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Ubuntu Touch phones to ship next year as Canonical bags first OEM

Shuttleworth reveals firm is in talks with four other household names
Wed Dec 11 2013, 12:43
Ubuntu phone devices

CANONICAL FOUNDER Mark Shuttleworth has revealed that the Ubuntu Touch OS, a Linux operating system designed specifically for smartphone and tablet devices, has found its first manufacturing partner.

During an interview with CNET, Shuttleworth let slip that the firm has signed up its first hardware partner for Ubuntu Touch OS, but failed to reveal which company it is.

Shuttleworth said, "We have concluded our first set of agreements to ship Ubuntu on mobile phones. We've shifted gears from 'making a concept' to 'it's going to ship.' That has a big impact on the team."

He added that the Linux based operating system will arrive on high-end phones soon, with the first Ubuntu Touch OS devices likely to ship in 2014. Shuttleworth also revealed that the firm is in talks with other potential partners, and hinted that some big names could sign up to use the mobile operating system.

"We are now pretty much at the board level on four household brands. They sell a lot of phones all over the world, in emerging and fully emerged markets, to businesses and consumers," he said.

Despite Canonical already having a failed attempt at the smartphone market under its belt, thanks to the failure of its Ubuntu Edge $32m crowdfunding project, Shuttleworth expects big things for the firm's Ubunutu Touch OS, and said he doesn't want it to occupy a niche segment of the mobile phone market.

"Volume is important. We want to do stuff that people use every day. The look is fresh and clean. It's much more usable than any of the other new phones," Shuttleworth said.

It's still unclear when we'll be seeing the first Ubuntu Touch OS smartphones, but they could appear at next year's CES and MWC events. µ


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