Chinese phone maker Meizu had already announced plans to launch a smartphone running a version of the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Now Meizu and Canonical have signed an agreement to launch the first of those phones in early 2015.

meizu mx3 with ubuntu

While Meizu’s phones will run software based on Ubuntu, the company is developing its own custom version which it calls Flyme OS (not to be confused with the Android-based version of Flyme which the company currently offers).

Canonical has been working on Ubuntu for phones and tablets for a few years. The operating system borrows some design cues from the desktop/notebook version of Ubuntu, but it’s designed to run a new breed of apps designed for touchscreen displays.

Under the hood the operating shares a lot of code with the desktop version of Ubuntu — and there are plans to let users connect an external display and other accessories to run desktop apps. But it’s not clear if the first Ubuntu/Flyme phones to ship will include this feature at launch.

Meizu plans to ship its first phones with Ubuntu software in China and Europe.

via Meizu, GizChina, GSM Arena, and oizoioi

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13 replies on “Meizu’s first Ubuntu phones coming in early 2015”

  1. I really wanna buy an Ubuntu Touch device, but when are the ‘coming’? They keep pushing back the release date. Geez, I can buy a Firefox Phone from India for under $100 right now.

  2. The words “custom version” worries me. I haven’t had good experiences with that on Android devices.

  3. What’s the status of Ubuntu Touch being able to run X11 based GUI software without being docked? It’s been a while but last I checked was that it can’t.

    I ask because I’m looking for a Linux UMPC where I can also run desktop apps without having to run a chroot (ie. Android). Of course, I don’t mind dealing with small UI objects. I’ve done that with Windows XP and 7 on 5″ screens before.

    1. I’m not sure Ubuntu Touch does, as for the Linux UMPC, the best bet to get one i’d say would be the Dragonbox Pyra when it finally ships ( https://pyra-handheld.com ). The Predecessor, “OpenPandora” was quite usable, but its hardware is just too underpowered to be seriously concidered nowadays IMO.

      1. I’ve looked into the Pyra. So far, it looks like the only likely Linux UMPC I might actually be able to buy in the next year or two. Too bad I’m not that keen on the gaming centric design of the device. I feel that the button and mouse pointer layout would be better for a non-gamer if the gaming focus was toned down.

        1. Ya, the gaming targetted design of the Pandora and Pyra is a turn off for me. The keyboard and mouse design could be much better if these aren’t made for running emulators where I don’t own most of the games I’d actually play. I’d rather not deal with the legal issues of that as well.

          If the Pyra comes out and the Linux UMPC space is still pretty much non-existent then I’ll buy a Pyra. That is, if it adequately runs my desktop apps of choice. Also, I hope the emulators aren’t preinstalled. I’d rather not go through uninstalling them.

    2. This is the main reason I’d use an Ubuntu Touch device. If I can’t run desktop apps while on the go (ie. not attached to an external monitor, keyboard and mouse) then I’ll just hope more “high end” Windows 8 UMPCs come out even though I prefer a Linux based desktop OS.

    3. AFAIK there are no UMPC on the market today. There are some Windows 8 tablets but not smaller then 8″. You can not run Linux on any of these tablets, most HW parts won’t work there.

      Regarding Ubuntu Touch, it won’t be able to run desktop Apps for at least 1 year. If you want to run Linux on a UMPC, then Kubuntu (with Plasma Active) would be the best UI. But there is actually no HW you can run it on.

  4. “But it’s not clear if the first Ubuntu/Flyme phones to ship will include this feature at launch.”

    Well, that feature is the only reason i personally would want an Ubuntu Phone. I don’t care if Microsoft or Canonical is the first company to bring this to market, but the first to offer me a Phone that turns into a full desktop via a Dock at home will be the Platform i’d switch to from my current Android.

    Canonical is in the better position tho because Linux Software usually is opensource and can often be compiled natively for ARM CPUs, while i would only ever buy a Windows Phone with a Desktop Mode if it ran x86 legacy Desktop Apps.

    1. The Meizu MX4 supports “MHL TV-out” which means that the hardware is sufficient to support full desktop via microUSB to HDMI.

      Even in the extreme case that the initial version of the software not supporting it, it would be supported in a software update. The whole purpose of Ubuntu on such a high-end phone is to have your desktop in your pocket.

    2. I couldn’t agree more.

      “The first to offer me a Phone that turns into a full desktop via a Dock at home will be the Platform i’d switch to from my current Android”

      1. I’m afraid this won’t happen sooner then in one year. I don’t believe that Microsoft will be able to make it. They promised it already with Windows 8 and the reality is a terrible phone OS even worse and incompatible desktop OS and one more incompatible tablet OS.

        Canonical also promised something they can’t really make. They realized to late that they will need to develop a new graphics server, port everything from GTK+ to Qt and do a milion of other small changes. So it takes much longer then they originally believed. But I hope they can make it.

    3. I really believed Canonical would be first to market with this but I no longer do. The desktop-on-phone seems to be one of the first things Satya Nadella put on the table after taking over at MSFT, and it increasingly seems likely he will bring Windows10 to market with the desktop functionality we want in a better product and a shorter timeframe than Canonical.

      This Meizu device was previously due year-end: now it’s moved to early 2015 and that’s taking into account that it’s for -existing- hardware. Not to mention it’s no longer pure Ubuntu Touch. The way this is being handled is a tremendous missed opportunity for Linux at large and Canonical in particular, as it had so much promise.

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