Since the release of Ubuntu Touch, there has been many articles written on the platform. And the consensus seems to be that it is not ready for prime time. I purchased the BQ Aquarius M10 tablet and I use it as my everyday tablet(I traded in my iPad. Using the Ubuntu Touch device as my everyday tablet has been extremely difficult for one reason in particular. No cloud! While others have focused their reviews on such things as the quality of the M10 or on the speed of the OS, or even the many bugs in the system, I believe that those things pale in comparison to a lack of a cloud. All the aforementioned things can be overlooked as this is a new OS that is groundbreaking. But we cannot over look the lack of a cloud.
The Ubuntu Ecosystem?
Ubuntu One was the infamous cloud that Canonical ran for several years til one day they announced that they were dismantling the program. This was a very bad idea. Canonical did not release any usage stats or numbers on how costly it was to keep Ubuntu One going. We suspected that it must have been low for them to get rid of it. Whatever the case, it seems that it was a poor choice especially considering that they were planning to release a mobile operating system, thus creating an ecosystem. However, they must not understand the notion of a modern tech ecosystem. No cloud, no ecosystem. Tech ecosystems rely on the cloud. Microsoft has Onedrive, Apple has iCloud, Google has Google drive. What does Ubuntu have? Own cloud? Well it’s certainly not there and not integrated.
Without such integration, I firmly believe that this project will fail in it’s current form and be abandoned. Canonical, we must have a cloud. Please bring back Ubuntu One or work in conjunction with Nextcloud. Something has to give.
Now on to the rest of my review…
The M10 tablet looks pretty sleek. Like everyone else, I believe that it seems like a mid range Android tablet in look and feel (Although it feels a bit better in my opinion). The battery life is astonishingly good (not as good as an iPad) and seems to last through the day on a full charge. However, this isn’t fully tested given the sheer lack of apps and the time that it takes for apps to load. Load time for the apps are important as this discourages use throughout the day. waiting up to 10 seconds for an app to load in 2016 makes many users move on to another task and causes distractions, and everyone is easily distracted these days.
Aquarius M10 from BQ
The OS it self feels much different than Windows, iOS, or even Android. The concept of scopes is brilliant! It took awhile getting used to not having a home screen nor a home button. The touch maneuvers required to operate the device became more and more intuitive over time. I think the scopes method is a good idea and have now fully bought into it. But, there are not many native apps and the web apps seem to perform better than the native apps in terms of load time and crashes. I feel very disconnected from my information on this tablet as there is no cloud! Something as simple as taking down notes is a pain as my notes are stuck in 2005. I can’t put things in notes and move on to another device and pick up where I left off. This was a huge benefit to my previous Apple ecosystem with iCloud. I find myself using the tablet less and less for this very reason alone. With no cloud, I have to revert to devices where I have a cloud.
I haven’t had the chance to explore the apps and web apps as much as I would like, and there isn’t much written yet about the many apps and web apps that are available, so I may be missing some things that would solve my cloud issues. As I discover more about this OS, I will share. I am however fully invested in the Ubuntu ecosystem, mainly because it is the best Linux ecosystem available so far. But Canonical must provide a seamless cloud solution to make this OS into a bonafide ecosystem. See more from me on ecosystems here: Ecosystems.
I am still waiting on an opportunity to purchase an Ubuntu Phone. The Meizu Pro 5 seems like the best option. However they are all out of stock and have been for a few weeks! The OnePlus 3 just dropped and there will be a port for it from UBPorts. Which ever is available first, the port or the Pro 5, I will attain to help make my transition to a full Linux ecosystem.