Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'tablet'

Canonical

Have you submitted your app for the App Showdown contest? With just under one week to go, there’s still time to enter and have the opportunity to win a Nexus/Meizu device with your app running on the handset. Deadline for submissions is Wednesday 9th April, 2014.

Here are the details once again:

The contest is open to everyone. The four dedicated categories that you can enter:

  1. QML: original apps written in QML or those with a combination of QML and JavaScript/C++

  2. HTML5: original apps written using web technologies, be it pure HTML (and CSS/JavaScript) or with platform access using Apache Cordova

  3. Ported: apps ported from another platform, regardless of the technology used

  4. Chinese apps: apps in this category will have to be original and specific to China and the Chinese culture. They will be judged by three native experts in our jury.

To enter the competition and get further information click here.

Winning entries will be announced by Canonical once the judging process has been completed – anticipated to be end of April 2014.  Good luck!

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Mark Shuttleworth

Check out “loving the bottom edge” for the most important bit of design guidance for your Ubuntu mobile app.

This work has been a LOT of fun. It started when we were trying to find the zen of each edge of the screen, a long time back. We quickly figured out that the bottom edge is by far the most fun, by far the most accessible. You can always get to it easily, it feels great. I suspect that’s why Apple has used the bottom edge for their quick control access on IOS.

progresion

We started in the same place as Apple, thinking that the bottom edge was so nice we wanted it for ourselves, in the system. But as we discussed it, we started to think that the app developer was the one who deserved to do something really distinctive in their app with it instead. It’s always tempting to grab the tastiest bit for oneself, but the mark of civility is restraint in the use of power and this felt like an appropriate time to exercise that restraint.

Importantly you can use it equally well if we split the screen into left and right stages. That made it a really important edge for us because it meant it could be used equally well on the Ubuntu phone, with a single app visible on the screen, and on the Ubuntu tablet, where we have the side stage as a uniquely cool way to put phone apps on tablet screens alongside a bigger, tablet app.

The net result is that you, the developer, and you, the user, have complete creative freedom with that bottom edge. There are of course ways to judge how well you’ve exercised that freedom, and the design guidance tries to leave you all the freedom in the world while still providing a framework for evaluating how good the result will feel to your users. If you want, there are some archetypes and patterns to choose from, but what I’d really like to see is NEW patterns and archetypes coming from diverse designs in the app developer community.

Here’s the key thing – that bottom edge is the one thing you are guaranteed to want to do more innovatively on Ubuntu than on any other mobile platform. So if you are creating a portable app, targeting a few different environments, that’s the thing to take extra time over for your Ubuntu version. That’s the place to brainstorm, try out ideas on your friends, make a few mockups. It’s the place you really express the single most important aspects of your application, because it’s the fastest, grooviest gesture in the book, and it’s all yours on Ubuntu.

Have fun!

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Michael Hall

Convergent File ManagerConvergence is going to be a major theme for Ubuntu 14.04, not just at the OS and Unity 8 levels, but also for the apps that run on it. The Core Apps, those apps that were developed by the community and included by default in the last release, are no exception to this. We want to make sure they all converge neatly and usefully on both a tablet and on the desktop. So once again we are asking for community design input, this time to take the existing application interfaces and extend them to new form factors.

How to submit your designs

We have detailed the kind of features we want to see for each of the Core Apps on a Convergence wiki page. If you have a convergence design idea you would like to submit, send it as a file attachment or link to it online in an email to design@canonical.com along with any additional notes, descriptions, or user stories.  The design team will be reviewing the submitted designs live on their bi-weekly Design Clinics (Dec 4th and Dec 18th) at 1400 UTC.  But before you submit your ideas, keep reading to see what they should include.

Extend what’s there

We don’t want to add too many features this cycle, there’s going to be enough work to do just building the convergence into the app.  Use the existing features and designs as your starting point, and re-imagine those same features and designs on a tablet or desktop.  Design new features or modify existing ones when it makes the experience better on a different form factor, but remember that we want the user to experience it as the same application across the board, so try and keep the differences to a minimum.

Form follows function

There’s more to a good design than just a good looking UI, especially when designing convergence.  Make sure that you take the user’s activity into account, plan out how they will access the different features of the app, make sure it’s both intuitive and simple.  The more detail you put into this the more likely you are to discover possible problems with your designs, or come up with better solutions that you had originally intended.

