Feeds

You'll NEVER guess who's building the first Ubuntu phones in 2014

No, seriously, you probably can't

High performance access to file storage

The first smartphones running Ubuntu will ship this year, Canonical now says – although the Linux vendor's hardware partners are hardly the first companies you might guess.

In January, Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon said that getting major carriers on board with the upstart mobile OS was "longer-term," and that the first Ubuntu smartphones would be built by small manufacturers who serve small regions. Apparently he wasn't kidding.

According to a press release issued on Wednesday, the first companies to manufacture Ubuntu phones will be none other than Meizu and bq.

Never heard of them? Don't worry, you're not alone – although both companies do exist and both have shipping products today.

Canonical's release describes Meizu as "one of China's most successful high-end smartphone manufacturers with over 1,000 employees, 600 retail stores and a global presence in China, Hong Kong, Israel, Russia and Ukraine."

The Reg has spotted the Meizu brand around these parts a few times before, mainly on portable media players and smartphones that bore a striking resemblance to products made by a certain Cupertino-based firm.

Spain's bq, on the other hand, is new to us – although Canonical says it has become the country's second biggest seller of unlocked smartphones in less than a year, having shipped 1.5 million devices in 2013 alone.

Canonical says Ubuntu affords hardware makers "unprecedented customization opportunities," but adds that both bq and Meizu plan to ship Ubuntu running on "mid to high end hardware." (As a guide, Meizu touts an Android 4.2 MX3 smartmobe which is powered by an eight-core ARM Cortex-A15 chip with 2GB of RAM and a three-core PowerVR SGX544MP3 graphics chip; bq sells a similar Aquaris device.)

That hardware strategy distinguishes Ubuntu from the Mozilla Foundation's open-source Firefox OS, which beat Ubuntu to market with actual, functioning devices, but so far has only shipped on low-end kit designed for emerging markets.

No word was given on which carriers would market the first Ubuntu phones, if any, although Canonical pointed out that its Carrier Advisory Group, which is meant to collaborate on making Ubuntu more attractive to smartphone buyers, now includes 16 mobile operators from around the world.

Even if carriers shun Ubuntu devices at launch, however, Canonical says the mobes will be sold globally via mail, with online ordering available from bq, Meizu, and at Ubuntu.com. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Nvidia gamers hit trifecta with driver, optimizer, and mobile upgrades
Li'l Shield moves up to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, GameStream comes to notebooks
Gimme a high S5: Samsung Galaxy S5 puts substance over style
Biometrics and kid-friendly mode in back-to-basics blockbuster
AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'
The Radeon R9 295X2: Water-cooled, 5,632 stream processors, 11.5TFLOPS
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
NORKS' own smartmobe pegged as Chinese landfill Android
Fake kit in the hermit kingdom? That's just Kim Jong-un-believable!
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.