Canonical, the folks behind the Ubuntu OS, have cobbled together eight mobile service providers to guide the development of their upcoming mobile OS. While the list doesn’t include any major US carriers, Canonical notes that any “major” carrier may join this alliance.
As for who has currently signed on to this project, Ars Technica notes that Deutsche Telekom, Everything Everywhere, Korea Telecom, Telecom Italia, LG UPlus, Portugal Telecom, SK Telecom, and “the leading Spanish international carrier” have signed on to the project. While Canonical refused to identify that Spanish carrier, we agree with Ars Technica that Telefonica is the likely candidate.
Canonical notes these carriers will have “access to early information about Ubuntu and device manufacturer plans to support the OS, as well as the opportunity to be a launch partner for Ubuntu on smartphones.” This still gives Canonical control of Ubuntu, but allows for carriers to relay their feedback directly to the source.
While this conglomerate may not have any large domestic players, the concept of allowing carriers to guide development of a mobile operating system shouldn’t be treated lightly. If Canonical isn’t careful, they could wind up indebted to these carriers, rather than having a cohesive relationship. Support is important, but we think developer support may be a better avenue to seek than carrier involvement.
Ubuntu phones are set to hit shelves sometime in 2014, so we’ll be curious to see where this new “advisory group” takes the OS.