LINUX DISTRIBUTOR Canonical has announced its first two hardware partners for mobile devices running the Ubuntu Linux operating system.
BQ and Meizu were chosen for their experience in breaking into established markets, explained Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth, speaking to The INQUIRER today. He said that household name phone makers will release devices in 2015, with planning already underway with leading firms.
The two devices, which will be available "well inside 2014", have not been identified as yet, though it is widely expected that there will be opportunities to try them out at next week's Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.
The Meizu device will run a port of Ubuntu on an existing device, reflecting the company's strategy of releasing only one device at a time.
Shuttleworth said that "95 percent" of the code for the Ubuntu Linux mobile operating system will be the same as that of the desktop version, with full convergence by 2015.
He also announced that Canonical intends to make it as easy as possible for Android users to dual boot their existing devices, even for casual modders. The company is positioning itself as the "credible open source alternative to Android", emphasising that Ubuntu will not be "locked down" in the same way as Google's Android, dismissing the Samsung backed Tizen as "not a threat".
A number of app partners were also named, including Twitter, The Weather Channel and Evernote, pointing out that the Linux/HTML5 overlap between Ubuntu and Android means that most HTML5 based apps will work out of the box on both mobile operating systems.
The announcement of BQ and Meizu as hardware partners is the latest step on the road for Ubuntu's plans for full operating system convergence, which Shuttleworth believes positions them best for any future disruption of the market in terms of new user interfaces or form factors. µ
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