Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Is there a future of Ubuntu Phones?

The question that was raised when Canonical announced Ubuntu Touch was "is there any future for Ubuntu Phones, where the market is dominated by Android and iOS?" The answer is "very tough". 

Ubuntu Phones
Ubuntu Phones

With over 90% market share captured by Android and iOS, and the Microsoft suffering for a noticeable market share in Mobile phones, will Canonical be able to make it? Anything between 3-5% market share in a year will be a win for Ubuntu Phones. 

Lets just break the major factors that won't let Ubuntu touch rise in the already established smartphone market, which has seen the downfall of Symbian and Blackberry and the growth of iOS and Android. 

The market is ruled by Android and iOS


The market is already pre-occupied by Android and iOS. The low and mid ranged smartphone works on Android and people who have money buy an iPhone. So, there is no room left for anything else to grow. The Windows Phone is one such example with nice interface and good performance failing to make an impression. Ubuntu has to select its target and work towards it. It's like providing something better than others and in low cost. 

The App segment


Search for an app, and you will find it in Google Play or Apple Store. Another reason why most of the people just don't want to switch to Windows Phone is their lack of apps. There is no snapchat, the facebook app sucks. Ubuntu Phones are new and it will take time to build the app segment. But, the positive part if its open-ness and the enthusiasts that are inclined towards open source. There will be apps. What needs to be checked is how quickly the the Giants like Facebook, Microsoft, and Google delivers apps for Ubuntu. You will always want the Gmail, YouTube, Outlook, Office suits ready to work on, along with a fitness app, Instagram and Twitter and Games. 

Support from established hardware makers


The smartphones that has been released running Ubuntu OS are from BQ and Meizu and both are unheard to a major part of the world. I have personally never heard of it before Canonical decided to partnership with them. Ubuntu phones will never be able to make its mark, if Samsung/HTC or some other popular hardware makers adopt it. 

Concentrating on high end phones. 


Do you remember Firefox OS powered by HTML5? The reason why it was not considered at all was because it launched smartphone that were very low end. If you gonna buy a smartphone of Rs 2,000, why not to go for Android in the same price tags and with much more specs. 

Canonical has done it right in this part. They have targeted high end Meizu phone, with high end specifications. The OnePlus One porting on Ubuntu OS is also a nice move from them. 

Creating a buzz


The way CyanogenMod OS has shown its presence is remarkable. They were able to create a buzz with supporting ports to a unlocked Android phones, and releasing it on the high end phones and allowing Play store access. Ubuntu has to come up with something like that.

What's your take on Ubuntu touch? And how Canonical can get a good market share with so much competition? Tell us in the comments, I would love to add some comments in the article itself.

10 comments:

  1. BQ is European, do not research

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    1. Updated, thanks for pointing it out. I was more pointing it to Meizu.

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  2. They don't need to displace Apple or Android. It isn't a zero sum game like that. All they have to do is make more money than they spend and they have a sustainable business model for an ongoing business. This is probably an achievable goal, but I doubt they are there yet.

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    1. Sure, they don't need to. But gaining a market share is the first thing they want. It's the vicious cycle, you can sell more handsets if its popular. And it will be popular once the sale is good enough.

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  3. I have a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 which had turned out to be my portable office. If I can't port my working environment to Ubuntu Phone, I won't even consider it. Thanks to the clouds, I am already converged.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Will still give it a try, nothing like a new OS to frustrate you then please you lol......liking the idea !

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  6. since Ubuntu finally started up a community program to do device porting this will help a lot for enthusiasts that have an android device but want to play around with Unity 8 for the phone. But still have the freedom to go back to Android whenever you'd like.
    With this sort of program it will help bring in possible developers that could help with getting Apps and features added to Unity 8.
    I remember when MIUI was just a rom for android phones and it started with a nice rom community which at one point had 30+ devices with MIUI... Now Xiaomi is the 3rd largest handset manufacturer in china.

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  7. The stars are aligned, the money lying on the streets, will Canonical pick them up? Great WebOS is dead, so is Firefox OS, Windows OS is lost in many directions while Blackberry OS is committing suicide. The only contestant for two alternatives giants on markets are Ubuntu Touch OS and Sailfish OS. Unfortunately both are making it constantly very hard to support them with $ voting power. The idea they somehow first develop perfect product and them people buy it is laughable in times of crowdfunding.

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