Canonical has signed its first deal to secure Ubuntu Touch OS on an upcoming smartphone, company founder Mark Shuttleworth told CNET during a tech conference in Paris, France this week. Though he wouldn’t say which company had agreed to use Ubuntu, Shuttleworth teased that the Linux-based software would launch on at least one high-end smartphone next year.
Shuttleworth went on to claim that Canonical is in serious talks with a few other major companies, which could also roll out Ubuntu handsets as soon as next year. “We are now pretty much at the board level on four household brands,” he said. “They sell a lot of phones all over the world, in emerging and fully emerged markets, to businesses and consumers.”
Canonical has faced a number of hurdles in bringing Ubuntu Touch OS to market. Earlier this year the company attempted to crowd-source its first phone, but fell short of what would have been a record-breaking amount of raised money. Even with its first hardware deal reportedly secured, there’s still no guarantee the company can make a dent in the already crowded mobile market. Shuttleworth points to the mobile software’s emphasis on services, its sleek design, and support from carriers around the world as evidence that the OS stands a fighting chance against Android and iOS.