu solution is much more powerful since it provides access to a fully functional OS with a number of preloaded apps including photo and video players, and even the PiTiVi video editor.

Canonical will showcase the new software at Mobile World Congress later this month, but the company hasn’t announced any hardware partners yet.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...