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Two Ubuntu Phones Coming In 2014, Aiming For Top 50 iOS/Android Apps 141

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the choices-are-nice dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Mark Shuttleworth just had a conference call with the press where he announced Canonical has partnered with BQ in Europe and Meizu in China to manufacture Ubuntu phones that will ship in 2014. By the time devices ship, the hope is to have ports of the top 50 Android and iOS apps available on Ubuntu." Mark Shuttleworth notes "The mobile industry has long been looking for a viable alternative to those that reign today. 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."
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Two Ubuntu Phones Coming In 2014, Aiming For Top 50 iOS/Android Apps

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  • by callmetheraven (711291) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @01:42PM (#46287781)

    Mark Shuttleworth notes "The mobile industry has long been looking for a viable alternative to those that reign today.

    This explains the vast numbers trashing their iOs and Android devices and switching over to Windows 8 phones. Good thing we'll have another trusted team like Canonical added to the equation. /sarc

    • by lagomorpha2 (1376475) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @02:05PM (#46288029)

      Mark Shuttleworth notes "The mobile industry has long been looking for a viable alternative to those that reign today.

      This explains the vast numbers trashing their iOs and Android devices and switching over to Windows 8 phones. Good thing we'll have another trusted team like Canonical added to the equation. /sarc

      He said a "viable" alternative.

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      Windows Phone is not a viable alternative, it's a complete joke (esp. when you consider MS's history as far as software quality, UI design, etc.).

      I don't know if Canonical's offering will be any good or not, but just because consumers are wisely avoiding Windows Phone doesn't mean that iOS and Android are really all that great, it just means Windows Phone sucks so bad that no one wants it more than the other two.

      I'm not impressed with Canonical's Unity UI, however the UI you want on a phone is totally diffe

      • by art123 (309756)

        Windows Phone sold over 20% of what Apple iPhone sold in Q3 of 2013. I think that is very viable.

        • Care to cite? [thenextweb.com]
          • by art123 (309756)

            http://gadgets.ndtv.com/mobiles/news/windows-phone-grows-104-percent-year-over-year-in-q4-2013-abi-research-478672

          • by art123 (309756)

            Your links shows Q3 2013 iOS sales of 33.8 million versus Windows Phone 9.5, so WP was 28% of iOS (which may or may not include iPads [not clear from the data]);

      • by exomondo (1725132)

        Windows Phone is not a viable alternative, it's a complete joke

        I didn't find anything objectively wrong with it. I've tried it and quite liked it but at the time (WP7) it lacked a few features I needed but performance was excellent, with Android it was flexible but the performance was awful - though I've seen this has improved in the last 2 years or so - and ultimately I settled on iOS as it had the features and performance while being limited in terms of hardware choice. I found all 3 platforms are very good so I can't understand how supposedly objective people can ha

      • OP has clearly never used a Windows Phone or else it would be clear to OP that the problem with Windows Phone isn't Windows Phone. Windows Phones work great; they shit all over my Android devices in terms of user experience (except in a few niche cases).

        The problem with Windows Phone is that it is a Microsoft product - and nobody wants to buy a Microsoft product.

        If you want to bring up a history of bad design, bad management and general incompetence look no further than Canonical. Microsoft is bad, don't ge

        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          I tried a couple of Windows Phones a while back. I wasn't too impressed, mainly because the UI is just so butt-ugly. They were pretty responsive, though; I'll give them that. But I wouldn't ever buy one because of two things: 1) it's from Microsoft, as you noted about no one wanting to buy a MS product, and after all the bad experiences I've had with their other software I have zero confidence this would be any different once I start getting to know it a lot better, and 2) I have to assume that a MS mobi

          • I think your views on the phones are basically invalid. Metro is gorgeous. I don't see any way in which Microsoft is trying to be Apple, and I don't have any issues with the design (btw the OSX interface is shithouse, I think we can agree). Most Android phones these days are taking away the option to allow mounting the SD card over USB for various reasons (although, it is excellent for usability IMO) in favour of MTP - which coincidentally Windows Phone also does.

            In the next update apparently Windows Phone

    • by Mashdar (876825)

      Can't wait for MintPhone, though.

    • http://www.droidreport.com/bla... [droidreport.com]

      I think I'll throw my hat in the ring with SilentCircle instead of the company that decided privacy is passe.