Think outside the screen

There is more to convergence that just a different screen size, and your designs should take that into consideration.  While it’s important to make good use of the added space in the UI, think about how the user is going to interact with it.  You hold a tablet differently than you do a phone, so make sure your designs work well there.

On the desktop you have even more to think about, when the user has a keyboard and mouse, but likely not a touch screen, you want to make sure the interface isn’t cumbersome.  Think about how scrolling will be different too, while it’s easy to swipe both vertically and horizontally on a phone or tablet, you usually only have a vertical scroll wheel on a desktop mouse.  But, you also have more precise control over a mouse pointer than you do with a finger-tip, so your interface should take advantage of that too.

Resources available to you

Now that you know what’s needed, here are some resources to help you.  Once again we have our community Balsamiq account available to anybody who wants to use it to create mockups (email me if you need an account).  I have created a new project for Core Apps Convergence that you can use to add your designs.  You can then submit links to your designs to the Design Team’s email above.  The Design Team has also provided a detailed Design Guide for Ubuntu SDK apps, including a section on Responsive Layouts that give some suggested patterns for different form factors.  You can also choose to use any tools you are comfortable with, as long as they Design Team and community developers can view it.

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Daniel Holbach

These are very exciting times for Ubuntu Touch. Not only is the Ubuntu Edge, an Ubuntu super-phone, being funded right now, but we are also making lots of progress on getting Ubuntu running perfectly on phones and tablets near you.

Ubuntu Touch

I blogged about this a couple of times now, but Ubuntu Touch has been ported to LOTS of devices in the meantime. If we consult our Touch Devices list, there are 45 working ports, with 30 more in progress, and across 21 different brands. This is awesome. Now it’s time to bring all of them into the fold.

There are two things we have to do:

  1. Update some of the ports to the flipped container model. This switch has been happening over the last couple of weeks, but we’re there now. Android bits now run on top of an Ubuntu container. Some of the images still need to be updated to benefit from this.
  2. Enable the ports in phablet-flash. Yes, you read correctly. Since the announce of the Touch preview, we only supported four devices (Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10). We always wanted to make it easier to flash all other devices too, and now we’re almost there: If you as an image maintainer make some information available, phablet-flash will soon be able to pick it up.

Updating your image to the new world order is something we are discussing today, 1st August, in #ubuntu-touch on irc.freenode.net. We are having an Ubuntu Touch Porting Clinic today. So bring your device, your questions and we’ll help you get set up for the new image formats.

If you want your images to be supported by phablet-flash, that can be easily arranged too. Follow this process, to document how the flashing of your image works. Check out the latest branch of phablet-flash (not yet landed in trunk) to try out if your image works: lp:~sergiusens/phablet-tools/flash_change.

As always: if you have any questions, talk to us on #ubuntu-touch on irc.freenode.net or on the ubuntu-phone mailing list.

Update: now it’s just
bzr branch lp:phablet-tools; cd phablet-tools
./phablet-flash community --device <vendor>

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Daniel Holbach

In many Ubuntu conversation I’ve been part of many of the participants agreed  that we need “more transparency”. It’s very easy to agree on as transparency is a good thing, it feels good and it makes things better. Achieving it in a meaningful way is a hard problem to solve though. Meaningful to me means not just “all information is available”, but also “relevant information is easy to find”. In Ubuntu development where hundreds of people put of lots of hard work into Ubuntu, we depend on thousands of other open source projects, where there’s discussions on IRC, on mailing lists, hangouts, in specifications and elsewhere, it’s incredibly easy to lose track of what’s important or relevant.

A lot of teams forming the core of Ubuntu send out weekly summaries of their work, which is great. Among them the Mir and Unity 8 team, the kernel team, Unity APIs team, the Ubuntu Touch team and there’s bits of information everywhere. While this is a great start in being able to get a more complete picture, it also takes some time to read, digest, understand and probably talk to people. To help with this we came up with an idea we already discussed at UDS.

The plan is to read and digest the news and have regular hangouts to which invite engineers to talk about what they’ve been doing, show what’s new and answer questions from the audience. To make this even a bit more interesting, we’d like to invite people from tech blogs and tech news sites. The idea being that they know what their readers would like to hear about and what’s interesting. This would bring together the best of many worlds: what’s new in Ubuntu, the new devices, apps, great stuff from the tech press and live interviews with engineers.

