Today Mark Shuttleworth announced a new interface for Ubuntu Netbook Edition – Unity. The main focus of Unity are maximization of screen resource, mainly the vertical pixel, and making it suitable for touch-screen devices.
This is what Shuttleworth wrote about Unity:
The desktop screenshots we studied showed that people typically have between 3 and 10 launchers on their panels, for rapid access to key applications. We want to preserve that sense of having a few favorite applications that are instantly accessible. Rather than making it equally easy to access any installed application, we assume that almost everybody will run one of a few apps, and they need to switch between those apps and any others which might be running, very easily.
We focused on maximising screen real estate for content. In particular, we focused on maximising the available vertical pixels for web browsing. Netbooks have screens which are wide, but shallow. Notebooks in general are moving to wide screen formats. So vertical space is more precious than horizontal space.
We also want to embrace touch as a first class input. We want people to be able to launch and switch between applications using touch, so the launcher must be finger friendly.
The changes introduced in Unity are:
The bottom panel moved to the left of the screen
The bottom panel has been moved to the left of the screen and it devoted for launching and switching between applications. This frees up vertical space at the cost of horizontal space, as most netbooks nowadays uses widescreen displays.
Left-hand launcher expands so that it is touch-friendly
The left-hand launcher panel will be expanded so that it is touch-friendly. The Unity launcher will show what’s running, and support fast switching and drag-and-drop between applications.
Top-panel will use Global Menu
The top panel will use the global menu that we wrote about sometimes back.
If you want, you can get a preview Unity in Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx as well.