This past summer, Canonical tried something pretty darn ambitious when it attempted to crowdsource the funding for the Ubuntu Edge, a smartphone that besides dual-booting into Android, would natively run the new Ubuntu Touch OS. Ultimately, the project didn’t reach its goal, so the Edge is never going to happen. Even without any hardware, the OS has lived on, and a couple months back we saw the first formal release of the platform for installation on existing Android devices. But what about the dream of a native Ubuntu Touch phone? It’s still in the works, and today we get confirmation from Canonical that it’s secured its first hardware partner.
Unfortunately, Canonical is keeping quiet about just who it’s tapped for this honor; we don’t know if we’re looking at an LG, Huawei, ZTE, Oppo, or someone else entirely. All we know for now is that the plan is to make the platform available on “high-end” hardware (which would fit with the proposed goals for the Ubuntu Edge) sometime next year.
So far, platform upstarts have had a rough time. Firefox OS hasn’t made a big splash, and the recent arrival of the first Jolla Sailfish OS phone has similarly not managed to win over swaths of new fans. Ubuntu’s already got a big PC following, but will that be enough to draw users to its phone offerings? We’re right curious to find out.