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Apr 9, 2014

Meizu Shows Its MX3 Running Ubuntu for Phones

Canonical announced a while ago that it had chosen Meizu and BQ as the first hardware partners for the first Ubuntu-powered phones, and now an official video of Ubuntu running on a Meizu phone has been made public.

Not all Ubuntu fans understood why Canonical chose these two companies to be the spear point of Ubuntu in the busy phone market. Both Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical representatives tried to explain why Meizu and BQ. “Meizu is one of China’s most successful high-end smartphone manufacturers with over 1,000 employees, 600 retail stores and a global presence in China, Hong Kong, Israel, Russia and Ukraine. In January, the company announced its strategy to expand into other international markets as well as to ship phones in America later in 2014 and Ubuntu will be a key part of this expansion,” said one of the many communiques from Canonical. Users can only try Ubuntu for phones by installing it on Nexus devices and on a handful of other unsupported phones (like the latest Nexus 5). This will remain in place until the new Meizu and BQ phones hit the market.

There is no news of the BQ phone, but Meizu MX3 will be used as the flagship phone for Ubuntu. The phone comes in two versions, one with a Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A15 processor and one with a Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7 processor. It's unclear which one is used in the video, but presumably it's the fastest one. As you can clearly see from the clip, most of the system seems to be in place, but the Ubuntu version used to illustrate the features is a little old. Some of the new features promoted by Canonical can't be seen in this video, like the new Scopes. In any case, the performance seems to be rather smooth, with the exception of a few apps that open slower than they should. On the other hand, the gallery app looks amazing and the transition effects look very good.

There is no official launch date for the first Ubuntu phones. Until now, the only proposed date is the fall of 2014, but there is no certainty about it. Based on the progress made in the development of Ubuntu Touch, we might even get a 2015 launch. Canonical made some great headway with the operating system and there is no reason to doubt that it will be ready to ship its OS in time.

Ubuntu running on Meizu MX3
Image credits to MeixuMXOn
Short demo showing Meizu MX3 running Ubuntu.
Video credits to Meizu MX On

Firefox OS 2.0 Leaks in Screenshots, Looks Stunning

Mozilla has already partnered with several handset makers for the release of some Firefox OS-powered smartphones, which are now available for purchase in several emerging markets in South America.

However, it looks like the company plans on bringing its Firefox OS to more mature markets, but in order for the move to be successful, Mozilla has to make its mobile platform much more appealing to end users. That seems to happen as we speak, as the first Firefox OS 2.0 screenshots have just been spotted by the folks over at GforGames on the Chinese blog site MyDrivers. The new UI integrated in Firefox OS 2.0 looks amazing in comparison with the older version that is now included in all the smartphones available on the market which are powered by Mozilla’s mobile platform.

Firefox OS-based devices are among the cheapest smartphones available one the market, so if these screenshots are legit, then fans of Mozilla’s devices are in for a nice surprise in the coming weeks. Given the fact that there are no details whatsoever on what’s shown in these screenshots or when exactly the new version of Firefox might be released, we can only hope that Mozilla will come forward with an official statement sooner rather than later. What do you think about the new Firefox OS 2.0 UI? Here are screenshot gallery, click for larger images.

Firefox OS 2.0 UI (screenshots)
Images credits to MyDrivers

Large 5.5-Inch iPhone 6 Delayed, 4.7-Inch Model Comes First

A sketchy report from Taiwan suggests that Apple is having problems producing enough iPhone 6 units with large 5.5-inch displays for the planned launch event in September, so the company will reportedly push availability of the bigger handset to winter.

Highly incredible but also impossible to rule out, the claim comes from EMSOne, which interpreted a Taiwanese Industrial & Commercial Times report as saying that the 4.7-inch version will enter production first and this model will be first to launch to the masses in the September-October timeframe. Later in the year, around Christmas apparently, the larger 5.5-inch model will be deployed, according to the report. Apple is said to be having difficulties making enough of the high-quality displays for the larger version, which bodes well with earlier reports, including one from Reuters earlier this month. Rumors of Apple launching two all-new iPhones this year abound, much like last year when the Cupertino giant was said to be developing a plastic-encased version of the smartphone targeting a lower price point.

Since then, Tim Cook & Co. have learned that people don’t necessarily want something cheap out of Apple, and it looks like the company will again shift full focus on design and features, making no compromise in materials and production costs for the sake of a few lousy market share points. Renderings created by Ferry Passchier (above) based on leaked schematics suggest that the next-generation iPhone will look a lot like the current-selling iPod touch line. Retaining the Touch ID Home button and some other design elements, the iPhone 6 would sport an edge-to-edge display while still retaining the top and bottom frames. Some would hope that Martin Hajek’s renderings (below) are more plausible, especially considering how busy Apple is cooking up copious amounts of sapphire for an unannounced product.

There are several other indications that the Cupertino tech juggernaut is planning to finally expand the screen size. One such hint comes from a set of leaked internal slides stemming from the Apple – Samsung legal dispute currently unfolding. In the respective documents, Apple downright admits that customers want larger screens and that the company needs to do something about the growing Android army of phones with displays larger than those of the iPhone line. Even a 4.7-inch screen is a considerable uptick from the current 4-inch spec on the iPhone 5s, let alone 5.5 inches.

iPhone mockup
Image credits to Ferry Passchier

iPhone mockup
Image credits to Martin Hajek

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