Prototypes of First Ubuntu Touch Phones Appear at MWC
Considering last week’s announcement that two OEMs would be bringing Ubuntu Touch OS handsets to market later this year, you’d think Ubuntu-maker Canonical would make a bigger deal about those handsets’ appearance at the Mobile World Congress event this week. But while Canonical is strangely silent on the matter, posts on CNET have gathered plenty of photos and prototype specifications for the smartphones from Spain’s bq and China’s Meizu.
While this information was absent from last week’s announcement, it seems as though the first phone from Meizu will be its existing MX3 handset with Android swapped out and Ubuntu Touch swapped in, while the bq handset prototype appears to be a modified version of its Aquaris 5 HD Android smartphone. The photos don’t appear to match up with any of bq’s existing handsets, but CNET’s reporting seems to indicate the Aquaris 5’s specs have a thing or two in common with what was on display at MWC.
That Meizu would look to its existing MX3 smartphone as its first foray into Ubuntu Touch makes sense considering that the manufacturers releasing the phones probably want to minimize their risk until they know devoting more resources to new, exclusive smartphones will pay off. It’s also possible that the Ubuntu Touch MX3 will get revised guts when it’s eventually released later this year, so take all of these specs with a grain of salt.
The MX3 features a 5.1-inch display, 2GB of RAM, a Samsung-made Exynos CPU consisting of two quad-core processors (clocking in at 1.6 and 1.2 GHz), and equipped with an 8 megapixel rear camera and a 2 megapixel front-facing camera. Meanwhile, CNET says bq’s Ubuntu Touch Aquaris has a 4.5-inch display (even though the side-by-side photo above makes the bq appear to be about the same size as the MX3—equipped with a MediaTek Cortex A7 quad-core processor.
In all, if these specs don’t change much, both handsets may prove to be decent contenders in the mobile retail space when they’re released later this year. The big question, though, is simple: who will these be for? Nokia’s looking to corner the market on cheap Android phones in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Samsung and Apple are both gunning for high-end consumers the world over. So are these phones just for tech-fans who want Ubuntu in their pockets?
I’m hoping to learn more about these, and sooner rather than later.
Be sure to check out the full photo gallery of the MX3 and the Aquaris over at CNET.