Hmm, I think the historical criticism concerning Canonical has been about a lack of working on technology as part of existing upstream projects... not just about making new technology on their own. Canonical execs new and old seem to love waxing eloquent about a common core linux platform on which everyone can commit to. Shuttleworth and more recently Asay. But Canonical isn't a significant part of developing that common core. No matter how you define what is in the core stack is...Canonical is working primarily on differentiation. And frankly I don't think they have the engineering manpower to maintain that differentiation.
Regardless, it will be interesting to see if Canonical can take a bite out of DeviceVM's dominance of the instant-on OEM space with their Splashtop product-line. The shoutout in the article to Mandriva is nice.. but the reality is Splashtop is the dominant player in the space and has a pretty solid lock on the OEM market. Is there a single major OEM that doesn't offer an instant-on solution that is not a rebranded customized Splashtop? Dell, HP, Acer, Lenovo, Sony... they all appear to have mature Splashtop based instant-on products shipping right now. The Ubuntu Light product offering is a direct challenge to Splashtop. It will be interesting to see how DeviceVM responds.
And I'll point out that Splashtop seems to straddle both intel and arm already...as evidenced by Dell's re-branded "Latitude On" instant-on options in the latitude laptops. Ubuntu's interface offerings seem to be diverging across architecture. I'm not sure that helps Canonical when dealing with OEMs. I think Canonical has a tough fight on their hands stealing away OEMs from DeviceVM in the instant-on market.