Canonical Announces First Ubuntu Phones Will Ship in 2014


Reports That Apple Has Purchased Sapphire Crystal Capacity.

Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu,  has announced they have signed agreements to ship Ubuntu phones globally this year.  To manufacturers, Spanish based bq and China based Meizu, will be the first companies bringing these new Ubuntu based phones to market.  Expectations are the phones will receive support from the worlds largest carriers with additional OEM partnerships to be released later this year.

Canonical became well known for launching the largest crowdfunding campaign ever on Indiegogo.  The project raised over $12.8 million but fell far short of their $32 million goal.  The initiative was structured as a fixed funding campaign – as opposed to a flexible funding campaign – so no funds were transferred to Canonical.  The company did capture global media recognition for their products  and probably generated far more in earned media than the cost of launching their sizable campaign on the Indiegogo platform.  The Ubuntu bq-meizu-logos1Edge project still stands as the most funded (unsuccessfully though) attempt on Indiegogo to date.  The Edge phone captured global recognition for their feature packed, high end mobile which pushed the limit of what mobile phones currently offer today. The feature set and specs of the Ubuntu Edge were far superior to offerings by either Apple and their iPhone and top shelf Samsung offerings.

Mark_Shuttleworth_by_Martin_SchmittIn a call regarding the announcement, Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth stated that Apple has effectively captured all of the market capacity for sapphire crystal for mobile phone display’s.   The Ubuntu Edge specs stated the phone would incorporate a 4.5 inch sapphire crystal display  – something that Apple and their iPhone are poised to launch later this year with their forthcoming iPhone 6.  It is widely known that Apple has signed an agreement with Sapphire crystal manufacturer GT Advanced Technology to produce 100 million to 200 million iPhone (or perhaps iWatch) displays per year.  The signed deal has been reported to to total $578 million.

ubuntu edgeUbuntu hopes to introduce a new UI paradigm for mobile devices. Ubuntu has shifted the mobile phone strategy by putting content and services at the center of the experience.  They aim to solve the fragmentation enigma, something that has plagued Android OS, by offering a common UI toolkit to OEMs to help maintain the consistency of the user experience.

Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical and Ubuntu stated at the announcement;

“The mobile industry has long been looking for a viable alternative to those that reign today. Ubuntu puts the control back into the hands of our partners and presents an exciting platform for consumers, delivering an experience which departs from the tired app icon grid of Android and iOS and provides a fluid, content-rich experience for all.”

Canonical has engaged with many major industry participants.  To date, Ubuntu’s Carrier Advisory Group has 16 members including Vodafone, EE, T-Mobile USA, Three Group, Deutsche Telekom, Verizon, Telstra and Portugal Telecom. Canonical is also working with a breadth of ISV partners, including The Weather Channel, GrooveShark, Evernote.  Ubuntu wants to deliver a solid, robust user experience that is best in class and partner it with a vibrant 3rd party app ecosystem.


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