Canonical asks the community to build 12 core Ubuntu Phone apps

first_imgThe first question anyone asks when presented with a new mobile OS is about the apps. While having a full app store is a vital part of a successful platform today, the core apps are in many ways more important. To help make sure Ubuntu for Phone’s core apps shine, Canonical has reached out to the community to help build the best apps possible.As the Android and iOS app catalogs grow by the thousands every day, it’s hard to imagine starting all over with a brand new OS with an app store that is relatively barren. Ubuntu’s solution to this, just as they did with the desktop, is to treat web apps the same way that native apps are treated. While this may make the shelves appear stocked, the experience is mostly untested. Ubuntu may or may not have the situation in their mobile software catalog under control, but before they even get that far they need to have some spectacular core apps.In our hands-on with the OS so far, the native apps for Ubuntu have been beautifully designed and flow really well with the interface choices that were made for this OS. Now it’s time to crowdsource some ideas for the file manager, native email client, and the all powerful Terminal.Most of the app designs that have been shown off so far are incomplete, acting mostly as placeholders for how things are supposed to function. The Calendar, for example, is an incomplete project that currently pulls a lot of design cues from the timeline-style photo gallery. Canonical has asked developers to assist in adding features to a number of applications that will ship with every Ubuntu phone. This includes a calculator, document viewer, weather app, and many others.Loose design guidelines have been established that will keep the user experience intact while working on new apps. Examples include making sure the app doesn’t rely on gestures from the edge of the screen, and to place a premium on content over controls like buttons and sliders. For the most part, the UI tools in the Ubuntu SDK should make these things easy to adhere to.Canonical is encouraging developers to pick an app and either submit new designs or enhance existing designs for apps on a collaborative site called myBalsamiq. Developers can reach out to developers at Canonical and claim an app, then work with people already focused on those apps. Canonical also plans to focus on a handful of social apps to include with Ubuntu at the launch of their phone, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and an RSS reader. These apps will be kept separate from the in-house apps like the photo gallery, media player, and the software center, which will be developed entirely by Canonical.The benefit to crowdsourcing these core apps is the knowledge that there are already developers out there familiar with building for the platform. What Ubuntu will need a lot of in order to be successful is loyal developers. What better way to make sure developers feel invested in the platform than to involve them in apps that will be seen and used by every single user that picks up an Ubuntu phone? Crowdsourcing will also help Ubuntu build a more robust SDK, which in turn will make it easier for new developers to get involved in the future.last_img read more