Ubuntu Touch smartphones not expected to get a major release until 2015

Ubuntu Touch smartphones not expected to get a major release until 2015

Summary: No major carriers are expected to ship a smartphone running the Ubuntu Touch OS until 2015, according to Ubuntu's community manager.


No major handset makers are expected to ship a smartphone running the Ubuntu Touch OS until 2015.

Ubuntu Touch, a version of the Ubuntu operating system targeted at mobile devices, was launched in February last year and Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, recently announced it had struck a deal with a handset manufacturer to ship an Ubuntu Touch handset.

However, when the first Ubuntu Touch phone does ship it appears it will not be with a major handset manufacturer/carrier.

Jono Bacon, Ubuntu community manager, told a Reddit AMA session this week:

"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.

"When the major OEMs/Carriers ship, this is when many of the ISVs will be on-board too."

The first Ubuntu Touch handsets are instead likely to be shipped by a smaller handset manufacturer, according to Bacon.

"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," he said.

"My hope is that when one of these smaller OEMs ships an Ubuntu handset that it sells well and it sends a strong message to other OEMs too."

Ubuntu's move into the mobile space has been far from smooth, its IndieGoGo campaign to fund the production of the Ubuntu Edge, a powerful handset running Ubuntu Touch and Android that would serve as both a desktop PC and a mobile failed to raise the necessary cash.

The Ubuntu Touch OS is also still immature, having only hit version 1.0 in October last year and with a limited selection of applications.

"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)," Bacon said.

The current version of Ubuntu Touch supports the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 phones, but there are images available for other phones and tablets.

Ultimately, in line with Canonical's vision of a having a single computing device to serve as a phone and desktop PC, Canonical plans to merge the code base for every version of the Ubuntu OS, across desktops, phones, tablets and servers.

Further reading on Ubuntu Touch

Topics: Mobility, Open Source, Ubuntu


Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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  • Told ya so

    Nothing but endless talk from Shutty and nothing to ship. They make MS's mobile plans look speedy and well thought out.
  • Build your own phone

    It's not like Ubuntu can't contract with foxcoon for example to build and sell a phone.
  • That is eight years after the iPhone

    Roughly the equivalent, in tech terms, of releasing Trilobites when everyone else is getting ready for Hominids.
  • Ubuntu Touch smartphones not expected to get a major release until 2015

    Another linux project with no traction. This is just the carrier's nice way of saying they won't ever carry the ubuntu phones. Delay until 2015, then 2016, then 2017....
  • I've got some REAL news for you, Nick, which you ought to heed...

    ...because if you don't start reporting on some REAL tech news, you are in deep trouble.

    The REAL news?: Ubuntu is dead.
    • Stop Trolling

      Jono Bacon:

      Please note: this was my *opinion* that major OEMs are unlikely to ship and Ubuntu handset in 2014, it is not fact.

      Discussion: http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2014/01/ubuntu-phone-small-oem-no-apps
  • First release in 2015

    and when can we expect better apps.. atleast 2017.
  • considering how fast Mozilla got OEMs on board with FFOS

    this is kinda pathetic... don't get me wrong, I love ubuntu, but come on guys. I'm not impressed.
    • I have to say I agree

      I really don't get how Canonical weren't able to market one major sale so far.