Apple iPad: Helping or Hurting Ubuntu Mobile Internet Devices?
At first glance, it will be difficult for Canonical and Ubuntu to compete with Apple’s dominant iPad in the tablet market. But now that I’ve had some time to really think about the situation, I think the iPad will help to re-ignite Ubuntu’s Mobile Internet Device (MID) effort against Microsoft Windows. Here’s why.
When Nine Lives Media Inc. launched WorksWithU in May 2008, we blogged quite a bit about the Ubuntu MID market. MIDs were supposed to be WiFi-centric mobile devices. Not quite smart phones. Not quite notebooks. Somewhere in between. But along the way, netbooks running Windows and Ubuntu gained popularity. And more recently, Apple’s iPad has redefined the tablet market by selling more than 2 million units since launch.
So where does that leave Canonical’s own Ubuntu tablet effort? Some published reports say Canonical will push forward with a tablet version of Ubuntu. But now an updated report suggests that perhaps tablets are not a priority for Canonical.
Either way, I think Canonical has something cooking in the Mobile Internet Device market. A few days before the Ubuntu 10.04 launch in April, Canonical insiders told me they might have some updated MID perspectives to share by mid-2010. I’m still standing by…
Apple iPad: Not the Competition
Plenty of people think Canonical’s top MID rival will be the Apple iPad. I beg to differ. The real challenge for Canonical is working more closely with OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). Canonical doesn’t need to directly sell its MID concept to the public. Instead, Canonical needs to push aside rival Linux distributions and Microsoft Windows to win OEM engagements with Mobile Internet Device (MID) makers.
Remember: Many PC makers are desperate to find Windows alternatives on emerging mobile devices. That’s why:
- Hewlett-Packard acquired Palm and WebOS.
- Dell launched the Streak tablet running Google Android.
- Lenovo is testing Linux on some mobile systems.
So where does Ubuntu potentially fit in?
Like I said, I expect an update on Canonical’s MID strategy by mid-2010. And we’re also watching Ubuntu’s progress on so-called Smartbooks. Stay tuned.