First vendors sign for Ubuntu smartphones - Mobile World Live

First vendors sign for Ubuntu smartphones

20 FEB 2014

Canonical announced its first partners set to bring Ubuntu-powered phones to market, with the intention to ship devices “on the latest hardware in 2014”.

But the fledgling mobile platform has not been selected by top-tier vendors. The new partnerships are with Spanish player bq and China’s Meizu.

In a statement, Canonical said that it has “received significant support from the world’s biggest carriers, some of which intend to work with OEM partners to bring phones to market this year”.

Meizu was described 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 company recently announced a strategy to expand into other international markets as well as to ship phones in the US later this year, “and Ubuntu will be a key part of this expansion”.

bq was described as “a manufacturer of multimedia devices operating in Europe and employing 600 people”. It shipped almost 1.5 million devices in 2013, and in less than a year has become Spain’s second biggest seller of unlocked smartphones.

It will bring Ubuntu to its latest hardware platforms.

Canoncal has also this week announced “new partnerships across key app categories from those bringing entertainment and productivity, to developer tools as well as partners helping bring your apps to Ubuntu”, as it looks to bolster the supporting ecosystem for the Ubuntu platform.

And in recent weeks, the Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group has also seen its ranks bolstered. Last week, Philippines operator Smart Communications signed up, following Vodafone Group earlier in February.

Other members of the body include 3, China Unicom, Verizon Wireless, and others.

“We see this as an interesting opportunity to help bring mobile innovations quicker to the market, lower access barriers and provide more choices in terms of apps and devices,” said Orlando Vea, chief wireless advisor at Smart.

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Steve Costello

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