Report: Ubuntu smartphones are on the way

Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth has reportedly confirmed that the first Ubuntu phones will be arriving in 2014.

According to CNET, the first devices to arrive pre-loaded with the popular Linux flavor will be high-end handsets, although the Shuttleworth declined to name a specific vendor.

As Liliputing’s Brad Linder notes, Canonical has been working to code a touchscreen-friendly version of Ubuntu specifically designed to work on phones and tablets for over a year.

“The company started showing off Ubuntu Phone OS in January, and the following month the company started offering pre-release builds that users could install on Google Nexus phones and tablets, or port to run on other devices,” Linder explained.

“But up until now, if you’ve wanted to run Ubuntu on a phone, you’ve had to install it yourself. Canonical did try to raise funds to build its own phone, but the crowd-funding project fizzled out before it could reach the ambitious $32 million goal. So instead the company’s going back to plan A and working with hardware partners.”

It seems as if Canonical’s efforts have paid off, as at least one company is planning to offer Ubuntu-based phones next year. Canonical is also reportedly engaged in high-level talks with at least four other corporations.

Although Ubuntu Touch resembles the desktop version of the OS to a certain extent, it isn’t currently designed to run full dekstop apps. Rather Canonical is working with devs to create mobile apps for the platform.

“Eventually you may be able to get a phone that can run desktop apps… but you may have to connect it to a docking station and external display to do that,” said Linder. “The idea is that you could have mobile apps on the go and desktop apps when you want to use your phone as a full PC.”