  • Tired to whom? It is simple and intuitive. The OS should connect you with your apps quickly and easily, not distract from your task. Does anyone really want a Windows start menu on mobile?
  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @01:48PM (#46287823)

    "Ubuntu puts the control back into the hands of our partners"

    That, right there, makes everything about these new smartphones, and Ubuntu in general, entirely worthless. The entire point of all this is to put control in the hands of the USERS, not "partners!"

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Yeah, really.

      I mean, I know it's not US carriers yet. But when (if) it is, he's essentially just saying "Ubuntu puts the control back into the hands of Verizon Wireless, at&t, T-Mobile and Sprint."

      Sounds like a platform I totally want to sign up for.

      • by exomondo (1725132)

        I mean, I know it's not US carriers yet. But when (if) it is, he's essentially just saying "Ubuntu puts the control back into the hands of Verizon Wireless, at&t, T-Mobile and Sprint."

        How exactly are you inferring that? He isn't saying that at all, it clearly says: Canonical has partnered with BQ in Europe and Meizu in China and neither of these partners is a carrier, they are device manufacturers.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      That, right there, makes everything about these new smartphones, and Ubuntu in general, entirely worthless. The entire point of all this is to put control in the hands of the USERS, not "partners!"

      "Users" were never going to get around to writing the software nor get a hardware producer to ship these phones, for example their little fundraiser failed with less than half the stated goal and even that was only good for one small run of vanity phones. To get the kind of funding he'd need he had to make a pitch to his partners, and I bet it went something like "Remember when Apple and Google wasn't running the show? Well, partner with us and you'll relive the glory days of old." If you want control then

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This!

      Please, please do not put control in the hands of the carriers. I have Sprint now and they effed up every single thing they modified. I just don't care about their "push service" (whatever it does) and absolutely resent being forced to have a stupid Nascar app on my phone.

    • At least he's realistic about what it takes to bring these to market.

    • by Mashdar (876825)
      Maybe he's just going through a bit of a western phase. Pard'ner.
    • Is there still updates/plans for Firefox OS in the next year or two? I would definitely still love to see a Mozilla OS. They seemed pretty good at keeping their OS open and in user control (no weird technologies, etc.).
    • "Ubuntu puts the control back into the hands of our partners"

      You can interpret what Mark Shuttleworth said as a WIN for manufacturers and telecom companies, but it doesn't necessarily make it a LOSE situation for USERS. It will be a win for the USERS if the phone itself competes with Apple hardware style, at an Apple Price point with a Linux Desktop Digital Freedom/Digital Privacy expectations.

      There are differences of opinion as to what the developer tools should be for the Ubuntu Touch Phone for certain.

      • You can interpret what Mark Shuttleworth said as a WIN for manufacturers and telecom companies, but it doesn't necessarily make it a LOSE situation for USERS. It will be a win for the USERS if the phone itself competes with Apple hardware style, at an Apple Price point with a Linux Desktop Digital Freedom/Digital Privacy expectations.

        "Linux Desktop Digital Freedom/Digital Privacy expectations" are a lose for telecoms. Users winning and telecoms winning are mutually-exclusive possibilities. Therefore, your i

  • by Blaskowicz (634489) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @01:58PM (#46287955)

    I bet most of the popular apps are front-ends to private services like f...book, google, pictures sharing services, $streaming_service etc. which invariably collect your data and try to lock you in. I question the value of a Free and Open Source OS, and of the front-end apps themselves even if they're Free and Open Source, when all the "cloudy" back-end is where the interesting stuff happens and it is locked, out of control and may be working against your interests.

    Even as a desktop linux user I'm suffering from this already, what with all the tracking when browsing the web.
    If we want Freedom on the mobile OS we're going to need Free back-ends to go with it (i.e. if you store private data on the web/internet, you should have the option of doing it on your own server, like installing the back-end software easily on a small VM that you pay a couple dollars per month for).
    We need more chat apps, sharing apps etc. using open and universal protocols (like e-mail, IRC, XMPP) rather than made solely to be one customer of a single one company.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If we want Freedom on the mobile OS we're going to need Free back-ends to go with it (i.e. if you store private data on the web/internet, you should have the option of doing it on your own server, like installing the back-end software easily on a small VM that you pay a couple dollars per month for).

      A server not under your control and you'd have no idea if it were accessed by a third party? I'm not sure how this would be better than having it stored in "cloudy" back-ends as you put. Not that it'd be any worse either.

