Canonical announces its first Ubuntu smartphone

19 Feb 2014

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Canonical, the relatively small software development company better known for its Debian-based Linux operating system Ubuntu, is to launch its first smartphone at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The Ubuntu Touch is aimed at being Android’s biggest rival in the affordable smartphone market but as it stands, no carriers are yet to commit to the ambitious up-starts.

The British-made operating system is set to be produced by BQ in Spain and Meizu in China and are aimed to target the mid to high end range of devices.

Because it has no established carriers, the plan is to sell the Ubuntu Touch phones through the two manufactuers’ websites and will give the phone a formal unveiling at this year’s Mobile World Congress, one of the biggest world mobile phone events of the year.

Despite being a relatively unknown commodity along with its totally unknown manufacturers, Ubuntu’s founder Mark Shuttleworth told Cnet that they wanted to play a major part in the phone’s actual creation: "While we're happy to work with household names, we want to be involved with partners for whom we can be a significant part of their story, rather than being appended to the more complicated story of other brands."

As of yet, the phone’s spec is yet to be released, aside from the obvious inclusion of Ubuntu’s own operating system.

The announcement offers some welcomed competition to Google’s android operating system which has shown recently it is the dominant software in smartphones across the world and Ubuntu’s inclusion has the potential to even out the playing field slightly.

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Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com