We've been watching Ubuntu for phones develop for over a year now, and in that time the project has hit several milestones, including developer previews for Nexus hardware and even an official release as part of Ubuntu 13.10. One thing that the platform is still missing is its own publicly-available smartphone hardware, though not for lack of trying. It looks that'll change this year, though, because Canonical has revealed that it's signed agreements with two device makers to produce Ubuntu phones in 2014.
Canonical announced today that Spanish manufacturer bq and Chinese company Meizu have signed on to ship the first Ubuntu phones later this year. Details on the upcoming devices are still pretty light, but Canonical does say that it's currently involved in developer programs with its partners to work on smartphones that consist of "mid to high-end hardware." The upcoming Ubuntu phones will be made available online by bq, Meizu and on the Ubuntu website.
Along with its bq and Meizu partnerships, Canonical says that Ubuntu for phones has received support from "the world's biggest carriers," some of which will offer phones this year. Unfortunately, Canonical stopped short of naming any names. There are some big operators involved in the Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group, including T-Mobile and Verizon in the U.S., though that's no guarantee that we'll see Ubuntu phones on those operators any time soon.
The mobile version of Ubuntu has evolved ever since it was first announced in January 2013, and it's exciting to hear that the platform has itself some manufacturer support. It'll definitely be interesting to see what kind of hardware bq and Meizu release and at what price points the devices come in at. The good news is that both companies are expected to roll out online campaigns for their Ubuntu phones, meaning that they'll be available to consumers around the globe.
Do any of you plan on checking out bq and Meizu's Ubuntu handsets when they become available later this year?