T-Mobile backs Ubuntu smartphone

Verizon and T-Mobile have announced that they'll be supporting the Ubuntu phone in the United States.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

When Canonical, Ubuntu's parent company, first announced its Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group (CAG), it looked like only European and Asian telecoms were interested in Ubuntu's smartphone pitch. Then, in July, Verizon threw its hat into the Ubuntu Linux smartphone ring, and now T-Mobile has joined them.

T-Mobile joins Verizon in exploring bringing the Ubuntu phone to the US market.

T-Mobile, the smallest of the major US carriers, completed its merger with MetroPCS in May. Since then T-Mobile has been hyper-aggressive in trying to improve its sales position.

In early July, the company announced its new "JUMP!" program. In it, T-Mobile customers can upgrade their phones up to twice per year. Later in July, T-Mobile starting offering the company's entire phone lineup for no upfront payment.

It thus makes perfect sense for T-Mobile to look to Ubuntu as yet another way to separate it from AT&T and Sprint. Canonical said that "T-Mobile USA is the newest member of the Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group. T-Mobile USA reaches almost 300 million American consumers and business people today. As a member of the CAG, T-Mobile USA will join discussions to influence the development of Ubuntu for smartphones."

Canonical, unlike Google with Android, won't allow T-Mobile, or any carrier, too much control over the operating system's look and feel. As Jono Bacon, Ubuntu's community manager, said at OSCon, Ubuntu is striving to prevent the interface fragmentation that plagues Android. "My wife and I both had Android phones and they gave us two entirely different experiences," said Bacon. "We're avoiding that."

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