There’s been a lot of news about Ubuntu Touch lately, some of it good, some bad. Back in December, Canonical, the makers of the popular Linux distribution Ubuntu, released a dual-boot Ubuntu Touch developer preview for supported Nexus devices. We then saw Ubuntu Touch on the Meizu MX3, leading us to believe that might be the first device to ship with Ubuntu Touch on board. Now though we’re hearing that not only have some Nexus devices been dropped from official Ubuntu Touch support, but it’s also likely that no Ubuntu Touch phones will ship in 2014, but rather have to wait until 2015. In a question and answer segment on Reddit, Canonical’s Community Manager, Jono Bacon, answered quite a few questions, including plenty on Canonical’s upcoming mobile plans and building into the future of integration with their current Ubuntu desktop OS. We’ve also found out a bit more about the average user that Canonical is aiming at with it’s upcoming mobile OS:
I think the ideal customer today is someone who wants a dependable device but does not require a large catalogue of specific apps (as we don’t have many of them yet).
While this sounds a lot like how Microsoft might try to sell you a Windows Phone, Canonical might be able to take a different approach here simply because it’s already got the hearts and minds of the open-source community which has traditionally been full-on Android supported. Ubuntu Touch’s focus on an HTML5 powered OS rather than an app-centric OS makes it a little different from other mobile OS’s out there, and makes it fall in line more with Chrome OS or Firefox OS than something like Android or iOS. Jono Bacon also went on to talk about shipping timeframe and regions:
Longer-term we would love to see the major OEM/Carriers shipping Ubuntu handsets. This is a long road though with many components, and I would be surprised if we see anything like this before 2015. In the shorter-term there are smaller OEMs who serve a smaller region who see great opportunity in Ubuntu, and their costs and risk are smaller for them to trial a device. This is where we will likely see the first handsets shipping.
This is a little disappointing but it sort of reminds us of what CyanogenMod has gone through in the past few months getting OEMs onboard with shipping their custom version of Android. Don’t count out Meizu or one of the other smaller OEMs like Oppo or even Xiaomi who have proven that they are trying to make a name for themselves in the market with a unique product. There’s a lot of interesting stuff happening in the mobile world, and while it’s not all Android related we love to embrace the open source community no matter who we’re talking about. While Ubuntu Touch won’t likely become a seriously mainstream OS, stranger things have happened before, and it’ll be exciting to see some new players in the market again anyway.