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Canonical finds first partner for Ubuntu Touch smartphones

Mark Shuttleworth

By Shona Ghosh

Posted on 11 Dec 2013 at 10:17

The first Ubuntu Touch smartphones will arrive next year, with Canonical signing up its first manufacturing partner.

CEO Mark Shuttleworth confirmed Canonical had found a supplier, though he wouldn't say which firm.

"We have concluded our first set of agreements to ship Ubuntu on mobile phones," he told CNET. "We've shifted gears from 'making a concept' to 'it's going to ship.' That has a big impact on the team."

It isn't clear whether Canonical's partner might bring the company's failed Ubuntu Edge smartphone to life. Canonical attempted to raise $32 million to crowdfund the handset, but fell short by $20 million.

But Shuttleworth hinted at a wider ecosystem of devices, with further deals in the works.

"We are now pretty much at the board level on four household brands," he said. "They sell a lot of phones all over the world, in emerging and fully emerged markets, to businesses and consumers."

Canonical launched its Ubuntu distribution for phones in October, but up until now has struggled to find anyone to make the hardware.

Even with a partner on board, Canonical will be taking on tough competition in the smartphone market, but Shuttleworth remains ambitious.

"Volume is important. We want to do stuff that people use every day," he said.

There's also the question of getting carriers and developers on board, though Shuttleworth is confident he can win over Android app makers. In a previous interview with PC Pro, he claimed developers would likely target Android and Ubuntu "simultaneously".

"I think the key difference between us and Windows 8 is that we're based on Linux, just like Android," he said. "That means web apps and native apps designed for Android are much closer to being on Ubuntu than they are to being on Windows."

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User comments

Ubuntu

Well done Mark. I cant wait for the phone next year. Now think some one design a new dock station which will take a SSD and a fast Graphic card, power supply and fan. A super computer in your pocket!! When this happen Ubuntu one will make a very large dent in the desktop, laptop, tablet, phone and Ubuntu TV with their one for all systems. Window are only starting to think in that direction, and what about Apple?

By heldeman on 11 Dec 2013

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