MWC 2014: Canonical explains its Ubuntu Touch partnership with Meizu and BQ

MWC 2014: Canonical explains its Ubuntu Touch partnership with Meizu and BQWe heard that Canonical had secured a mystery hardware partner for a 2014 Ubuntu Touch phone back in December, and this month it was revealed that both Meizu and BQ (who?) were on board.

You’d be forgiven for frowning at those choices, but speaking at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2014, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth has explained why those particular players make perfect sense.

The Shuttleworth speech bubbles are relayed by CNET, who sat down with the bearded chap in Barcelona this week.

"We are at board level with quite a few household names," begins Shuttleworth, "but with much larger institutions we're going to be a smaller part of the strategic picture when we launch. So we wanted to go out with two companies that are the right size to make a material commitment

"BQ in Europe has taken good share by concentrating on design, by knowing very clearly who they're designing for, and then thinking very carefully about the retail strategy.

"And Meizu in China, again, they've really cracked into the market by building loyalty, they've identified a particular segment, and they've been really great at working to do something those guys are passionate about.”

Ultimately, we’ll meet Ubuntu-rockin’ versions of the Meizu MX3 and BQ Aquaris in Q3 this year.

Shuttleworth sounds refreshingly realistic about the whole thing, admitting that Ubuntu Touch will be "astonishingly great in some areas" and "weak in others", adding: "We won't have 650,000 apps in the app store, so we'll get the phone in the hands of people who don't care about that first."

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JanSt / MOD  Feb. 28, 2014 at 17:07

Imagine how they could've cashed in - the whole privacy party, NSA, Snowdon etc....Ah, well....
Like the Jolla Phone (Or Ubuntu laptops), this won't succede, I think.

justkje  Feb. 28, 2014 at 22:47

The bq is out of the question, the hardware specs are just too low -who wants that?. And the Meizu might work out on the mx4g (upcomming model) IF the realize that all cellphones on the market should not be jumbo size.4.5 - 5 inch screen MAX, 720p or 1080p no more or it uses alot of battery (useless) 3-4gb of ram, a MT6595 processor would do, but NO LESS. 3000mah battery MINIMUM, without battery you cant use the ****.. Must have sd expansion slot., otherwise I can buy a nexus- right. Make a nice looking phone with these specs for less than 500 USD and I am sure that there would be LOTS of customers, otherwise forget it -because the reason to buy ubuntu is the ability to dock it and use it as a laptop. Because if not, then you compete with android and they have alot of apps.......This bq is really dumb why not use 20 usd more on components and sell it for 50-70 usd more and get alot of customers...? they act like chineese...make it so cheap so that it becomes useless. I WANT THE EDGE PLS. Or a miezu with the above specs.

norin2  Apr. 2, 2014 at 21:43

I so agree, can't they upgrade the specs at BQ. The looks are good but the specs are not supporting the vision of a phone with Desktop conversion. I think that most people (like me) do not mind paying more as long as some minimal specs will be reached, like 3-4Gb of RAM which is just the bare minimum for a Desktop and some more processing power. In the end lets just hope that in real life performance will be better than expected, which can happen as we see with the iPhone 5s which is only has a dual core processor and 1 Gb or RAM but still performs well. Lets hope BQ upgrade the specs a bit and that battery life with the Meizu MX3/4 will be acceptable.

tsuchan  Apr. 18, 2014 at 14:20

The bq is out of the question, the hardware specs are just too low -who wants that?

Actually I was thinking I might want that. I'm not sure why I'd want a high-spec phone... I'd rather have a long battery life, but that's what I've not been able to find out. I found a manufacturer 4000mah battery for about £13; but no idea how long it would last. I run a nice functional Debian webserver with substantial database in 256MB RAM and 3GB storage. Will Ubuntu Edge be so greedy?

More important for me is that the phone isn't root-locked, although I was at least happy to read somewhere that rooting the Android version doesn't invalidate the warranty (if that's in fact true).

I agree that it should have a micro-SD socket... doesn't it have one, in fact?


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