Samsung brings Linux distros to the Galaxy S8

Developers can use DeX to write and test code in a Linux environment

Developers will soon be able to run full-fat Linux on their smartphones, with the news that Samsung is bringing support for Linux distros to its flagship Galaxy range.

The company announced that it is working on an app, dubbed Linux on Galaxy, that will allow Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+ and Note 8 devices to dual-boot Linux-based distributions in addition to the base Android OS. The feature will also be DeX-compatible, switching to a full-screen desktop environment when placed in the DeX docking station.

Rather than being intended to let users run their favourite Linux distro for everyday use, the feature is designed to allow developers to use Samsung's devices for writing and testing code.

"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,"the company said.

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"Now developers can code using their mobile on-the-go and seamlessly continue the task on a larger display with Samsung DeX."

"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."

While Samsung has promised that the forthcoming feature will let developers "work with their preferred Linux-based distributions", it has not specified whether developers will have access to the full plethora of Linux distros, or whether they will have to pick from a smaller selection.

Samsung has stressed that the project is still "a work in progress", but developers that want to be notified of availability as soon as possible to sign up here.

30/03/2017:The Samsung Galaxy S8 can replace your desktop

The Galaxy S8, Samsung's new flagship device, is more than just a smartphone - it can also be transformed into a desktop computer, thanks to Samsung's new DeX solution.

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Short for 'Desktop eXperience', Samsung DeX is a dock released alongside the S8 that enables the phone to be used with a monitor, mouse and keyboard.It features an optimised UI designed specifically for use in desktop mode, andsupports resizable windows, taskbar notifications and contextual menus, transforming the device into a fully-fledged desktop when it needs to be one.

In addition to stock apps, Samsung has partnered with Microsoft and Adobe to include DeX compatibility with apps like Adobe Acrobat Reader mobile, Lightroom Mobile and the Office suite. When docked, these apps will shift to a desktop-style user interface for easier use with a mouse and keyboard.

"The smartphone has become the central point for the modern mobile professional, and when giving a presentation or editing documents remotely, it means they can work effectively using just their smartphone. We developed Samsung DeX with the highly mobile worker in mind, giving them a convenient and flexible desktop experience," said Samsung's mobile CTO Injong Rhee.

"Our collaboration with key partners such as Adobe and Microsoft was essential in the development of Samsung DeX, as they share our vision for building excellence in mobile productivity. With Samsung DeX, enterprise users can also be assured their smartphone and data is protected by the Samsung Knox security platform built into the smartphone. Samsung DeX redefines what a smartphone can do to keep mobile workers productive."

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The DeX dock also comes with a full suite of connectivity options; it features a HDMI port for plugging in a monitor, two USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet connectivity and power via USB Type-C, with peripherals connecting via WUSB, Bluetooth or RF. It's even got Samsung's adaptive fast charging built in to juice up your phone while docked, with the company's Knox security technology ensuring it stays safe while connected.

In a move that should be very interesting to business users, Samsung has worked with three major virtualisation partners, including Citrix, VMWare and AWS, to offer their desktop virtualisation services on the Samsung DeX. This means employees can use their S8 as a thin client to access all their Windows enterprise apps without needing a laptop.

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