Ubuntu smartphones will live to fight another day after Canonical made good on earlier promises and announced that two device manufacturers based in China and Spain will sell Ubuntu devices later on this year.
The Ubuntu OS, which was at the heart of the most lucrative crowd-funding effort in history, will be the centrepiece of the devices and there are plans for Spain’s bq and China’s Meizu to make the device available globally.
“The mobile industry has long been looking for a viable alternative to those that reign today. Ubuntu puts the control back into the hands of our partners and presents an exciting platform for consumers, delivering an experience which departs from the tired app icon grid of Android and iOS and provides a fluid, content-rich experience for all,” stated Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical and Ubuntu.
Meizu, one of China’s foremost high-end smartphone makers, plans to expand into the US in 2014 and Ubuntu is reportedly a cornerstone of its expansion effort on a worldwide basis.
Over in Spain, bq is the country’s second largest seller of unlocked smartphones and shipped 1.5 million devices last year with Ubuntu hoping to boost this number even further.
Canonical added that interest among carriers is strong with its Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group made up of 16 members including Vodafone, EE, T-Mobile USA, Three Group, Deutsche Telekom, Verizon, Telstra and Portugal Telecom. There are also a number of ISV partners including The Weather Channel, Grooveshark and Evernote.
The Ubuntu Edge, which is a smartphone that doubles up as a desktop PC when docked, failed to reach its ambitious Indiegogo target of $32 million [£20.5 million] and raised just $12.8 million [£8.2 million] of the target.
Ubuntu has yet to state how much the new devices will cost and its strategy of focusing on the mid to high end market will mean that the devices will be available to wide range of consumers as the cost should be reasonable.