Skip to main content

Don't look for major mobile carriers to shack up with Ubuntu Touch till 2015

Ubuntu Touch OS
Ubuntu wants a open-source phone future

The road to Canonical's Ubuntu Touch smartphone has been a long one, and now it's stretching even further as the open-source software company makes a play for the major leagues.

In a recent Reddit Ask Me Anything, Canonical's Community Manager Jono Bacon admitted that the first Ubuntu Touch OS smartphone for major OEMs and carriers is unlikely to appear until next year.

"Longer-term we would love to see the major OEM/carriers shipping Ubuntu handsets," Bacon wrote. "This is a long road though with many components, and I would be surprised if we see anything like this before 2015."

Bacon continued, noting that Ubuntu phones will likely first ship to smaller OEMs looking for lower cost and risk-trial devices. As for the buyer, Bacon believes "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)."

Starting off with small beginnings and high sales, Canonical hopes to send a strong message to OEMs and build from there. So for now it seems that Ubuntu is still on track to release a smartphone by this year as Canonical Founder Mark Shuttleworth promised in December 2013, albeit with a small mobile net.

Swing for the fences

As for what an Ubuntu phone will actually be able to do, Bacon did not confirm many features. Instead, during the course of the AMA, there were more items that we can expect to be missing.

Bacon responded to a question about to CDMA support on the Ubuntu Touch OS that it is not on the current Ubuntu phone plan; meaning customers of US carriers Sprint and Verizon won't be able to jump on board with Canonical in the foreseeable future.

Similarly, there aren't any extra touches to add integration between Ubuntu computers and phones on the docket. As Bacon explained, "[t]he primary integration will be getting content and syncing it [with] Ubuntu One, which syncs across devices."

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee is the Hardware and Roundups Editor at IGN Entertainment. Prior to IGN Entertainment, he worked at TechRadar.