It has been almost 10 months since we last heard about Canonical and Chinese manufacturer Meizu’s plans for the Ubuntu Mobile, also known as Ubuntu Touch, operating system. The pair have now reaffirmed the partnership, and according to Meizu, the first Ubuntu Mobile phone will finally be released in early 2015. News broke in the local press, and has been confirmed on Meizu’s official Facebook page, in a post saying simply that “a strategic agreement” had be signed on November 25.
The post goes on to ask what we expect from the cooperation, which is an excellent question. An actual phone would be nice. In February, we were told to expect Ubuntu-powered phones to arrive late this year, and for the devices to be sold internationally through Meizu’s online store. Things looked positive when Meizu demonstrated a prototype Ubuntu Mobile phone at Mobile World Congress, and the early builds of the software appeared to be almost ready for launch.
Since then, silence. Meizu has launched a new flagship phone, the MX4 Pro, which runs the latest evolution of Flyme, its own Android user interface. Nothing regarding Ubuntu Mobile was mentioned. It’s unclear whether the eventual Meizu Ubuntu Mobile phone will be free of any alternative user interface, allowing Meizu to customize its look, provide access to its own apps, and modify the end user experience.
According to MyDrivers.com, Meizu and Canonical will initially sell the Ubuntu Mobile phone in China and Europe. America isn’t mentioned, and the dream of international availability appears to have been shattered. The all-important price, along with the exact specification of the phone is also a mystery. Rather than produce an entirely new phone, Meizu may adapt its MX4 or MX4 Pro for the OS. At MWC, the software was demonstrated on the MX3 smartphone.
Providing there are no more delays, we should look out for the Meizu-produced Ubuntu Mobile phone before the end of March 2015.