‘Invite-Only’ Ubuntu Mobile-Powered Meizu MX4 Goes On Sale

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The latest Ubuntu smartphone is released in Europe, but open source fans will have to secure an invite from an ‘interactive oragami’

The latest smartphone running Canonical’s Ubuntu Mobile operating system has been released in Europe, but prospective owners will have to secure an invite to get their hands on a Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition handset.

The Chinese manufacturer will be selling the device using an invite-only interactive origami wall on its website, which will provide glimpses of the phone and invitations randomly generated each day.

Users are now able to explore the origami wall, clicking on ‘hotspots’ indicated by a white cross, some of which will provide an opportunity to purchase the smartphone. It doesn’t have to be bought straight away as a unique URL is provided, which is valid for 72 hours.

Chances are limited to three per day and Canonical says this is the only way to buy the MX4 as it will not go on general sale at a later date.

The MX4 Ubuntu Edition is powered by an octa-core MediaTek processor, 2GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage, while it has a 5.46 inch display, 20.7 megapixel rear camera and 2 megapixel front camera.

Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition

Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition 2It made its debut in China in May with the intention of strengthening the Ubuntu Mobile developer ecosystem in the country, which has its own official flavour of the desktop operating system, Ubuntu Kylin.

Canonical claims Ubuntu Mobile offers a “richer, faster, unfragmented experience” than alternatives, with ‘scopes’ presenting content on the home screen rather than being “hidden” in multiple applications on an icon grid.

“Meizu pioneered the new wave of innovative Chinese manufacturers of high quality, high end devices who have mastered the user centric distribution model that is so popular in China,” said Cristian Parrino, vice president for mobile at Canonical. “Their hunger for breaking down current ecosystem dynamics make them a perfect partner for Ubuntu.”

Canonical ambitions

The first Ubuntu smartphone, the BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition, was released in February in a series of flash sales, while an updated version with a bigger screen and more powerful camera was released earlier this month.

BQ and Chinese manufacturer Meizu were signed up as partners last year after Canonical failed to achieve its crowdfunding target to build the ‘Ubuntu Edge’ – a high specification smartphone that would have served as a showcase.

Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth has previously said Ubuntu Mobile devices would most likely not appeal to iPhone owners, but the firm is adamant it wants the platform to become “mass market”, but admits it will take time. However, Canonical has admitted in the past that it doesn’t expect a major manufacturer to make Ubuntu smartphones.

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