A prevalent theory regarding the Edge campaign suggests that Canonical’s lofty $32 million funding goal meant that the company never actually thought the campaign would succeed. Instead, it just launched the campaign to get the word out for mobile Ubuntu, as well as drum up some good press; if the campaign goal was magically met, then there would be no harm in using all that money to build some phones. If the goal really was simply to get the word out, then it definitely worked — we’re all still talking about Ubuntu on mobile devices to this day (whenever there’s news, at least). The operating system’s transition to mobile is shaping up to look quite good.
Back in February, we learned that Canonical had finally found hardware manufacturers to make Ubuntu-specific phones — Meizu in China, and BQ in Europe. Now, the above video is demonstrating Ubuntu on one of Meizu’s phones, the MX3. The Meizu MX3 appears to be your standard slightly-above-midrange smartphone: a Cortex-A15 big.LITTLE SoC, 2GB of RAM, and a PowerVR SGX544 graphics chip.
The video doesn’t get too deep into the OS, but just watching the finger flick through menus gives you a good sense of how the phone runs. It’s difficult not to notice that the on-screen keyboard isn’t used in a Swype fashion, so fans of Android keyboards might be a little wary of that. The image gallery is also quite jarring at first, throwing pictures into different-sized bubbles all over the place. When you see the demonstrator navigate it, though, it makes perfect sense — but it doesn’t make it any less messy. The phone also sports a couple of iOS Command Center-style bars — a bottom pop-up, and a desktop Unity-style bar on the left that also pops out.
For the most part, the OS looks smooth. If the mobile Ubuntu venture is a success, then we might see a stateside release sometime in the future.