The first Ubuntu-powered smartphones are coming in 2014, and they’ll be manufactured by European designer BQ and Chinese phone maker Meizu. BQ and Meizu, both Chinese phone makers, will produce the phones that will launch “well within” 2014, said Mark Shuttleworth, in a conference call with reporters.
Canonical introduced Ubuntu for phones a little over a year ago, and the company has been releasing public beta builds for installation on Google Nexus phones and tablets since then. But so far you haven’t been able to buy a phone that comes preloaded with Ubuntu software.
A number of app partners were also named, including Twitter, The Weather Channel and Evernote, pointing out that the Linux/HTML5 overlap between Ubuntu and Android means that most HTML5 based apps will work out of the box on both mobile operating systems.
In the middle of the year, the company launched a crowd-funding project for a high-end concept phone based on the operating system. While the campaign for the Ubuntu Edge phone received a strong launch—over a million dollars were raised in the first few hours—enthusiasm quickly tailed off and the campaign raised just under $13 million, which was well below the target of $32 million.
According to Canonical and Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth, extra details will be revealed at the upcoming Mobile World Congress that is happening in Barcelona, Spain, later this month, although there were hints that Meizu’s handset will be more or less the already released Meizu MX3, albeit it will ditch the Android platform and run on Ubuntu instead.
Indeed, while the first Ubuntu phones will come via Meizu and bq, Canonical says more are on the way. “Ubuntu has also received significant support from the world’s biggest carriers, some of which intend to work with OEM partners to bring phones to market this year,” it confirmed in a statement.
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