The dream of an Ubuntu-powered mobile device has come to an abrupt halt as Mark Shuttleworth, the CEO of Canonical, the company responsible for making this dream a reality has reported. Any company that invests in creating an operating system platform doesn’t do so with the intention of failure, unfortunately those expectations need to be readjusted as far as Ubuntu Mobile is concerned. The company is ending all its mobile projects, killing mobile software efforts and ending its investment in the Unity interface altogether. According to ARSTechnica, the community manager Michael Hall has also corroborated Shuttleworth’s blog post.
Could this become the beginning of the end of the convergence concept? When Canonical created Unity, it was to drive convergence technology forward by creating a platform with which mobile devices can run as desktop versions of the software when docked and attached to the necessary peripherals. We’ve seen this happen with the likes of Microsoft Continuum and the very recent Samsung DeX platform with the release of the Galaxy S8. In his post, Shuttleworth speaks about the convergence he attempted with Canonical:
"I took the view that, if convergence was the future and we could deliver it as free software, that would be widely appreciated both in the free software community and in the technology industry, where there is substantial frustration with the existing, closed, alternatives available to manufacturers. I was wrong on both counts.
In the community, our efforts were seen fragmentation, not innovation. And the industry has not rallied to the possibility, instead of taking a 'better the devil you know' approach to those form factors, or investing in home-grown platforms."
Perhaps the biggest news of the cessation of all work on Ubuntu by Canonical is the company’s switch to the default Ubuntu desktop back to the older interface GNOME due to “… commercial constraints." Perhaps this will mean that Canonical can stop sinking money into the plateauing landscape of peripherals and hardware as opposed to concentrating on emerging technology such as Artificial Intelligence or the Internet of Things which will require a concerted effort from all stakeholders across the industry.