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      If we want Freedom on the mobile OS we're going to need Free back-ends to go with it (i.e. if you store private data on the web/internet, you should have the option of doing it on your own server, like installing the back-end software easily on a small VM that you pay a couple dollars per month for).

      You can already do that on existing platforms, in fact depending on what you are doing you could build and host a web app that connects to your VM and then you can be platform-agnostic.

      We need more chat apps, sharing apps etc. using open and universal protocols (like e-mail, IRC, XMPP) rather than made solely to be one customer of a single one company.

      Why do we need more of them? There are already open source mail apps like K9 Mail and plenty of open and closed source IRC clients, what's wrong with these?

      • I wanted to mean protocols like e-mail etc. are protocols, not e-mail etc. per se.
        From the Whatsapp story I've learnt about this as an example :
        https://core.telegram.org/api [telegram.org]
        https://core.telegram.org/mtpr... [telegram.org]

        Maybe it's not really "universal" in the meaning that everyone and his dog will use it, maybe if you clone it all you're creating an "island" that doesn't interoperate directly with the original app and its users (I don't know). But it's the kind of stuff I wish for. Similarly there could be open API or p

  • Aiming for top 50k apps. Anything less than supporting all the apps I use simply diminishes the value. I don't need to switch to a less valuable device.
    The type of people who value less closed systems are also those, as a group, with a wide range of needs. If I value my privacy and am willing to use less popular devices, why would I then be willing to use the most popular apps?

    What I believe the ecosystem needs more than another device are apps that provide features available in the popular ones, but with t

    • by sirlark (1676276)
      Yes, the people interested in a less open system have a wide range of needs, but simply having access to a GNU userspace will take care of a LOT of the utilities... No need for firewall apps, calender apps, reminder apps as long ubuntu OS exposes a decent UI to all those things. You won't need a million different file manager apps, or text editor apps???? What fucking OS doesn't come with a basic text editor, even on a phone? Games and front ends to proprietary cloud services are going to the major things t
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        Sounds a lot like my my experience on my Surface 2 with Windows RT. There's fewer apps then what are available for Android tablets, but I can still do everything I want because it has so much stuff built into it. The browser is very capable so you don't end up needing apps that just duplicate stuff you'd find on a website. Comes with a calculator, file manager, office suite, text editor, and a lot of other things right out of the box. Microsoft has even gone out of their way to make a bunch of really goo
      • by exomondo (1725132)

        Can't you get most of that with a debian chroot on Android? And you've kind of hit the nail on the head with the N900 comparison, while that is great for geeks to have a GNU userspace and a terminal and re-compiling desktop apps for the phone to use with a slide-out keyboard that sort of thing isn't at all appealing to the broader user base, just to a geek niche.

        VNC to your desktop running LibreOffice from an Android phone with a bluetooth keyboard (or even debian chroot with LibreOffice) to see how crappy

        • by sirlark (1676276)

          My point is that the geek niche won't need 50K apps ported. The GP claims nothing less than the full app suite would be of sufficient value, but past the top 50 (maybe 100) most apps are either games or utilities. My point is that the utilities are already there on a GNU system.

          Regarding the debian chroot. Yes it gives you most of what you want, but it screws with your warranty and STILL there's stuff I'd like to be able to do that I cant. One example is to have every phone incoming or outgoing automaticall

          • by exomondo (1725132)

            Regarding the debian chroot. Yes it gives you most of what you want, but it screws with your warranty and STILL there's stuff I'd like to be able to do that I cant. One example is to have every phone incoming or outgoing automatically recorded, and I get the option to permanently save afterwords. Mainly for dealing with calls from companies. Debian chroot doesn't give me enough access to the kernel to do that, at least I can't figure it out.

            There are many call recording apps on Android as it is, but what exactly is it in the kernel that you can't get access to with a debian chroot that would somehow become accessible if you had a GNU userspace?

            Or making my tablet make a phone call, despite the fact the phone app is banned from use on the tablet.

            Banned by who? Could you just use a 3rd party app store?

    • Anything less than supporting all the apps I use simply diminishes the value.

      No. Have you even used a stok android phone? Even better one without the google stuff?

      It somes with nothing.

      Need flashlight? App.
      File manager? App.
      Decent browser? App.

      Everything needs a sodding app.

      You don't need nearly so many if your phone is a proper computer out of the box.

