Ubuntu phones will start shipping at the beginning of 2014, according to Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth. He revealed earlier this week that a large supplier of silicon to the mobile industry had committed to Ubuntu on mobile and would optimize the operating system for their products. Canonical intends to reveal the supplier after Mobile World Congress later this month. Shuttleworth says the backing of this supplier has led a number of OEMs and ODMs to confirm that they will support the platform as well.
A hardware provider committing to Ubuntu for phones would come as some comfort to Linux users skeptical over whether Canonical will be able to find a willing partner. According to The Next Web, Canonical has had discussions at the highest level with top-carriers in North America, Europe, and China to get launch partners for these devices.
This news comes just after Canonical’s reveal of Ubuntu for tablets. The interface uses many of the same UI elements introduced for Ubuntu phones.
Shuttleworth says that Ubuntu for phones will become available in Ubuntu 13.10, which is scheduled for release in October. Users will be able to install the Linux distribution on their Nexus devices and dive into the full entry-level smartphone experience. Due to carrier regulatory testing, smartphones will not be able to ship with Ubuntu until the following year. The integrated tablet and smartphone experience is not expected until Ubuntu 14.04.
Many users are drawn to the Ubuntu desktop because of its open nature. Users who want a similar open experience on their phones will have to install the operating system themselves. Muktware reports that smartphones that ship with Ubuntu will be fully controlled by the partners or carriers that ship them.
Canonical released the Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview code earlier today. This code is aimed at developers and enthusiast eager to play with the software and cannot be considered an accurate representation of what will ship next year on Ubuntu phones.
#Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview code released soon for developers’ spare devices. Not consumer ready just yet!
— Ubuntu (@ubuntu) February 21, 2013