We recently spent some time with BQ’s Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Tablet, a device bringing the concept of Continuum--Microsoft's version of a mobile-device-as-desktop-computer--to life for a Linux-based operating system. However, our experience was not ideal, as we encountered numerous performance problems. However, Canonical recently released an update for the Ubuntu-powered device, and a second look showed that OTA 11 fixed many of the issues we saw in our first encounter with the tablet.
At the time, we noted problems with the device’s basic functions, including camera orientation, multitasking and switching the modes of operation. The overall concept of "convergence" showed serious promise, but the execution was flawed, with random hangs and shutdowns on top of dismal performance.
But with OTA 11 installed to Ubuntu Frieza, the difference in responsiveness is night and day on the Aquaris M10. We had previously been able to open only approximately six programs before experiencing application hangs (or crashes) and annoying painful lag in operation.
Now, the device seems like a whole different product. We were able to open 10 applications without any perceivable performance degradation, including when using any of them or switching between them in either desktop or tablet modes. As we added tabs to the Firefox web browsing session, typing in LibreOffice was periodically delayed by what seemed like less than a second, but this isn’t unusual on tablets in this price range. Simply put, performance across the board noticeably improved.
Using the device as a desktop PC, which includes attaching a keyboard and mouse, was previously plagued with shutdowns and performance issues but now performs as advertised. We had no issues at all attaching the Bluetooth input devices to the M10, and they were no longer randomly disconnecting. Attaching a monitor gave us the full desktop experience, and the automatically-adjusted UI was easy to navigate and use, without the problems we noted in our first analysis.
We said in our initial writeup that Canonical had some work to do before the M10 and its Ubuntu-powered features were ready for users, and we're pleased to see that it did that work. The OTA 11 update may have just renewed the chances of mainstream (and/or enterprise) adoption of Ubuntu's convergence concept, if developers can get behind the platform.