Innovation

A computer you carry around with you: Why in 2013 the catchphrase could gain a new meaning

Myriam Robin /

We are constantly told our smartphones have more power than our desktop computers did 10 years ago.

It may be true, but it’s something of a trite observation. Sure, our phones may have processing power, but we wouldn’t write up a report on them or answer long emails or conduct research. Those tasks, which many of us do for a living for eight hours or so a day, remain the preserve of a desktop, or at the very least a laptop computer.

But that could change. Canonical, the makers of the Ubuntu linux-based operating system, is developing a phone operating system. The major selling point is that it uses the Ubuntu operating system currently used on desktops. This means it’ll be possible to just plug a keyboard and monitor into the phone and use it just like a desktop, without the hand-cramping and sore eyes that typically accompany serious work conducted on a smartphone.

“We expect Ubuntu to be popular in the enterprise market, enabling customers to provision a single secure device for all PC, thin client and phone functions,” said Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical, in a statement. “We also see an opportunity in basic smartphones that are used for the phone, SMS, web and email, where Ubuntu outperforms thanks to its native core apps and stylish presentation.”

The smartphone market is highly competitive, and it’s not clear if the operating system will take off. But if Ubuntu’s innovation spreads, it could help us use the processing power of our smartphones for more than YouTube videos and games. Carrying a computer around with us may be even more useful than we thought.  

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Myriam Robin

Myriam Robin is a reporter for SmartCompany and its sister site LeadingCompany. She has degrees in economics, international studies and journalism. She likes writing about businesses taking risks and doing new things.

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