CANONICAL HAS TEAMED up with BQ to launch the Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition, a 10.1in tablet that can transform into a fully-fledged desktop PC.
The BQ Aquaris M10 is the first Ubuntu-powered tablet, and follows the launch of the Aquaris E4.5 and E5 HD smartphones.
The tablet market is in steady decline, and Canonical doesn't want the device to be seen as an iPad rival. Instead, the firm has talked up the converged software that powers the machine, claiming that Ubuntu is the only platform capable of running a full touch-based mobile experience and a fully-fledged PC experience from a single device.
Canonical CEO Jane Silber said: "I know what you're thinking: 'The tablet market is going down.' But the most interesting thing about this product isn’t that it's a tablet, it's the notion of convergence and the opportunities that opens up.
"For example, if you're on a train you can use the device as a tablet, and if you then want to switch to a content-creation situation when you get to the office you pair it with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and it transforms into that familiar desktop environment."
Once hooked up, the device switches from a touch-friendly tablet interface to a desktop interface. For example, apps go from full-screen to floating windows that can be resized and moved around, just as with Windows or Mac OS X.
It's similar to Microsoft's Continuum feature that debuted in Windows 10, allowing a docked smartphone to act as a makeshift PC, but Silber said that Canonical had been talking about its converged vision for some time.
"Competitors are moving in the same direction, which I think offers some validation of this vision that we have been laying out for several years," she said.
On the hardware side, the BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition features a 10.1in screen powered by a quad-core MediaTek chip. There's also an 8MP camera with autofocus and dual-LED flesh, 16GB of storage expandable up to 64GB, a 7,280mAh Li-Po battery and a microHDMI port for connecting the tablet to a monitor.
The BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition will go on sale in March. Prices have not yet been announced. µ
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