Meizu, one of the two named partners for Ubuntu-powered smart devices, is making available its Ubuntu MX4 smartphone for developers in China, in what was described as “the first of a series of launches”.

The device will also be sold across Europe “soon”, with a Chinese version to be launched for consumers “later this year”. The first smartphone using the operating system, BQ’s Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition, was launched earlier this year.

Meizu was described as “one of the most popular high-end smartphone brands in China, recognised for its innovative and elegant product design and for pioneering the user-centric distribution model that has become the standard for several Chinese manufacturers”.

So far Ubuntu devices have not been positioned as mass-market propositions, instead targeting existing “fans” of the various parties – including developers. Much effort has also been made targeting developers to create apps and services to bolster the Ubuntu proposition in the face of more established rivals such as Google’s Android.

A key feature of the Ubuntu mobile platform is Scopes, a new interface intended to “integrate the content and services typically hidden behind apps directly into the OS”. It was said that the Ubuntu store now has “over 1300 scopes and apps within just a few months from the first device coming to market”.

Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, and China Mobile announced a developer competition late in 2014, intended to drive development of “the next generation of mobile experiences on Ubuntu”.