Canonical has officially unveiled the names of the first manufacturers of smartphones in the mobile platform Ubuntu Touch. The first models are going to be released by Spanish BQ Mobile and Chinese Meizu. At the same time, both companies will sell the device around the world through online shops, plus the devices will be available at Ubuntu.com. In addition, the announcement mentions reaching agreements with 16 major mobile operators, including Vodafone, EE, T-Mobile USA, Deutsche Telekom, Verizon, Telstra and Portugal Telecom, willing to sell smartphones with Ubuntu on board.
The exact date of the sales start has not been revealed yet, however, it is believed that the cost of the devices will be announced Feb. 26 at the Mobile World Congres conference. It is also rumored that the device from BQ Mobile and Meizu will be the only ones supporting a brand-new Ubuntu in 2014. As a basis for smartphone Meizu and Ubuntu are planning to take advantage of using Android model Meizu MX3, equipped with an eight-core processor Samsung Exynos 5410 with 4 Cortex-A15 cores of 1.6 GHz and four 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7 cores; 2 GB of RAM, 5.3 -inch screen, flash drive from 16 to 128 GB and 8 MP camera. BQ Mobile hasn’t shed light on the technical details, yet it is known the model will come with a quad-CPU Cortex A7 1.5 GHz and support two SIM-cards.
In 2015, the shelves will presumably be replenished with Ubuntu mobile devices from some of the manufacturers whose names are not publicized. At the first stage the potential partners should have experience in regaining shares in high-growth markets. In particular, the choice in favor of Meizu and BQ Mobile is not occasional – from tactical point of reference these companies are savvy enough to enter the market with fierce competition and a bunch of solid players ready to tear its competitors apart.
The financial peculiarities of cooperation with Canonical can potentially attract OEM manufacturers; therefore, the manufacturer will receive certain percentage of income derived from the sale of applications in the catalog store. As for the strong suits of the platform for the consumer, a single environment for mobile and desktop systems should be admitted. The performance of today’s smartphones is enough to use them as a portable desktop – the smartphone phone can be connected to a monitor/TV port HDMI, connect the keyboard and mouse and get a full workstation with the usual set of applications.
The intention to prepare versions of their software for Ubuntu Touch has been confirmed by a range of developers of popular mobile applications and services, such as 8Tracks, Grooveshark, Spinlet, Euronews, LastPass, Evernote, The Weather Channel, Mapbox, AND Maps and VLC. To develop applications for Ubuntu Touch (excluding Qt/QML) it is possible to use universal software based on HTML5 technology, using Apache Cordova framework. To organize the installation of mobile programs in a single click, without tampering with repositories connection, a Click packet format is used.
As one of the objectives in the formation of an ecosystem of mobile applications an aspiration to provide an opportunity of using fifty most popular Android and iOS applications is also mentioned. The mobile edition of Ubuntu is going to get rid of complex naming – Ubuntu Phone or Ubuntu Touch in favor of using Ubuntu. With implementation of Unity 8 shell, based on Qt and QML, it is planned to achieve full alignment of codebases of various editions for mobile devices and desktops.