We've been hearing about Meizu's forthcoming Ubuntu-powered smartphone since early 2014--more than a year ago. Well, all those words just became tangible, and they've coalesced into the first compelling-looking Ubuntu phone.
The Ubuntu MX4 is now out and can be purchased from Meizu's website in China. Meizu's Ubuntu phone follows in the footsteps of the Bq Aquaris, which is now on sale across Europe. The second Ubuntu smartphone will also be on sale in Europe soon.
Let's dig into the specs first. Meizu's MX4 Ubuntu edition is a higher-end phone than Bq's Aquaris. It features a 5.36-inch, 1920 x 1152 screen, an eight-core processor, 2 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of integrated flash storage. The rear camera boasts 20.7 megapixels, while the front one boasts 2 megapixels. The phone is built on the MediaTek MT6595 system-on-a-chip.
Meizu's phone is for China (and Europe)
Canonical is pitching the Ubuntu MX4 phone at the Chinese market. Meizu is a Chinese smartphone manufacturer, after all. "The move kicks off Meizu's push towards strengthening the Ubuntu ecosystem in China, ahead of launching the Chinese Edition to its user base later this year," proclaims Canonical's press release.
More than just aiming at a general Chinese market, the Ubuntu MX4 is initially pitched at developers. Scopes and web apps for popular Chinese services like Baidu, Weibo, Youku, and QQ are already available in the Ubuntu store. Canonical wants developers to submit their own scopes and web apps to the Ubuntu store, enhancing the platform ahead of a wider consumer release. Canonical is still pushing Ubuntu phone's scopes-focused interface as a better alternative to the app-centric iOS, Android, and Windows phone platforms.
Canonical notes Meizu's Ubuntu MX4 will also "be sold across Europe soon," so it will provide a higher-end Ubuntu phone to European users and developers looking for something more powerful than Bq's phone.
Want to stay up to date on Linux, BSD, Chrome OS, and the rest of the World Beyond Windows? Bookmark the World Beyond Windows column page or follow our RSS feed.
But what about the USA, and elsewhere?
So China and Europe now have Ubuntu phones available. But what about the USA?
Previously, OMG Ubuntu reported it had heard that Canonical signed an agreement with Meizu to let Meizu distribute these phones in China, and give Canonical the ability to sell them in Europe and the USA. That's why many people expected the Meizu MX4 to be the first Ubuntu phone for the US market. Meizu still appears to distributing these phones in China, and Canonical still appears to be distributing them in Europe--but what about the USA?
We don't know anything about when the USA will get a Ubuntu phone or what the device will be. OMG Ubuntu reports that Canonical will be announcing details of a forthcoming Ubuntu phone in June. Canonical will be partnering with a different smartphone manufacturer to create and release a new phone for the US market, according to the report. Unfortunately, we haven't heard anything about phones for the rest of the world.
This forthcoming phone may be the same one that offers Ubuntu's long-teased convergence features. After all, Canonical promised it would announce a new phone with smartphone-PC convergence features after Microsoft revealed its own smartphone-PC convergence plans with Windows 10 for phones.