Would you buy an Ubuntu phone that doubled as a desktop PC?

In today's open source roundup: Ubuntu is working on a phone that doubles as a desktop PC. Would you buy it? Plus: DistroWatch reviews Debian 8 Jessie. And Android Lollipop adoption rate nearly at 10%

The Ubuntu phone/desktop PC combo device

Ubuntu has confirmed that it's working on a combination phone and desktop PC. This new device would let you use it as a phone, and then plug it into a monitor to use as a desktop computer. Is this something that you would buy?

The Ubuntu phone/PC combo device came up in a Reddit thread, and redditors weren't shy about sharing their thoughts about it:

Tidux: "It's Unity 8 on Mir, with Snappy packages. Hardware changes will trigger udev events which will switch the UI mode. We've known this was coming for years now if Canonical could find a hardware partner."

Bradlinder: "...what isn't clear is just how you'll connect the phone to a display, keyboard, mouse, etc... Will it use a docking station? An HDMI cable?"

Buffalox: "While docking stations may be convenient in specific places, it kind of defeats the purpose if it's required. Phones already have USB and HDMI if they support external displays, it would be very stupid to make something that doesn't work with standard connectors, maybe displayport is better, but that really is the only thing that ought to be uncertain. You don't really need a mouse as you can use the phone screen as a touchpad instead, so only one USB is strictly required."

Gobol: "Wasn't this promised like 5 years ago?"

Coder543: "...it will struggle to gain any market share at all, now.

If the promised convergence can come quickly (before Windows Phone 10 gets it) and be implemented well, there's still hope. If not, I'm afraid I'm not alone in giving up on it, all these years later.

Sorry about the rant, but this is a topic that I've spent too much time thinking about and not being able to do anything. Ubuntu Phone inspired me, it gave me hope that a true successor to WebOS had been found, but here I am, typing away on an Android phone, years later."

ClickHereForBacardi: "Before they started with all the tablets and Edge silliness, they had the perfect idea and should've just refined that: Give me an Android phone that I can dock and use as a full PC.

Their only hardware endavor should be making that a viable workstation, and the future would be here."

Jorgejams88: "Doesn't anyone remember the Motorola Atrix MB860?, it had this from day 1, it was just inconvenient to use because you had to carry that dock around. Then came the Android-Ubuntu project which died. Don't get me wrong, I want to believe, but Canonical has disappointed me before."

Ikt123: "...smartphones provide a great phone experience, hell just a great experience in general, most people love their phones and the absurdly high level of sales are a result of this.

At the same time most people love their PC's, and so if Ubuntu takes both a great phone experience and a great PC experience, and turns them into a converged crap experience, nobody will care for convergence and it'll die a slow death.

If they can handle the average user who uses facebook and watches cat videos and when going into full desktop mode wants to browse the web and edit word documents really well then 'running servers in VMs and running resource heavy IDEs' naturally should come later as the hardware evolves."

Ronaldtrip: "It still sounds like a solution in search of a problem. The people who truly want a desktop are not going to settle for the oomph (or lack thereoff) of an ARM SoC. The people who are adequately serviced by the tablet category are not in search of a mobile doohickey that can transform into a desktop.

On the surface the idea looks cool. You have one device at the center of your computing life and it changes function based on what you need when you need it. It would be that device if it could deliver the CPU performance of an Intel Core i7, the graphics power of a Radeon R9 285 and still only use a few Watt like an ARM SoC and have near unlimited storage.

The reality of a device that fits in your hand is that it can't dissipate the heat needed to deliver desktop performance. Even if it physically could, it would still be impossible as noone wants to operate an unprotected, hot spaceheater near their bodies. It doesn't have unlimited storage either, so you either have to settle for the built in storage (32GB? 64GB? 128GB?) or put stuff in the cloud (too bad Canonical killed Ubuntu One). So at best it is going to be something like a tablet when you hook it up to a monitor with keyboard and mouse. But tablets already exist and do the job better by being fully integrated and portable devices.

Converged applications sound very much like Java's WORA (Write Once Run Anywhere), but instead of using a virtual machine to translate an application to multiple platforms, you just put one platform on all devices so applications always have the same environment at their disposal. Changing lay-out when encountering different screen sizes is a neat trick, but is it truly more than that? Do I really need the applications I use in a mobile setting on my desktop and vice versa? Browser, Calendar and clock maybe, but check in options, navigation, office suite?

Then there was the assumption during the Edge campaign that everybody would have a monitor + mouse & keyboard with "Edge dock" at their home and you'd only need to take your phone with you. Besides such a setup still being a cluttery mess on a desk, I don't see this as a ubiquitous setup for at least a decade. So that phone on the go is just that, a phone on the go. If it can only hook up at home to become a desktop, why not just hookup an Intel NUC to that screen and have some true computing power?"

JexerGIT: "Excellent points.

I think the real problem space that solution solves is not personal BYOB computing but corporate desktops. Be at work, sit down at any station, and your environment immediately starts up. Need a bigger monitor, go to the cube in the next aisle. Don't lug your laptop to the conference room to plug into the projector, just take your phone and use the local keyboard.

Make it aware of your not-work identity, and be able to stream your home music collection while at work. At home, have it automatically VPN into work OR switch back to "not-work mode" and everything related to work is encrypted and idled/unmounted.

The only one that can pull this off right now for existing industrial enterprises is Microsoft (yay Windows/Office/Sharepoint lock-in), and that is basically their roadmap recently announced. But in the future as more workplaces adopt non-MS platforms it becomes feasible for others to do the same. Or just move most of your stuff into cloud apps."

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