Linux at CES 2012: Everything You Need to Know

Linux has been gaining some serious mileage over the years. Linux and other high-end Open Source software like Blender are not some hobbyists-only stuff anymore and the whole technology world is slowly starting to realize the positive and unbiased influence Open Source and Linux has on everything technology. Linux was quite prominently featured at just concluded International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012 in various different forms. Let's go find out what those 'various forms' were. Read on.

linux at 2012 ces

How Can I Not Mention UbuntuTV!
Canonical revealed their attempt at recreating "TV for human beings" aka Ubuntu TV at International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012, a major technology related trade show held each January at Las Vegas, USA . This was Canonical's first ever CES appearance and they made quite an impression. Here is a quick preview video of UbuntuTV in action.

Those who have used Ubuntu Unity before should find UbuntuTV UI quite familiar. Ubuntu TV will have a almost the same interface as the current Ubuntu Unity desktop, with the launcher on the left side.  But that is where the similarity ends. The goal is to make Ubuntu TV the "OS for your television", and not a set-top box like Boxee Box for example.

With a slew of advertisements recently, Canonical is slowly upping its marketing pitch and UbuntuTV is next in line. UbuntuTV was featured prominently in almost all major technology blogs which I think is a positive sign of things to come. Canonical intends to push Ubuntu as a platform that works not just in desktops and laptops but in a wide variety of devices that include tablets, smartphones, automobile in-vehicle infotainment systems and so on. Along with the event, Canonical also launched the official UbuntuTV website.

Android Still Rules the Roost
Though it had its share of controversies, 2011 was a tremendous year for Google's open source Android OS. If 2011 proved to be the year of Android smartphones, it seems like 2012 is going to be the year of Android tablets. CES 2012 showed us clear signs of just that. But that doesn't mean Android has lost its mojo in the smartphones arena either. I will try to name some of the Android gadgets showcased at CES 2012 that became instant hits. Tablets first.

Asus-Transformer-Prime-New CES 2012
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Asus Transformer Prime TF700T(10.1-inch LED backlit Gorilla Glass display), Asus MeMO Me370T(which apparently won the Best of CES award in the tablet category), Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7(with gorgeous 7.7-inch Super AMOLED Plus display), Toshiba Excite X10(which was one among the thinnest Android tablets around).

Sony Xperia S CES2012

Now the smartphones. Galaxy Note with 5.3" HD Super AMOLED display, Motorola Droid Razr MAXX with a massive 3300 mAh battery, Sony Xperia S with a 12MP camera and a 1.5GHz dual-core processor(many consider Sony Xperia S as the best Android smartphone introduced at CES). PS: I will try to feature a more elaborate list very soon.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Hybrid Laptop
Lenovo unveiled a range of ThinkPads a week before CES 2012 and they all were prominently displayed at CES. The range included an interesting laptop, termed as Lenovo X1 ThinkPad "Hybrid", which is capable of stretching the battery life by a big margin using the hybrid's Instant Media Mode, powered by a second processor and operating system(read Linux).

ThinkPad X1 Hybrid

ThinkPad range of laptops have always been regarded as market leader in terms of quality and durability. Lenovo X1 Thinkpad Hybrid lets you switch over to Linux(from Windows) with the press of a button. Lenovo calls it Instant Media Mode (IMM) and they even claim that this will double the battery life of the laptop.

IMM includes a Qualcomm dual core processor, up to 16 GB of memory and a custom Linux-based operating system. To switch to IMM from Windows, users need to simply click on an icon on the laptop’s home screen. With IMM, the laptop operates much like a smartphone, remaining turned on and requiring fewer charging sessions, claims Lenovo.

Using IMM, users can watch videos, view photos, listen to music and browse the web(which are pretty much the stuff an average laptop user would do on any given day) while preserving precious battery life. If IMM lets you do all that in a smooth, easy-to-use manner, then I will not be surprised to see more users preferring IMM over bulky Windows OS for day-to-day use.

OLPC XO 3.0 Tablet
Non-profit One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, along with Marvell Technology Group, unveiled their next generation low-cost, low-power, and all-terrain XO-3 tablets at CES 2012.
OLPC XO-3.0 CES2012

The OLPC project started off with the novel idea of bringing basic computing technology to the hands of children across the globe through its range of low-cost, low-power, rugged devices with lightweight and powerful software. XO-3.0 range of rugged touchscreen devices will succeed XO-1 laptops which were officially launched in 2008.

The 8-inch XO-3.0 tablet features a 1024x768 Pixel Qi sunlight-readable display, 512MB of RAM, and is powered by Marvell Armada PXA618 ARM System-on-a-Chip(SoC). The operating system used will be either Android or Sugar(both Linux based), depending on the hardware configuration. Though there is no official confirmation yet, many analysts believe that OLPC's XO 3.0 tablet will be affordably priced at US$100 or less.

Qooq Kitchen-Friendly Tablet
Qooq is a very interesting and uniquely designed tablet by French manufacturer Unowhy. It sports a splash-resistant 10.1-inch display and is powered by 1GHz Cortex A9 processor.

Qooq tablet CES 2012
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Unlike other fancy tablets out there, Qooq does not run on popular platforms like Android or iOS. Instead Qooq uses a heavily customized Linux OS(which also means a-lot-less thrid-party apps). Qooq at the moment is available for sale in France only, but many reports suggest that this niche product might find its way to US market sooner than you think.