Who Are Meizu and bq, the First Ubuntu Touch Hardware Partners?

Ubuntu-powered phones from these companies should arrive in 2014

Canonical has announced the first two hardware partners for Ubuntu Touch, Meizu and bq, but most of the Ubuntu users are not really familiar with these companies. We'll try to shed some light on this matter.

Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Canonical, has been hinting that some hardware companies have been really interested in building devices powered by Ubuntu Touch, but he was always skiddish to name names, probably because the negotiations weren't complete.

Fast forward to the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, where Ubuntu and Canonical didn't participate, and we find a Chinese company bragging about Ubuntu Touch running on its Meizu MX3 device. The rumors have been shut down mercilessly by various Ubuntu developers, but it turns out that they were actually true (at least partially).

“Meizu is one of China’s most successful high-end smartphone manufacturers with over 1,000 employees, 600 retail stores and a global presence in China, Hong Kong, Israel, Russia and Ukraine. In January, the company announced its strategy to expand into other international markets as well as to ship phones in America later in 2014 and Ubuntu will be a key part of this expansion,” reads the official announcement.

From what we can see, Meizu has been chosen because it's a rising company. Maybe others, more prolific hardware makers will express their interest, but a new one, that is just launching its products, could make a bigger impact.

The second hardware maker chosen to deliver Ubuntu Touch devices is called bq and it's a lot less known than Meizu, but the company is from Spain and the entire production is taken care of inside the European Union.

“bq is a manufacturer of multimedia devices operating in Europe and employing 600 people. In 2013, the company shipped almost 1.5 million devices and in less than a year has become the Spain’s second biggest seller of unlocked smartphones. bq will bring Ubuntu onto its latest hardware specifications,” also reads the announcement.

This being said, it's likely that most of the users have been expecting a more important partner, but as it stands right now, it's two more partners than there were a week ago.

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