What I’d need now is a bit of help with organising this and setting this up. Please leave a comment or drop me a mail, if you think this is a great idea too and would like to help. :-D

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login.ubuntu.com-id-hY4GFhr

Ubuntu Phone OS integrates with Orange and Deutsche Telekom in GSMA OneAPI initiative

Mobile World Congress kicks off today and we’re gearing up to show off Ubuntu running on multiple devices. We’ll be demonstrating phones, tablets and desktops at the stand, have Ubuntu developers flashing spare hardware, as well as be showing integration and interoperability with Orange and Deutsche Telekom through the GSMA’s One API initiative.

GSMA’s OneAPI initiative aims to provide application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable applications to exploit mobile network capabilities, such as messaging, authentication, payments and location-finding with a cross-operator reach. For example, a payment network API could be used to add an in-app purchase directly to the user’s mobile phone bill.

Ubuntu is the first smartphone operating system to be able to demonstrate integration and interoperability with a carrier’s authentication and billing systems. Working with Deutsche Telekom and Orange, we’ll show how a single API can be used to instantly log users in with their operator identity and seamlessly link that with Ubuntu One, Ubuntu’s identity and payments services, and provide carrier billing options upon purchase of music and eventually, apps.

This is a massive step forward for the industry as the GSMA and partners such as Canonical, are spearheading an initiative to standardise access to operator facilities via network APIs across all operators. The initiative will benefit operators, developers and consumers:

  • It puts operators in a position to forge stronger relationships with their customers.
  • For developers, OneAPI reduces the time and effort needed to create applications for and content that is portable across mobile operators, increasing reach and ultimately enhancing the consumer experience.
  • For consumers, it makes it really quick and easy to make application purchases directly from their phone. It’s also more secure because it’s not necessary to input credit card details for each purchase.

Also at Mobile World Congress:

  • Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu, will participate in a keynote panel discussion alongside Mozilla and Tizen on Tuesday 26th Feb at 18.00 at the MWC Conference Auditorium and broadcast live on Mobile World Live
  • We’ll be taking part in the App Developer Day on Tuesday 26th Feb. Stuart Langridge, technical architect at Canonical will be presenting the Ubuntu phone, SDK, HTML5 and native apps as well as discussing app development for Ubuntu on phones and tablets. We’ll also have engineers available at the event to flash spare handsets with Touch Developer Preview of Ubuntu. This will take place from 9.00-9.30 and 11.40-11.55, and 13.30-14.00 in Hall 8.0, Theatre A.
  • The GSMA Seminar on “Unlocking Value with Network APIs” will run on Thursday 28th from 9am to 10.30 am in Room CC1.1. Canonical’s Stuart Langridge will present and demo the Ubuntu Phone during the session. We’ll also be demonstrating Ubuntu’s OneAPI solution at the GSMA stand daily.
  • Look out for Ubuntu engineers who will flash spare hardware with developer images for phone and tablet throughout the show close to the Ubuntu stand.

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Michael Hall

By now you should have heard that Canonical is branching out from the desktop and has begun work on getting Ubuntu on TVs.   Lost in all the discussion of OEM partnerships and content distribution agreements is a more exciting (from my perspective) topic: Ubuntu TV shows why Unity was the right choice for Canonical to make.

The Unity Platform

Ubuntu TV doesn’t just look like Unity, it is Unity.  A somewhat different configuration, visually, from the desktop version, but fundamentally the same.  Unity isn’t just a top panel and side launcher, it is a set of technologies and APIs: Indicators, Lenses, Quick Lists, DBus menus, etc.  All of those components will be the same in Ubuntu TV as they are on the desktop, even if their presentation to the user is slightly different.  When you see Unity on tablets and phones it will be the same story.

The Developer Story

Having the same platform means that Ubuntu offers developers a single development target, whether they are writing an application for the desktop, TVs, tablets or phones.  There is only one notifications API, only one search API, only one cloud syncing API.  Nobody currently offers that kind of unified development platform across all form factors, not Microsoft, not Google, not Apple.

If you are writing the next Angry Birds or TweetDeck, would you want to target a platform that only exists on one or two form factors, or one that will allow your application to run on all of them without having to be ported or rewritten?

The Consumer Story

Anybody with multiple devices has found an application for one that isn’t available for another.  How many times have we wanted the functionality offered by one of our desktop apps available to us when we’re on the go?  How many games do you have on your phone that you’d like to have on your laptop too?  With Ubuntu powered devices you will have what you want where you want it.  Combine that with Ubuntu One and your data will flow seamlessly between them as well.

