Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth talked about pricing for Ubuntu smartphones this week, telling The Inquirer that devices "will come out in the mid-higher edge, so $200 to $400."
Assuming those are off-contract prices, they would make Ubuntu phones significantly cheaper than the iPhone 5S, which costs $649 to $849 depending on how much storage you get. The highest-end Android phones often sell for $600 and up as well, though the Nexus 5 debuted late last year at just $350 off contract.
"We're going with the higher end because we want people who are looking for a very sharp, beautiful experience and because our ambition is to be selling the future PC, the future personal computing engine," Shuttleworth said, according to The Inquirer report. The highest-end Ubuntu phones are expected to become full PCs when docked with a monitor, mouse, and keyboard.
Canonical previously tried to raise $32 million to fund the development of a premium smartphone called the Ubuntu Edge, with prices ranging from $600 to $830. But the crowdfunding campaign fell short, so the phone won't be built.
We have some reason to believe that neither major carriers nor handset manufacturers will offer Ubuntu phones in the US during 2014. Elsewhere, the first Ubuntu phones are expected to ship this year from two hardware manufacturers, BQ in Spain and Meizu in China.
UPDATE: A Canonical spokesperson told Ars that while the company provides pricing guidance to device makers, "the final pricing structures and go to market plans will be set by our partners, Meizu and BQ." The spokesperson confirmed that the prices quoted by Shuttleworth are the off-contract, unsubsidized guide prices.