Ubuntu for smartphones is based on the same kernel and drivers as Android, but brings a new interface for the portable devices. For those who already use Ubuntu on PCs, the interface will not be surprising. We are talking about a redesign and reconfiguration of Unity, the UI promoted by Canonical on its last Ubuntu distributions.
The absolute novelty with which Canonical hopes to gain ground in the mobile segment is how the user will use gestures on a smartphone. More specifically, browsing through gestures will cause (or not) users to try the new interface. For example, a short finger swipe gesture from the left to the center of the screen activates a menu Unity alike in which the user will find his favorite applications.
Also, swiping to the right of the screen will display the latest applications used, and a similar gesture made at the bottom of the screen will activate notifications.
An important aspect is that, although it runs based on the Android kernel, Ubuntu Mobile does not use the Dalvik Virtual Machine, so that Android applications are not compatible with the mobile operating system from Canonical. However, Ubuntu Mobile will offer the advantage of running native applications without a dedicated virtual machine, which means that performance may be even better than that offered by Android.
At the same time, through a stand, users of devices with Ubuntu Mobile are able to connect to a monitor and use it with the mouse and classic keyboard in the same way that they use their PC.
Currently, Ubuntu for smartphones is running on Galaxy Nexus only, but Canonical will soon publish versions for other devices as well.
The first smartphone with Ubuntu pre-installed will be launched in early 2014.