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Canonical confirms partners for first Ubuntu phones

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The first Ubuntu phones are on the way as Canonical announces two manufacturing partners that will help bring its Linux-based mobile OS to market.

Although concrete handset details remain a mystery, Canonical Founder and CEO Mark Shuttleworth has confirmed that the company will partner with manufacturers Meizu and BQ Readers to bring the first Ubuntu Touch OS handsets to consumers.

While the first two manufacturing partners are far from you usual household name, Chinese firm Meizu and the Spain-based BQ Readers will help give Canonical an Ubuntu base in both Asian and European markets.

"The mobile industry has long been looking for a viable alternative to those that reign today," Shuttleworth said in making the announcement.

"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."

Having now confirmed manufacturing partners for the first Ubuntu OS phones, Shuttleworth has suggested that the company’s next major hurdle is ensuring the platform has strong developer support in time for launch.

The CEO has suggested he is targeting having the “top 50 mobile apps” supported by Ubuntu by the end of the year.

With Ubuntu now reportedly shipping as pre-installed on 10 per cent of the world’s new PCs, Canonical last year set crowd funding records with the Ubuntu Edge, a smartphone powered by the Ubuntu Touch OS that, despite gaining funding from 25,000 backers, fell short of its target.

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