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Canonical partners up with Meizu and BQ to make Ubuntu Mobile phones a reality

Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu operating system, has revealed the first two hardware manufacturers it’s partnering up with on Ubuntu Mobile, it’s stalled mobile OS project. According to a post on the company’s official news page, a deal has been signed with Meizu and bq, two firms which may be unfamiliar to you.

The good news is the new phones will be sold globally through dedicated online stores and Ubuntu.com, plus the range won’t be bargain-basement level, but consist of mid-to-high end devices. However, the exact specs haven’t been revealed, and neither has any information on pricing.

So what about these two companies? Meizu is probably the better known of the two, primarily thanks to it hitting the headlines recently when it confirmed a “long term strategy to pursue the U.S. market.” The Chinese company quietly showed its cool MX3 smartphone at CES 2014, and it will also be present at Mobile World Congress at the end of this month. According to Canonical, Ubuntu Mobile will be “a key part of Meizu’s international expansion. 

BQ Aquaris 5Spanish firm bq isn’t very well known outside of its home market – where it’s the second biggest seller of SIM-free devices – but may ring a few bells under its former name of booq. Oh, and that’s booq e-readers rather than booq bags. An example of bq’s Android hardware is the Aquaris 5, which boasts a 5-inch IPS screen with a 720p resolution, a quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and an 8-megapixel camera. It costs 200 euros unlocked, which is around $270. 

Canonical says it’s gearing up to launch the first Ubuntu Mobile smartphones through these manufacturers later this year. Ubuntu Mobile has struggled to get off the ground, following a failed crowd-funding campaign last year, and the slow rollout of the software. Meizu and bq’s involvement is positive news, but deadlines have been missed in the past, so we’ll wait for some firm release dates before getting too excited.