Samsung is giving open source developers the ability to run their favourite Linux distribution on the latest Galaxy devices.

The idea is the latest development that blurbs the line between the smartphone and the PC, as the Samsung DeX ‘seamlessly transforms’ the Note8, Galaxy S8 and S8+ devices into a desktop environment.

But questions remain as to whether technology firms really need to bring a desktop-like experience to the smartphone.

Ultimate Thin Client

The $149.999 Samsung DeX is of course the electronic giant’s answer to Microsoft’s Continuum dock, and is essentially a dock that allows a user to plug their mobile device into it and connect to a power source, monitor, keyboard, network and USB devices.

And now the Samsung DeX can be installed as an app on the Note8, Galaxy S8 and S8+.

This Linux on Galaxy app gives these smartphones the capability to run multiple operating systems, so that developers can simply switch to the app and run any program they need to in a Linux OS environment.

“Although it’s in trial phase, Linux on Galaxy is our innovative solution to bring the Linux experience on PC to mobile, and then further onto a larger display with Samsung DeX,” said the firm. “Now developers can code using their mobile on-the-go and seamlessly continue the task on a larger display with Samsung DeX.”

“Linux on Galaxy is made even more powerful because it is DeX-enabled, giving developers the ability to create content on a large screen, powered only by their mobile device,” said the firm.

“This represents a significant step forward for software developers, who can now set up a fully functional development environment with all the advantages of a desktop setting that is accessible anytime, anywhere. Samsung Linux on Galaxy is still a work in progress.”

The firm said that its Samsung DeX ecosystem continues to grow and it is expanding partnerships with third party developers.

“We believe Samsung DeX will see additional adoption because of its unique experience in the near future,” said the firm optimistically.

Must Have?

But like the Microsoft Continuum, questions remain as to whether developers will truly see the need for users to turn their mobile devices into desktop machines.

Obvious interest could likely come from the business sector, where powerful mobile handsets could in theory replace desktop PCs and laptops, and instead act as the ultimate thin client.

It is certainly true that the latest smartphones are now as powerful as many PCs, so time will tell if this functionality takes off.

Quiz: What do you know about Samsung?

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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