The Ubuntu operating system (OS) will make its smartphone début next month – on Samsung Galaxy Nexus devices.

At the beginning of January the software development company behind the Ubuntu operating system, Canonical, announced that a ‘distinctive smartphone interface’ would be entering the market, but failed to say which specific handset it would launch on.

It has now been revealed that users of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus will be the first to test out Ubuntu, which is designed to compete with the likes of Google Android.

At a press event held in London last week, Canonical’s engineering manager Alan Pope, said that a downloadable image of the upcoming system will be available in late February for Galaxy Nexus users.

Private company Canonical, which was founded by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth, will target the full range of smartphones, from low to high-end devices, with its Ubuntu mobile OS.

The handset interface for Ubuntu will introduce voice and text commands in any application for faster access to rich capabilities, both native and web or HTML5 apps, evolving personalised art on the welcome screen and a global search for apps, content and products.

Thumb gestures from all four edges of the screen will enable users to find content and switch between apps ‘faster than other phones’, and controls will appear only when the user wants them.

CEO at Integrated Computer Solutions, Peter Winston, said a true open source player has the opportunity to be a significant player in the emerging markets, as well as with people already committed to open source.

“Almost all modern phones have a lot of open source components, but it was only a matter of time before someone created a pure open source phone, without the strings attached. It’s really exciting to see Ubuntu entering into the phone market,” Winston said.

In an already saturated and unpredictable market, will Ubuntu be able to lure over users from Apple’s iOS, Android and even the Windows Phone?

[Image via wallpaperswala]