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Can Ubuntu Linux win on smartphones and tablets?

Mark Shuttleworth is as close as Linux has ever had to Steve Jobs. He has vision, he’s articulate, and he can move an audience. But, can he move a market that’s in love with Android phones and Apple iPad tablets to give Ubuntu a chance? I think he has a shot.

I’ve known for over a year that Ubuntu was going to try for the smartphone and tablet market, so when Ubuntu’s founder Mark Shuttleworth told me he was going to expand to devices, I wasn’t surprised. Technically, Ubuntu, and its parent company, Canonical, have the chops to do it.

In addition, Ubuntu has been working and delivering Unity for more than two years now. Unlike Windows 8’s Metro, which also seeks to be a universal PC and device desktop, Ubuntu Unity already has experienced users and developers.

True, many experienced Linux users don’t care for Ubuntu’s Unity interface, which is meant to work well on PCs, smartphones and tablets, it was never meant for them. Unity is meant for users who want an easy to user interface and don’ care if it’s Linux under the hood. That may be heresy to die-hard Linux users, but it certainly has worked well for Google with its Linux-based Android devices.

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