At the beginning of March, we found out that two Ubuntu powered phones, the BQ Aquarius and Miezu MX3, will be released later this year. While we still lack many details, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth has just revealed a very important bit of information about the upcoming devices: their price range.
According to Shuttleworth, the new Ubuntu phones will be priced between $200 and $400, perhaps with one of the two devices at each extreme. He also says that the price range was chosen because Canonical is “going with the higher end because we want people who are looking for a very sharp, beautiful experience and because our ambition is to be selling the future PC, the future personal computing engine.”
Clearly, Canonical wants Ubuntu to be the center of a future person’s computing world, with the Ubuntu powered phone that docks into a Ubuntu desktop, something that has been tested and discussed before. For now, though, we just have the Ubuntu phones, which if the assumptions about their specifications turn out to be correct, are really going to be more mid-to-high range than top of the line at least in terms of hardware.
Even so, if the price is closer to $200 the value may be there even in the face of the Nexus 5 and Moto X, especially for those who already are in the Ubuntu ecosystem. Of course, there aren’t too many of those people, and more are probably invested in Android or iOS. For this reason, iPhone users are apparently not part of the target market for the devices, because “there’s a degree of emotional attachment to the Apple ecosystem.” Android users, however, are fair game. In some ways, this makes sense, as those not invested in Google Play and instead drawn to Android for openness and customizability would likely find the same draw to the Ubuntu smartphone hardware.
Personally, $200 to $300 sounds like a good price for Ubuntu Phone hardware, and a $200 Ubuntu Phone could sell based on price alon. Getting towards $400, though, is a bit steep. According to some people in Canonical, the company would be happy if the Ubuntu Phone project reached about 1% of the mobile market, which though reasonable is still quite a number of people. I don’t know if these first devices will be able to do that, but a $200 price point certainly wouldn’t hurt.[OMG Ubuntu]