What's really surprising about this is that big tech vendors still don't get it. Despite my words here and countless other examples, these companies cling to the idea of providing non-Android-based Linux solutions that lack fundamental reasons for consumers to care. As Android has proven, an OS based on Linux can be very success in the marketplace. The secret is making sure that users find what they're looking for both in end-user experience and with available applications.
Meeting in the middle
As much as I hate to admit it, the best way to get user-friendly distributions on to tablets is to rely on Android. Allow me to explain my reasoning.
If big tech vendors are to avoid repeating their mistakes, they need to accept that users want what they're familiar with. This means money and time would be better spent finding creative ways to bridge the needs of desktop Linux applications for those using Android devices. The "cloud application" space is already covered (and coveted) by Google, so why not specialize in what these companies know best? A focus on solution-based software experiences would be the best course of action for these companies.
Together, the big vendors have made great strides in user experience and design, among other aspects of the netbook space. Why not apply these same things into a market that's actually growing? Offer traditional Android marketplace access to users who want more than what Android now offers.
But this distribution already works on tablets!
Linux fans are already experienced with turning their HP TouchPads into Ubuntu devices. The Web is full of stories sharing examples of proud hobbyists showing off their latest hacked-together creations.
This indicates that corporate funds would be better spent cleaning up this existing progress into something user-friendly for Intel or ARM chip designs. And considering the lack of a glide-point in bringing Linux apps to Android, this leads me to believe there has to be a better way to reach this goal.
Want to run Android apps on an existing Linux distribution? Enter the X86 port of Android. This project holds a lot of potential that demonstrates what I think big vendors should have done all along. Not in place of desktop operating systems, rather along side of them. I'd be a more excited about an Ubuntu Netbook Edition based on X86 Android than I would be based on Ubuntu alone.
Now imagine porting this concept into a tablet! Not just an Android tablet, but one that runs both Android software and desktop Linux software on the same screen.
Due to the fact that Android runs as its own OS, the blending of the two environments would be "challenging," to say the least. Then again, I'm confident that developers could find away around this without eating up too much of a tablet's resources.
The X86 project shows us what's possible with X86 architecture. Now let's see what can be done to emulate this success with Linux, Android and ARM while allowing two types of software to run on the same device.