Canonical tried to enter the smartphone game by building its very own phone, the Ubuntu Edge, but unfortunately that project failed to kick off due to insufficient crowdfunding. Since then the company has been perfecting Ubuntu OS for phones and has even released test builds for Nexus devices. Canonical has already revealed plans of teaming up with OEMs to bring Ubuntu phones to the market, now the CEO has confirmed that the first phones will go on sale this fall.
The first OEM partners that will be launching Ubuntu phones are China’s Meizu and European designer BQ. Both were announced last week with the promise that we’ll be hearing more about this come Mobile World Congress 2014. Ubuntu founder and Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth has said that these phones will be “astonishingly great in some areas,” and that they will also be “weak in others.”
One of the areas we can expect these phones to be weak in is apps. Shuttleworth is aware of that, he says that they won’t have a ton of apps at launch so their priority is to get the phone “in the hands of people who don’t care about that first.” While Meizu and BQ might not seem like the best OEM partners to some, given that they aren’t exactly household brands, the CEO does say that they’re at “board level with quite a few household names.” This goes to show that Canonical is still talking with potential hardware partners and may very well add more in the future.
No word as yet on the pricing. As far as the new software’s user experience in concerned, Shuttleworth says that compared to Android it feels “really beautiful,” and that they have a fair chance of standing out from the crowd.