The first Ubuntu phones will be sold to customers in October of this year, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth reportedly told the Wall Street Journal.
This timeline would be slightly ambitious compared to Canonical's previous statements. When unveiling Ubuntu for phones last month, Shuttleworth said he was aiming to get a phone out in the last quarter of 2013 or first quarter of 2014.
October is the very beginning of that timeline, but we're slightly concerned by Canonical's slowness in releasing the phone's open source code. On Jan. 2, Canonical was promising a version of Ubuntu for phones that could be run on a Galaxy Nexus within a few days or weeks. That timeline was revised to "late February," so we're still waiting for that code. The Nexus bits would help developers build apps for the Ubuntu phone OS.
We've sent a request to Canonical's PR team to verify the October shipping date (which would coincide with the release of a new version of Ubuntu on the desktop, based on the operating system's six-month update cycle). Gadget release times often slip, and with 8 months to go until October we wouldn't be surprised to see that happen. Even if Canonical hits the October timeframe, they'll be playing an extreme version of catchup in a market where iOS and Android dominate and BlackBerry and Windows Phone are duking it out for third place.
Ubuntu for phones is meant to run the full Ubuntu desktop operating system underneath, allowing a phone to become a full PC when docked with a monitor, mouse, and keyboard. To break into the corporate world, Canonical wants to work with application streaming or virtualization tools to let users access Windows applications from these phone/PCs.
“You can share Windows apps to the phone desktop,” Shuttleworth said in a meeting with the Journal, the paper reported.
While no Ubuntu phone code is out, Canonical is taking community input to help design the phone's core applications. You can check out the best designs in our story from earlier today.