Where it gets really interesting is the prospect of making and receiving phone calls while the phone is docked. Unlike a SIP or Skype setup, the Ubuntu-Android phone works with actual mobile phone calls!
But wait, here's where things could get really wild: with how you connect to the Internet.
Normally, you would be connected to the local network only, either via Ethernet or wifi. But thanks to the mobile network connection from the phone, you can dock this device and connect to your existing 3G/4G! With no dongle or any additional headaches. As long as the mobile carrier allows for this functionality, you would have Internet access just about anywhere you can think of.
But it's a phone
Now that we've looked at all the neat stuff that this portable computing device can offer, it's time to examine some cold hard facts. Even if the CPU offers enough power to get Ubuntu going the way the end user would expect, running Ubuntu on 512MB of RAM is just painful. Even if this is a trimmed down version of Ubuntu, I am very skeptical how well Unity can perform on such limited computer specifications.
Not to mention what you're risking if you were to lose this device. You would be losing more than just an android phone, you could lose access to your entire desktop!
Worse, if you have issues with your dock, how will you get your phone connected while you're waiting for a dock replacement? Now I’m not trying to discount just how amazing this phone is. This easily is one of the best ideas I've seen in a long time. I'd love to see it succeed! Unfortunately though, I am unsure how the concerns listed above could be resolved.
What's missing from the Ubuntu-Android phone
Overlooking the minor shortcomings I've listed previously with the Ubuntu-Android phone, there are actually some things that would instantly make this device a must-have for me. Actually, I'd go so far as to say that if they don't account for this, Canonical would be doing all who consider buying this phone a disservice. One area that has always mystified me is why Ubuntu One isn't used more effectively. Allow me to explain further.
Do you remember Zonbu? While the mistakes made by the company were many, including lackluster hardware, one thing Zonbu did right was enabling users to have all their app settings saved regardless of which Zonbu you used. So for example, if I lost one Zonbu device, I could login to a new one and everything I had would just sync up automatically.
My thinking with the Ubuntu-Android phone is that this same kind of settings functionality should be setup with Ubuntu One out of the box. This provides Canonical with a great excuse to charge a little bit of a subscription fee for added revenue, plus it also means if I lose the phone, the data stored isn't gone forever.
The idea of limiting this kind of functionality is beyond foolish. It's a two-fold opportunity that Canonical could use to make a name for Ubuntu-Android.
If Canonical heeds this advice, as an electable option, I firmly believe that they would see this phone become an overnight success. Even better, Canonical would find they're in a stronger bargaining position with phone vendors as well.
Imagine, phone and PC data that is always safely backed up off-site. Now that is the kind of user experience I'd like to try out, even using the limited resources of the Ubuntu-Android phone!