  • by Lumpy (12016)

    Ubuntu for phones is currently un-useable right now even on decent hardware like the Nexus 4, or are the manufacturers being given something that works and that is actually being withheld from the public and developers?

    If they are withholding the working OS from us developers, there will be hell to pay.

    • Tried it on a Nexus 7 the interface was nice to look at but it was way to unstable to use. I doubt Canonical is focusing on google's hardware when they could push their own hardware.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's not the hardware, plus how are developers supposed to test when they can not even get "official" hardware?

  • by cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @03:06PM (#46288707)

    Mark hopes to see the "top 50" apps from the Android and iOS stores available for Ubuntu on mobile.

    Hopes?

    Hmm, RIM/Blackberry tried to throw money at this, didn't work. Magic wishes and dreams will not cause a company to spend money for a developer to work on a new style platform with unknown revenue chances.

  • If I want to run "the top 50 Android Apps" I would just get an Android phone. There is no real reason to have Ubuntu on a phone instead of Android if it's also targeted at the "Partners" and locks the end user out. I would like a Linux phone not because "it can do the same thing as Android", I would one want one if it can do MORE.

    • I hate to say it and I hope no one takes it the wrong way but what you're saying has been the long standing problem with open source for open source's sake.

      People generally need a reason to switch platforms. So far almost everything from open source that hasn't been on the server side has been about how the product is "just as good" as the closed source equivalent. Do the open source advocates really think I'm going to switch platforms over something that is "just as good" with no clear advantages? I think
      • by exomondo (1725132)

        People generally need a reason to switch platforms. So far almost everything from open source that hasn't been on the server side has been about how the product is "just as good" as the closed source equivalent. Do the open source advocates really think I'm going to switch platforms over something that is "just as good" with no clear advantages?

        What they think is that "software freedom" is the advantage, that people should be willing to give up convenience for freedom, for example running their own "cloud" services so they do their computing on their computer rather than using somebody elses.

        Many of them still don't understand one simple thing that everybody else knows - and it's pretty obvious - which is that you cannot disrupt a market with a me-too product. You need either a disruptive product to change an existing market or a new and innovativ

  • running Xfce. That.
  • I don't care a lick about a facebook app and 49 games. Please sell me a compact, reasonably lightweight, open source phone with a good web browser, a good offline sat-nav app, and regular security updates.

    • by exomondo (1725132)
      The problem is you a minority not worth catering for, even those few who do share your viewpoint are mostly served by a phone with CyanogenMOD anyway.
      • by Foresto (127767)

        That's pretty much what people used to say about Mac users.

        • by exomondo (1725132)

          That's pretty much what people used to say about Mac users.

          Mac users were catered to by Apple who provided them with the Mac. So I'm not sure which people you think were saying that about Mac users or why Mac users would care.

  • "tired app icon grid of Android and iOS"

    Yeah, it's so tired from ButtonFly days [sgi.com] that it stuck around. That kind of tired? Or the kind of tired something gets when it ain't broke? [wiktionary.org]

    • Oh, and they want to replace it with what? something that could arguably be called much more tired, the desktop interface?
  • by enter to exit (1049190) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @08:36PM (#46291491)
    Only a year of two until Canonical shuts down then. They're not making any money, They're unlikely to make any money and generally people don't want an Ubuntu based anything.

    Their server support business is lacklustre (Redhat, Novell, IBM and Oracle eat their lunch) and not enough to support a business.

    It's hard to call Canonical a successful company - it's only still around because of its unique financial status.

    The hardware Ubuntu phone OS needs is not low end. They might have had a chance with low-end phones, but the OS is too heavy and doesn't offer enough compelling reasons to use it. With so much abstraction, it's sure to be buggy as well.

    Like Ubuntu TV, Edge, Unity and Mir this is going nowhere. Their hardware "partner" will load a few hundred phones with Ubuntu, they'll also sell Android Phones with the exact same hardware. It doesn't cost them anything, if they don't sell - the manufacturer will just reflash them.
    • by johnsie (1158363)
      It wont shut down because MS will continue to fund it. However, they have already driven most of the original community away by reinventing the wheel and changing what was a good, simple distro that just just worked. Pretty much anyone who queried this was banished from the main forum community or slapped on the wrists by Unity zealots. There is alot of bad blood from former Ubuntu users and also people who work with other distros that were shafted by Ubuntu.

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