Vodafone backs Ubuntu - but no sign of smartphone yet

Vodafone has signed up as a carrier advisor on Ubuntu Touch

Shona Ghosh
10 Feb 2014

Vodafone has backed Ubuntu, joining an advisory group run by development backer Canonical to bringing the open-source OS to handsets.

Canonical's carrier advisory group allows operators to have a say in Ubuntu's development on mobile.

Three, EE and T-Mobile have already signed up to the group, which consists of 16 operators in total. The group will close to new entrants in July - but the first major Ubuntu Touch phone isn't expected to appear until next year.

Canonical has said it will pick its first two carrier partners from the advisory group, though it didn't say when. A second wave would would follow six months later, while non-members would have a "substantial wait" to launch Ubuntu devices.

Founder Mark Shuttleworth revealed that Canonical had found its first hardware partner late last year. But Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon said the first Ubuntu phones would come from smaller manufacturers and focus on the enterprise market, while a major handset wouldn't arrive until 2015.

The news came after support for cross-platform development library SDL arrived for Mir, Canonical's upcoming display server.

"What a great week for our phone and desktop teams," said Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth. "Vodafone going public with their interest in Ubuntu on devices and Mir SDL support landing for games on touch Unity."

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