Last year’s failed campaign to crowdfund a Canonical-made Ubuntu smartphone left a vacuum of sorts in the company’s plans to present Ubuntu for phones as a viable mobile platform. Sure, we’ve seen the release of installation packages for certain Nexus-series devices, but if this project was ever to get off the ground, it needed some phones of its own. Late last year, Canonical confirmed that one OEM had signed-on to produce Ubuntu handsets, and last month we heard that it would be joined by a number more – the only problem was, we didn’t know just which companies we were talking about. The best guess we had came from a few pictures showing Ubuntu running on Meizu MX3 hardware (like the one up top), but that was it. Today we start getting answers, as Canonical confirms that Meizu and bq will ship Ubuntu smartphones sometime this year.
Meizu, as you probably know, is based out of China, but who’s this “bq?” It’s a Spanish firm that makes phones, tablets, and e-readers, as well as stuff like 3D printers. Choosing an EU partner like that might just be a really smart move for Canonical, giving it a leg up on getting its phones into that market.
Right now we still don’t have any specific details on the components that will make up these early Ubuntu handsets, other than that both Meizu and bq efforts should feature “the latest hardware.” At least that means that we’re probably not looking at any more Firefox-OS-style really low-end gear.
Whenever these phones do show up, expect them all to be available for purchase online, both through their respective manufacturers as well as Ubuntu.com itself.