On Thursday 13 March 2014, Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth, answered a few questions for The Inquirer about the upcoming release of the first smartphones that run the open-source Ubuntu Operating System.1 Perhaps most importantly, there is now an official price tag for the fist Ubuntu devices. Shuttleworth told The Inquirer that the device “will come out in the mid-higher edge, so $200 to $400. We’re going with the higher end because we want people who are looking for a very sharp, beautiful experience and because our ambition is to be selling the future PC, the future personal computing engine.”2

Ubuntu Phone

The Ubuntu Touch OS – the mobile Ubuntu OS – looks to be a powerhouse, and has some truly massive implications for smartphones as a whole. According to the same Inquirer article, Shuttlesworth noted the scope of the Ubuntu mobile project:

The Ubuntu smartphone project aims to produce hardware that can act as a smartphone and also work as a PC when plugged into a monitor, something Shuttleworth said many audiences found attractive.3

There have been rumblings of this nature for sometime, ans even a strange Motorola Phone/laptop device, though we have yet to see a device fully capable of replacing a laptop. It will be quite a task if Canonical is able to pull off the feat.


Earlier this year, Canonical announced partnerships with both Spanish phone manufacturer BQ and Chinese phone manufacturer Meizu to produce the first Ubuntu smartphones.4 The agreements were inked after the failure of the Ubuntu Edge Indiegogo campaign. Although, according to Ars Technica, it is doubtful that any of the major carriers or manufacturers will release any  Ubuntu Touch smartphones this year, both BQ and Meizu are on pace to release devices this fall.5

There is certainly a lot to be excited about Ubuntu Touch. While iOS and Android have been adequate, if not excellent mobile operating systems, Ubuntu has the potential to become a true game changer. The potential of Ubuntu Touch is, perhaps, best illustrated in a passage buried in a Canonical press release:

Ubuntu introduces a new UI paradigm for mobile devices. Ubuntu puts content and services at the centre of the experience, rather than hiding them behind stores and apps. This gives consumers a fresh and rich way to engage with their favourite videos, music and other mobile activities. It also means OEMs and operators have unprecedented customisation (sic) opportunities with a common UI toolkit, which gives devices their own unique footprint and without fragmenting the platform.6

Would you replace your iOS or Android device with a Ubuntu Touch phone?

  1. Canonical is the company behind Ubuntu and the leading provider of services for Ubuntu deployments in the enterprise.  
  2. Michael Passingham, The Inquirer,Cebit: Ubuntu smartphones to cost ‘between $200 and $400,’” 12 March 2014  
  3. ibid  
  4. Ubuntu Blog, “Canonical announces first partners to ship Ubuntu phones around the globe”  
  5. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, “Don’t expect Ubuntu phones from major carriers until 2015,” 16 January 2014  
  6. Ubuntu Blog, “Canonical announces first partners to ship Ubuntu phones around the globe”