Ubuntu made an announcement today that it’s going to be working with two smartphone manufacturers – Meizu and bq, better known in China and Spain, respectively – to produce and sell an unknown number of Ubuntu powered phones later this year.
Canonical, who maintains the Ubuntu operating system, has seen substantial success (well, for Linux) in the enterprise and academic communities with its desktop OS. The company has seen some setbacks for its still-extremely-alpha phone OS, however, taking advantage of Google’s dev-heavy Nexus 4 as a reference device for the platform.
According to Canonical, the Ubuntu phone software is different from alternatives such as iOS or Android, because it “puts content and services first” – that is, built into the platform, rather than relying on a huge app store.
That’s probably a smart move for the company, considering that Windows Phone has the power of Microsoft behind them, and still gets flak for an underserved app experience.
There’s no word as to what sort of specifications we can expect for these phones or if they’ll support competitive features such as an Android dual-boot functionality. Still, both Meizu and bq have produced fairly high-end smartphones for affordable prices, so chances are we’ll see similar devices with Ubuntu’s software.
What excites us about the idea is that an Ubuntu-powered phone may finally be the one device that you can do almost anything you need with. Since it runs Ubuntu, you’ll be able to run any properly compiled Linux apps on it – plug in a monitor and keyboard, and you’ve got a desktop that fits in your pocket.
If you have a Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, or Nexus 10, you can play around with a (mostly broken) version of Ubuntu Touch right now. Future dev versions will only support the Nexus 4 or newer Nexus 7 tablet. In addition, there’s a number of devices supported by the community, including many popular, mainstream smartphones.