Canonical reports that Verizon Wireless has joined the Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group (CAG), a good sign that the Big Red may one day carry an Ubuntu-based phone. However there's no real commitment for now: Verizon is simply taking part of the Ubuntu development discussions within the new advisory forum.
The CAG was unveiled just last month, and includes founding members Deutsche Telekom, Everything Everywhere, Korea Telecom, Telecom Italia, LG UPlus, Portugal Telecom, and SK Telecom. Only CAG members will have access to early information about Ubuntu and device manufacturer plans to support the OS, Canonical stated, as well as the opportunity to be a launch partner for Ubuntu on smartphones.
The company noted on Thursday that Verizon Wireless is the largest mobile network operator in the U.S. Thus, being able to work closely with the company gives Canonical an opportunity to shape Ubuntu into the most compelling new, alternative platform for mobile.
"Verizon Wireless is joining Ubuntu’s Carrier Advisory Group to participate in technology discussions around this new platform, which has the ability to bring new and exciting features to developers and ultimately, customers," said Samir Vaidya from the Device Technology team at Verizon Wireless.
"Verizon Wireless joining the CAG does not mean that they are committed to selling Ubuntu phones," Canonical told Ars Technica. "The CAG is a forum for mobile operators to influence the development of Ubuntu for smartphones and Verizon Wireless will be part of the discussions that happen in that forum."
Invitations are extended to any national or multinational carrier who wishes to join the CAG, Canonical said. The group will close to new members at the end of July. Phones with Ubuntu pre-installed are expected to arrive during Q1 2014.
For more information about the Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group, head here. The CAG will hold regular meetings to map out key areas of the Ubuntu mobile platform and discuss its developments. Topics for discussion will include differentiation for OEMs and operators, developer ecosystems and application portability from Android and Blackberry, marketplaces for apps, content and services and more.
“The CAG is an important partnership between Canonical and the mobile industry,” said Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical. "We aim to deliver a platform that delights everyone who touches it and meets industry requirements of quality, security, manageability and differentiation."