Your submission was sent successfully! Close

You have successfully unsubscribed! Close

Thank you for signing up for our newsletter!
In these regular emails you will find the latest updates about Ubuntu and upcoming events where you can meet our team.Close

Ubuntu’s path to convergence

This article was last updated 8 years ago.


Ubuntu device convergence is now starting to happen as we move closer to bringing the first smartphones to market carrying a full Ubuntu desktop interface.

The real test for a smartphone which can double up as a PC is to give users the same experience from their smartphone as they get from their primary PC. This is our starting point for real smartphone convergence – to deliver an Ubuntu PC experience that embodies everything already familiar to the millions of Ubuntu desktop PC users worldwide. Quite simply, this means everything that a user expects from a PC experience has to be available from their smartphone including:

  • Effortless multitasking and window management
  • Full range of desktop applications and thin client support for mobility and productivity
  • Integrated services with desktop notifications
  • Ability to manage applications and easily organise favoured ones for fast access
  • Simple file browsing, file and folder creation and management
  • Responsive applications developed for both touch and point/click input and which re-shape to whichever UI is being displayed
  • Comprehensive system control and access to the underlying OS if required
  • Single application store with a range of compatible 3rd party services
  • Communication from the desktop interface using the phone’s telephony and messaging applications

Our journey towards OS convergence first begins with Unity 8, Ubuntu’s User Interface and display framework, envisioned to run on all Ubuntu devices with the same underlying codebase, supporting a common infrastructure for application and service development. The goal for Unity 8 is to run as the primary display on any type of Ubuntu smart product.

This means applications have something no other OS can provide: a single, visual framework and set of tools for applications to run on any type of Ubuntu smart device. Applications developed for mobile will easily scale and run on a desktop display, with support for point and click input. Our SDK will provide tools for developers of mobile applications to build desktop contexts for these apps. Similarly, developers of desktop applications can use our SDK to extend and enhance their application for mobile use. Convergence brings a whole new set of contexts for developers and our SDK will provide the fundamental tools developers need to make their apps easy to adapt and run on any display.

When you see your application on the phone and then use that application on the desktop, it is the exact same code running each application. Ubuntu does not need to know if the app is coded for a mobile or desktop display rather it is the application that surfaces the appropriate interface depending on which display is required. Third party developers will be able to easily create new Ubuntu applications which only need to be developed once but which can be available and used across all Ubuntu interfaces.

We have been saying for some time that the evolution of the smartphone into a convergent form factor, delivering a PC experience, is a real and relevant industry need. However a truly converged smartphone or tablet designed with the combination of mobility and desktop productivity is only really achieved using an OS built on a single, fully contained codebase.

Ubuntu desktop

Learn how the Ubuntu desktop operating system powers millions of PCs and laptops around the world.

Newsletter signup

Get the latest Ubuntu news and updates in your inbox.

By submitting this form, I confirm that I have read and agree to Canonical's Privacy Policy.

Related posts

Canonical announces the availability of Real-time Ubuntu for Amazon EKS Anywhere

Collaboration to benefit communication service providers and business application vendors at the telco edge Barcelona, Spain. 28 February 2024. Canonical...

Canonical announces the general availability of Charmed Kafka

27 February 2024: Today, Canonical announced the release of Charmed Kafka – an advanced solution for Apache Kafka® that provides everything users need to run...

Introducing Canonical’s Open Documentation Academy

tldr; Our Open Documentation Academy starts this week with our first weekly Documentation Office Hours on Friday 1st March 2024 at 16:00 UTC. Everyone is...