sunnuntai 15. toukokuuta 2016

Smart phone as a PC - choose between MaruOS, Ubuntu Touch and Windows 10 Mobile

Smart phone as a PC?

Nowadays smart phones are powerful enough to act as PCs. Talking of the specs; RAM memory varies between 2-4 GB. ARM processors are able to run many apps at the same time. Screen resolutions are up to HD level.

What alternatives are there around when you want to turn your smart phone into a PC? At least the following three. Read on to find out which suits you best.


MaruOS is in early stage yet mature. Only Nexus 5 smart phone is supported at the moment. When Nexus 5 is attached to a Full HD HDMI-monitor via slimport adapter  a genuine Debian Linux shows up on screen. Not bad! You can run your favourite Linux apps like LibreOffice or Scratch. In fact you can install any app found in the repositories! Phone itself runs a derivative of Android.

If you want to get MaruOS visit their web site to get the invitation. In addition you need to know how to flash your Nexus 5. That's been made easy. There are comprehensive instructions around and even a script which takes care of the flashing. IMHO MaruOS is the best thing to happen to smart phone industry!

Ubuntu Touch

Ubuntu Touch has a bit different approach compared to MaruOS. Canonical Ltd is developing a system called Convergence which means you have the same UI (i.e. Unity 8) on your Desktop, tablet and smart phone. In addition all apps are universal and should work on any of the devices.

At the moment you can even order a Ubuntu Touch based phone if you like. If feeling brave get a used Nexus 4 and flash it. it's a inexpensive way to become familiar with Ubuntu Touch and Convergence.

Windows 10 Mobile

Microsoft Continuum is very much like Convergence from Canonical Ltd. You can purchase a bundle with either Lumia 950 or 950 XL smart phone and a special hub which let's you run Microsoft 10 Mobile on an HDMI-screen. Bear in mind you can't run x86-based apps on Continuum. So called Universal apps are supported only. For example Office is not the same you are used on your Desktop but a touch screen version instead. Universal apps can be run on Desktop, tablet and phone - even though using different processor architecture.

Which one suits you?

That's up to you! I tried all three of them and they have their pros and cons. I'm happy it's finally possible to attach phone to a monitor and run familiar apps. MaruOS is my favourite since it lets me run Debian on a big screen. I never thought anyone would make it possible!

Will "phone-as-a-PC" take over?

That's the headache of other people than me! When thinking of Apple... they will never introduce something like Continuum or Convergence. Why not? Because that would eat their own business. Apple wants to sell hardware, not let you stick to one device only.

Let's hope for the best. At the moment I'm very satisfied there are many paltforms to choose from.

Running MaruOS on Nexus5

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