The smartphone market is as dynamic and competitive as ever, but London-based software developer Canonical believes disruptive elements can still win, even next to today’s dominant devices powered by Android and iOS.

On Thursday, Canonical unwrapped its Linux-based Ubuntu OS for smartphones, which aims to provide familiarity for desktop users of Ubuntu, but also introduce other users to an entirely new mobile experience different from what Apple or Google currently offer.

The best way to introduce you to Ubuntu’s phone OS is to show it to you. In this slideshow, we’ll take you on a tour through the Ubuntu smartphone experience, which will give you an idea of how the operating system looks, feels and performs. Check out the photos from Canonical’s video demo in the gallery above.

Canonical introduced its intentions to enter the mobile arena of smartphones and tablets at the 2011 Ubuntu Developer Summit in Orlando, Fla.

“This is a natural expansion of our idea as Ubuntu as Linux for human beings,” said Canonical founder Mark Shuttlesworth at the event. “As people have moved from desktop to new form factors for computing, it's important for us to reach out to our community on these platforms. So, we'll embrace the challenge of how to use Ubuntu on smartphones, tablets and smart-screens.”

In porting the desktop experience to smartphones and tablets, Canonical needed to figure out how to export Unity, the company’s GNOME-based desktop software, to mobile devices.

“Unity has a strong design vision and part of that is to provide coherent screens across platforms,” Shuttlesworth said. “While it's not one-size-fits-all, a common design is vital to it. Nothing is cast in stone. Still, since Unity on the desktop is part of a greater whole, we look at the experience as a whole. We want a consistent platform with a tightly structured user experience.”

Shuttlesworth, who backs Ubuntu with his own money, says that Apple and Google will be formidable opponents in the mobile arena.

“We will embrace phones and tablets and also smart screens-whether they're smart TVs or monitors or touch devices,” Shuttlesworth said. “That's a fairly radically broadened scope for the work we do with Ubuntu now.”