Canonical CEO talks Ubuntu smartphone pricing, hardware level
Later this year, some of the first smartphones sold with the express purposed of running Ubuntu will hit the market. Canonical confirmed as much early in January, and last month shared news of the first two companies that will deliver such hardware, Meizu in China and bq in Spain. That gave us a starting point, but there was still much more we didn’t know about these phones than what we did. It may still be some time before we start getting specific details about the hardware that will go into each, but our idea of what to expect continues to become clearer and clearer, with some recent comments from Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth shedding some light on which market segment Ubuntu handsets are intended to serve.
In contrast to super-cheap Firefox OS phones, Ubuntu handsets will be quite a bit more advanced, though not all the way up to the level of the $600 Ubuntu Edge that never came to be. Instead, Shuttleworth says that Canonical is targeting mid-to-high end sales, and expects that Ubuntu phones will sell for somewhere in the $200-$400 range. If we’re drawing parallels to Android, a device family running the gamut from the Moto G to the Nexus 5 doesn’t sound bad at all.
We’re also not expecting to see any Ubuntu phones until sometime this fall, and by then OEMs should be able to deliver even slightly more smartphone hardware for our buying dollar. That’s not to say that we’re free from concerns – convincing smartphone users to check out a new platform is no small order – but relatively high quality hardware at an affordable price is as good a way to get shoppers paying attention, if we’ve ever heard one.