Next year might finally bring smartphones developed specifically for the Ubuntu Touch OS. Even though Canonical’s ambitious Ubuntu Edge smartphone could never reach its insane crowdfunding goal, its not like the team gave up on trying to get the OS on smartphones. Stable builds have already been released for Nexus devices, but a smartphone partner means that the OS will finally have a shot at other players in the global smartphone market. The announcement about the first hardware partner was made by Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth today at the LeWeb conference, he says that high-end phones powered by Ubuntu Touch OS will be available in 2014.

The company obviously isn’t settling for just one partner. Shuttleworth reveals that Canonical is also in board level discussions with a number of other potential partners as well, “four household brands” as he calls them, brands that “sell a lot of phone all over the world, in emerging and fully emerged markets, to businesses and consumers.” Unfortunately, he has not named the one hardware partner that they already have locked down, and neither has he revealed the names of other potential partners. Ubuntu Touch OS still has a long way to go, and its likely to receive competition from another new mobile platform that’s anxiously being awaited, Intel and Samsung’s Tizen OS. 2014 is definitely going to be an interesting year.

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