Ubuntu may be well known, but not as a manufacturer of handsets. Ubuntu is one of the most successful stories in the open source movement. It is an operating system, based on Linux. More dan 60% of the servers of Amazon work on Ubuntu. Mark Shuttleworth, an entrepreneur from South-Africa, is the driving force behind Ubuntu. Ubuntu is named after the Southern African philosophy of Ubuntu (literally, “human-ness”), which often is translated as “humanity towards others” or “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”.
Three weeks ago Ubuntu launched its first smartphone: the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition. It is on sale via limited time flash sales. One and half year ago Ubuntu’s attempt to raise money for the development of the so called Ubuntu Edge stranded. Although Ubuntu hit a record with the raise a of $12 million, the crowdfunding campaign on the Indiegogo platform fell short by $19 million.This meant that Ubuntu had to return the $12 million.
However, Ubuntu apparently succeeded to raise the money in another way and invested in the development of the Ubuntu Aquaris. The launch of the Ubuntu Aquaris remained mostly unnoticed in the mainstream media. In the weeks before the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona giants like Samsung launch their new flagship. Samsung reveiled its Galaxy S6 on March 1s, during the Mobile World Congress. Ubuntu can not compete with the marketing budgets of these corporates, but was in Barcelona too to inform the public about its first smartphone.
The customers attracted to buy an Ubuntu phone are foremost geeks and advocates of open source software. They take it for granted that there are only approx. 500 apps available for the Ubuntu phone. Not exactly an appealing propositions for the average customer, both the Google Play as the Apple App store have each far more than 1.000.000 apps available. It remains to be seen if Ubuntu can convince the average phone user to leave the well known Android and Apple playground and commit itself to the open platform of Ubuntu.