Ubuntu Linux fans won't be enjoying an open source tablet this holiday season after all. The Demski Group has announced that the UT One, the Ubuntu-based mobile device it had been shooting to release as early as this month, has been delayed—although the company may be putting out a hacker-friendly Android tablet in its stead.
Reports of the UT One, an Intel-based tablet running Ubuntu, first appeared about six weeks ago. Now, project leader Andrew Bernstein has confirmed in an email that the device delease will be delayed because Ubuntu Touch, the variant of Ubuntu that Canonical is developing for use on mobile devices, won't be ready for production use while the hardware on which the Demski Group planned to build the UT One is still available.
Bernstein has not given a new target date for the UT One release, but the Demski Group apparently remains committed to pursuing the project. "We are reevaluating our hardware possibilities including that of building our own factory" to manufacture the device, he wrote.
And for Ubuntu fans who do not want to wait for a tablet that can run their Linux distribution of choice, Bernstein says his company is working currently to launch another tablet that will have "the ability to run Ubuntu"—as in, the normal, stock version of the OS, not Ubuntu Touch, although the latter platform may also become an option, Bernstein wrote.
The catch, however, is that the tablet the Demski Group is now working on will run Android by default, so users would have to install Ubuntu on it themselves. Still, this could prove an appealing device for Ubuntu and open source fans, whose current options for Ubuntu-capable mobile devices are pretty limited, since relatively few existing Android-based tablets can be flashed with Ubuntu and run it well.
Also appealing to open source power users will be Bernstein's promise that the Android tablet "will come with Android rooted and with an unlocked bootloader." So if you want a mobile device to hack on, without first having to hack your way out of the software restrictions that most device manufacturers place on their hardware, the Demski Group may soon have something in store for you.