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Ubuntu Mobile Edition: Review - page 3

Ubuntu Mobile Edition

  • August 7, 2008
  • By Paul Ferrill

Browsing the web with this version of the software works but isn't really ready for prime time. There are some issues with navigation, and entering a URL requires the on-screen keyboard which is cumbersome at best (see Figure 3). If you're simply hitting bookmarked pages or browsing a site by clicking on links, it works just fine. The Samsung Q1 has a number of buttons on the front face of the device that are programmable under Windows and make some of the tasks like paging down on a web page much easier. These aren't currently accessible with this release, but it's likely they will be with a final shipping version.

With my Q1 I purchased the leather case / USB keyboard accessory to make text entry easier. Open Office works just fine under UME, and I was able to enter and edit text using the keyboard with no issues. The USB keyboard also includes an "eraser head" type mouse that works just fine under UME. I did not try to connect a Bluetooth keyboard although this version is supposed to support Bluetooth devices.

Development

There are a number of developer resources if you have an interest in writing or porting applications to the UME platform. The moblin.org website has links to an SDK and a developer forum where development topics are covered. UME has the Hildon desktop in common with the Nokia tablet platform bringing a good source of developer examples to learn from. Python is a major language of choice for many of the applications that have been created for the Nokia tablets and these should easily move over to the UME platform.

You'll find a great tutorial on the Ubuntu site on how to launch one of the images using the Xephyr environment. One hint that I needed concerned a work around for a DNS issue. The instructions are on the same page under the "Temporary issue with DNS" heading.

Overall this version represents a good start toward making the Linux operating system a viable alternative to Windows for these ultra portable devices. You can follow the development on any of the Ubuntu mobile mailing lists and IRC discussions listed on the UME wiki.


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