Canonical has named its first hardware partners on the Ubuntu Phone project, with the promise that the first handsets will begin shipping before the year is out.
Ubuntu for Phones
was formally unveiled early last year as an extension of the company's previous work with Android. In July Canonical began a crowd-funding campaign to build a first-party handset, dubbed the Ubuntu Edge
, which fell far short of its lofty $32 million goal - raising question as to whether the entire venture, which never got further than a model constructed of plastic and a bunch of computer-generated images, was little more than a publicity stunt.
In December last year, Canonical claimed it had signed its first partner
for what it now called Ubuntu Touch, but refused to name names. Now, the company is backing up its statement with some firm facts: Spain's bq and China's Meizu have become official Ubutnu Touch partners, and will be launching their devices before the end of the year world-wide.
'The mobile industry has long been looking for a viable alternative to those [operating systems] that reign todaym
' claimed Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth of the deals. 'Ubuntu puts the control back into the hands of our partners and presents an exciting platform for consumers, delivering an experience which departs from the tired app icon grid of Android and iOS and provides a fluid, content-rich experience for all.
Neither company has offered any preliminary specifications for their Ubuntu Touch devices, nor confirmed whether they will include the key selling point of Ubuntu Edge: the ability to connect a keyboard, mouse and monitor and turn the smartphone into a fully-fledged ARM-based personal computer.