Canonical will release Ubuntu phones this fall. Despite the Ubuntu Edge’s failure to reach its $32 million goal on IndieGoGo, the company has been working to perfect its OS. It’s even released builds of its Touch OS for enthusiasts who want to mod their Nexus devices.
North Americans will have to wait though, as Ubuntu’s launch will focus on China and Europe to start. Manufacturers Meizu and BQ debut their Aquaris and MX3 phones, respectively, at Mobile World Congress 2014 (MWC). These models aren’t new to the market, previously released with Android, the Aquaris and MX3 will be repurposed with Ubuntu’s OS sometime later this year.
As for why Ubuntu phones are delayed for US markets: it’s a retail strategy, according to Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth. He recognizes the challenges of releasing a new OS to a market that’s already had some years to grow, so “if we get them into the right hands, people can celebrate the things we’re really great at while we buff up the app catalogue and improve in other areas.”
As with any new OS looking to compete in the mobile market, Ubuntu will have to go up against Android’s and Apple’s established and ever-growing app markets. We “won’t have 650,000 apps in the app store,” Shuttleworth stated. However, he sees Ubuntu as “perfectly aligned with Google and Apple … if you’ve got an HTML5 app that works with Android or iOS, it will work with Ubuntu, with only a tiny amount of friction that just one person can take care of.”
As for what’s become of the aforementioned Ubuntu Edge, don’t set your hopes too high for a release date. It’s not because of a lack of trying; Shuttleworth’s crowdfunding campaign received a lot of attention, and may have become a reality had it succeeded. But he’s at the mercy of the manufacturers without his grant, and has to proceed accordingly. So far he seems to be making the moves.