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The most popular Linux operating system is going to make its way to Android phones. At first I considered this a waste of time, but then I read the press announcement:

The phone experience is pure Android [1]– it’s a normal Android phone. When the device is connected to a computer screen, however, it launches a full Ubuntu desktop on the computer display. It’s exactly the same desktop used by millions of enterprise and home users on their Ubuntu PCs, and includes hundreds of certified applications, from office productivity to photography, video and music.

All data and services are shared between the Ubuntu and Android environments, which run simultaneously on the device. So Android applications such as contacts, telephony and SMS/MMS messaging are accessible from the Ubuntu interface. Indeed, all data on the smartphone can be accessed at any time, docked or not.

That description is pretty cool, but it’s not the first time a company has tried to blur the lines between your phone and your computer. Motorola tried to bring this concept to customers with the Motorola Atrix[2].

I really liked and wanted the Atrix. It had the potential to eliminate my need for a laptop. The concept of the Motorola Atrix was it was a phone that would dock in a specialized laptop, which was nothing more than a monitor, keyboard, and battery; and your phone would act as the CPU as a custom Linux based operating system would run. It wasn’t a full operating system, but it ran a full version of Firefox and could essentially eliminate the need for a netbook. However the Atrix didn’t sell well in the consumer market and I truly believe its downfall was the price. For the price of the Atrix and its laptop dock you could easily get a mid range laptop, the price versus the functionality didn’t make sense.

Skip forward to today and things are a little different. Google is acquiring Motorola and can capitalize on what Ubuntu is doing, as well as reengineer what Motorola did with the Atrix. Google grab a pen because here’s the plan:

  • On all Google/Motorola devices build in the Chrome OS that launches when docked in specialized accessories
  • Build specialized accessories such as laptop docks and computer stands to dock devices

Why Chrome OS instead of Ubuntu or the custom Linux OS that Motorola developed? Ubuntu is for nerds and nobody used the Motorola Linux OS. Google you want to focus on the end user and you want to make things simple. People know Chrome. People like Chrome. Capitalize on the things that are going right for you, and Chrome is one of those things.

{end notes}
– BGR: Ubuntu Coming Soon To Multi-Core Android Devices
[1] This comment was somewhat misleading because hardly any of the devices in the market today are “pure Android”
[2] Here’s a commercial for the Motorola Atrix: YouTube – Motorola Atrix TV ad

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