One of the most exciting announcements of the beginning of the year is the Ubuntu phone – not to be confused with Ubuntu for Android. Canonical is ready to make a serious play for the mobile business – at least part of it – that’s dominated by Android and iOS, with Windows Phone and BlackBerry left to battle for third place.

And the Ubuntu phone certainly looks like an interesting alternative. The new mobile platform will surely appeal to current PC users that choose Ubuntu as their desktop OS, but not only.

As you already know, any Android device that runs Google’s OS will be able to run Ubuntu, as long as you’ll be willing to perform the installing part, and the Galaxy Nexus could soon get its first Ubuntu phone code.

Meanwhile we learn via Engadget that the Ubuntu smartphone will not have an application store when it launches. That may sound like a deal breaker for some, but fret not, as an app store is in the works and will surely be available to users down the road. Here’s what Canonical product manager Richard Collins had to say on the matter:

In terms of our first go-to-market product strategy, the intention is not to have an application store full of ready-made applications that are there to download. We have a very definite approach in terms of addressing a very important part of the market where users are primarily interested in being able to use a core set of applications.

Furthermore, in case you hope you’ll be able to install your Android apps on Ubuntu, you’ll have to know that Canonical won’t support that. The company is ready to assist developers in porting their apps to Ubuntu, but it won’t offer a magic tool to let users immediately run Android apps, as they are, on Ubuntu:

Many Android developers already use Ubuntu as their desktop OS and we have a very close affinity with them. We intend to encourage them to make their Android applications run on Ubuntu, but we won’t engineer any middleware for running Android apps. Developers are intelligent and capable enough to make their apps run on our devices. We have an active initiative right now to directly help them achieve this.

Anyone already excited to get their hands on an Ubuntu smartphone?