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Canonical, Ubuntu Linux’s parent company, is hinting in big, bright letters that’s its about to release a fully touch-enabled version of Ubuntu Unity. The site’s banner headline now reads “So close, you can almost touch it.” with a clock counting down to 1 PM Eastern time, January 2nd. If this is indeed what Canonical is planning, can Ubuntu-powered tablet and smartphones be far behind?

Canonical has been planning to bring Ubuntu to tablets since it first introduced its controversial Unity interface in 2010. Then, in conversations with Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s founder, I was told that Unity was meant to be Ubuntu’s master interface for desktops, netbooks, and tablets.

At the time, while a tablet version of Ubuntu wasn’t in Canonical’s immediate plans, Jono Bacon, the Ubuntu Community Manager, told me that “all the pieces are in place to create an Ubuntu tablet.” Even then, before Unity was launched, I was shown the first baby steps to multi-touch Unity.

2013: The year of the Ubuntu Linux tablet and smartphone? More >

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