Shuttleworth was speaking to ZDNet ahead of the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Florida and said that the first version of the OS to work across various form factors will be the Ubuntu 14.04, set for release in April 2014.
"We want a consistent platform with a tightly structured user experience”, said Shuttleworth. "Ubuntu is already working with hardware partners to bring products to market. As progress is made Ubuntu will take the device-specific code, open source it, and roll it into standard Ubuntu”.
Ubuntu will run on both x86- and ARM-based systems and is expected to feature the new Unity user interface.
Each different form factor will have their own version of Ubuntu, albeit with the same core operating system, so to make it easier to develop apps across various platforms. Canonical says that users will be able to switch between these versions.
"We want to enable handsets to behave like desktops when they’re in their desktop form factor, to behave like media centres when they’re connected to a television”, said Shuttleworth.
The Canonical chief went on to add that while the software will be available for users to download and install on their own hardware, the group will also be looking to partner with hardware vendors to increase adoption.
“There’s a very high level of demand for a tablet alternative right now, and we know it’s going to take a bit of time to get it right”, said Shuttleworth. "We thought Honeycomb was rushed to market and that was fairly evident in the results”.