Meizu MX4 Pro May Give New Life To Ubuntu Touch

After a fe

w rumors that Meizu may be using Ubuntu Touch as its "stunning new OS," there seems to be some confirmation that the rumors are real after what appears to be a Meizu MX4 Pro device was spotted in the wild running Ubuntu touch.

The Meizu MX4 Pro is rumored to come with a 5.4" screen, a 20nm Exynos 5430 from Samsung (the same one that the Galaxy Alpha uses), a 20MP camera (likely from Sony) and 3 GB of RAM. There was a leaked spec sheet pointing to 4 GB of RAM, which technically would be possible even with a 32-bit chip like the Exynos 5430, through an extension, but right now that makes little sense until 64-bit chips arrive on the mobile market.

We haven't heard about Ubuntu Touch for some time, ever since Canonical (the company building the OS) failed to raise $32 million for its Ubuntu Edge smartphone with a sapphire screen. Canonical only managed to raise $12.8 million through its IndieGoGo campaign, and the project was cancelled.

The campaign wasn't necessary to build the phone, as Canonical should have had enough money for that regardless, but it was more of a test to see if there was enough demand. Because less than half of the money was raised, Canonical must've felt the project was too risky to do on its own.

Unlike Firefox OS, which seems to have gathered a few partners for the launch of a handful of devices so far, Ubuntu Touch hasn't been nearly as "successful." That's despite the fact that Firefox OS is an operating system that uses only web technologies, much like Chrome OS, while developers can build native apps for Ubuntu Touch.

Canonical has also ensured that Ubuntu Touch is easily ported to hardware that runs Android. This will make it easy for Canonical -- as well as other companies -- to port Ubuntu Touch to Android devices. If the porting effort is minimal, then OEMs should be more inclined to try it out (or so the theory goes).

Meizu may finally give Ubuntu Touch the chance to prove itself. There will still be market roadblocks, such as having too few apps at launch, which could make the Meizu more of a device for enthusiasts and hardcore Linux fans as opposed to average consumers. Yet if the OS impresses, it may develop a following; if it catches on in a country with a burgeoning mobile market like China, that could be a very good thing.

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Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.
  • Andrew Craucamp
    I'd like to quell some misconceptions.
    The sole purpose of the Ubuntu Edge Indiegogo campaign was to gauge interest levels at that very early stage of Ubuntu Touch's life. $12.8 million is certainly nothing to be scoffed at.

    "Ubuntu Touch hasn't been nearly as successful ". It has been confirmed time and again by Canonical employees that Ubuntu Touch has very strong support from OEMs. The delay is being caused by Canonical themselves because they want initial Ubuntu Touch impressions to be as close to flawless as possible. They have openly stated time and again that the first devices by Meizu and bq will be enthusiast devices, built primarily for developers and tech savvy people in order to build up the platform before they start mass production.

    As far as apps are concerned, Ubuntu Touch is the first platform that properly respects web apps, Out of the box Ubuntu Touch will have more apps than both Android and iOS. Still native apps are always nicer than web apps and they're giving developers the time they need to build those native apps.
  • InvalidError
    4GB on a 32bits device is perfectly fine: on a PC, the 32bits memory space is full of holes due to external devices mapping their own RAM in system memory and the GPU is usually the biggest culprit at 256MB-1GB but in an SoC, most of those subsystems use system RAM instead of having their own so nowhere near as much address space goes to waste. Individual apps may only be able to see 2-3GB but the system should be able to use close to the full 4GB.