An Ubuntu Phone Update

Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition

The wait was longer than expected, but the Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition was finally announced at this year’s Mobile World Congress. Unlike the bq Aquaris E-whatever the Meizu is a proper smartphone with proper specs—not quite as good as the Android edition, but a full-HD display and 2 GB of RAM at least. That homescreen button in the image above makes we wonder if it’s a pre-production model that’s making the rounds at MWC. Buttons? Ubuntu don’t need no stinkin’ buttons…

Anyway, with both the Meizu and bq on display, Ubuntu’s smartphone OS got a fair amount of press, ranging from good to not-so-good:

The Ubuntu phones are an audacious attempt to take on Android
Hands-on with an Ubuntu phone at MWC
Latest Ubuntu For Mobile Hands-On, U.S. Model Coming
Ubuntu’s answer to Android is finally here, but it still needs work
Is this stylish Ubuntu phone ready for prime time? Not yet.

But what about the so-called “convergence mode” wherein you take an Ubuntu phone, plug it into a desktop monitor, pair it with a wireless keyboard and mouse and suddenly have a fully-functional Ubuntu-powered desktop PC? That would certainly be a compelling feature, and apparently it’s still in development.

Last month UK fan site OMG! Ubuntu! posted this video showing Ubuntu convergence in action on an X86-tablet:

If you couldn’t figure out what was going on, switching on a Bluetooth mouse changes the interface from touch mode to windowed mode; switching the mouse off changes it back. Pretty slick.

This notion of carrying around a true pocket PC is an innovation we’ve not seen from the likes of Apple or Google, and would certainly separate Ubuntu from the pack of also-ran smartphone platforms. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on it…