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Canonical: Ubuntu tablets due early 2011

Maverick Meerkat meets multitouch

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Ubuntu-based tablets could hit the market as early as the first quarter of 2011, says a Canonical exec.

"The devices world is a really exciting space right now and we're really bullish on it," Canonical VP of alliances and OEM services told Network World.

Kenyon's comments jibe with what he told The Reg last month: that Canonical was prepping Unbuntu for in-car systems, tablets, set-top-boxes, and what Kenyon called "the digital home or something you carry around".

But you can wipe smartphones off that list: "We're not thinking about the phone base," Kenyon told us.

Kenyon said that the Ubuntu OS for tablets would be a slimmed-down Linux with a touch-screen interface, and the development is underway for on-screen keyboards and compatibility with multitouch drivers. In the tablet space, the Ubuntu OS will compete with Apple's iOS, Google's Android, and the Intel-Nokia-Novell mash-up, Meego.

Kenyon also told NW that Canonical has been deal-making with Freescale, TI and Marvell, and that it's working with Intel on power-management matters, presumably with attention being paid to that company's recently announced Moorestown platform, powered by its Atom Z6XX processors, formerly codenamed Lincroft.

Ubuntu-for-tablets will be a derivative of Ubuntu 10.10, aka Maverick Meerkat, which is due in October. According to NW, the tablet and netbook Ubuntus (Ubunti?) will be merged into Ubuntu Light, which is based on Canonical's high-speed, stripped-down Unity interface. ®

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