Last year, Canonical tried to crowdfund its own smartphone that would run the company's "Ubuntu Touch" operating system. The smartphone was called "Ubuntu Edge" and would come with a unique design, 4 GB of RAM, a quad-core processor, sapphire screen and 128 GB of storage.
The campaign ultimately failed, reaching less than half of its ambitious goal of $32 million. Since then, we haven't actually seen a commercially available device running Ubuntu Touch.
A new start-up called MJ Technology promises to build a tablet that will look like the Ubuntu Edge smartphone Canonical wanted to build, and it will run Ubuntu. The tablet will come in two different sizes (8.9" and 10.1"), and both will have the following specs:
- 2.4 GHz Intel Quad Core
- 4 GB DDR3 RAM
- 64 GB Internal Storage
- MicroSD slot for external storage
- Two USB 2.0 ports and one micro-USB port
- 8.9" and 10.1" HD IPS display with 5 point multi-touch
- 5 GHz Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth 4.0
Canonical hasn't succeeded in bringing Ubuntu Touch to market so far, as most OEMs don't seem interested in yet another operating system that won't have a large ecosystem behind it. (Even Microsoft is having a hard time gaining a large foothold in the mobile market with Windows Phone and its Windows 8 for tablets, even though it has spent billions promoting the two and has had quite a few hardware partners so far.)
One other operating system that has seen slight success (for a new entry in the market) has been Firefox OS, a Chrome OS-like operating system for smartphones. Mozilla has mostly focused on ultra-low-end smartphones so far, trying to undercut even Android devices on price, and it has seen some success with that strategy.
Ubuntu Touch can run both HTML5 apps and native ones, which can be seen as an advantage over Firefox OS. However, what's more important is getting hardware partners, which can then make the OS more popular, and that will hopefully attract more developers to the platform.
MJ Technologies will be one of the first devices to try Ubuntu Touch, and it should also have support for the desktop version of Ubuntu as well. There's also been a rumor about a Meizu MX4 model coming out with Ubuntu Touch soon, so more OEMs are starting to show an interest in Ubuntu Touch. The Ubuntu Touch platform has been finalized this fall, so perhaps 2015 will be the year Ubuntu Touch finally makes its mark in the market.
Update, 12/30, 2:15pm: Fixed name to "MJ Technology", added Facebook link.