A farewell to Gnome 2

None of this would have been possible with Gnome 2.  It was a great platform for it’s time, when there was a clear distinction between computers and other devices.  Computers had medium-sized screens, a keyboard and a mouse.  They didn’t have touchscreens, they didn’t change aspect ratio when turned sideways.  Devices lacked the ability to install third party applications, the mostly lacked network connectivity, and they had very limited storage and processing capabilities.

But now laptops and desktops have touch screens, phones have multi-core, multi-GHz processors.  TVs and automobiles are both getting smarter and gaining more and more of the features of both computers and devices.  And everything is connected to the Internet.  We need a platform for this post-2010 computing landscape, something that can be equally at home with a touch screen as it is with a mouse, with a 4 inch and a 42 inch display.

Unity is that platform.

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mark

By 14.04 LTS Ubuntu will power tablets, phones, TVs and smart screens from the car to the office kitchen, and it will connect those devices cleanly and seamlessly to the desktop, the server and the cloud.

Unity, the desktop interface in today’s Ubuntu 11.10, was designed with this specific vision in mind. While the interface for each form factor is shaped appropriately, Unity’s core elements are arranged in exactly the way we need to create coherence across all of those devices. This was the origin of the name Unity – a single core interface framework, that scales across all screens, and supports all toolkits.

Canonical and the Ubuntu community have established Ubuntu’s place in desktop, server and cloud deployments. We have also invested in the design and engineering of Unity, motivated by the belief that desktop interfaces would merge with mobile, touch interfaces into a seamless personal computing platform in the future. Today we are inviting the whole Ubuntu community – both commercial and personal – to shape that possibility and design that future; a world where Ubuntu runs on mobile phones, tablets, televisions and traditional PC’s, creating a world where content is instantly available on all devices, in a form that is delightful to use.

A constantly changing world

The way we access the Internet, connect to our friends, listen to music, watch films and go about our daily lives is rapidly evolving. We now use a diverse set of devices with an array of operating systems, which have a range of connectivity. Few people are exclusively loyal to a single technology provider.

Consider this quote from Paul Maritz of VMWare:

“Three years ago over 95 percent of the devices connected to the Internet were personal computers. Three years from now that number will probably be less than 20 percent. More than 80 percent of the devices connected to the Internet will not be Windows-based personal computers.” Paul Maritz, 29 August 2011 VM World Keynote.

Make no mistake – just as the world is changing for manufacturers so is it changing for Linux distributions. Today, 70% of people in Egypt access the Internet solely via the phone. Even in the US that figure is a startling 25%.

Ubuntu is well positioned

Ubuntu will thrive in this new reality.

Our established collaboration with the silicon vendors that are driving this converging market are critical. Intel, ARM and AMD will make the chip-sets that will power this future and Ubuntu works with all of them on all technologies.

Our engagement with the PC market will help bring the results of this work to a huge audience – partnerships with the likes of Dell, HP, Asus, Lenovo, Acer, IBM, Vodafone and more are a gateway to users who want continuous, connected, cross-device computing.

We are determined to bring more free software to more people around the world, and building that future hand in hand with device manufacturers is the best way to do it. There is no winner in place yet. This opportunity remains wide open, but only to products that deliver excellent experiences for users, across a full range of device categories.

The investment we have already made in the interface accommodates the touch scenarios required in some form factors and, with a little love and attention, will work equally well in mouse, keyboard or stylus-driven environments. Ubuntu will not be restricted to small screen or large screen environments but encompasses both and all the form factors in between. We will see our work on the Ubuntu platform land in a variety of formats current and yet to be invented. It is without doubt the most exciting phase in the history of Ubuntu.

Ubuntu One and the software centre

Ubuntu’s personal cloud and app centre services are appropriate for all these environments. They deliver the required storage, syncing and sharing capabilities that are not just a convenience but a requirement as we move to a universe where content is increasingly shared but the devices that access them become more diverse. Ubuntu One’s support for other OSes show the ability of Ubuntu to play nice with others, recognising that the divergence is strength.  It allows users to choose the devices they prefer but still delivering the benefits of Ubuntu-centred strategy.

The next steps

We are describing this at UDS to energize the entire Ubuntu ecosystem around this challenge. Canonical will provide the heavy lifting needed to put us in the ball park, but there are opportunities for participation, contribution and engagement by all elements of the broader Ubuntu community, both corporate and individual.

Our developers, our partners’ developers and the broader open source development community share this opportunity. There is a great deal to discuss, and an array of strands we need to pull together at UDS. But the direction is clear and the prize is great – to bring more free software to more people in more delightful ways than ever before.

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