Canonical and Meizu think that having an invite based system like the OnePlus One might sell their devices
Why would a Chinese company develop an Ubuntu OS phone to take on another fellow Chinese with an Android OS? Well, technically the company in question here is Meizu and it isn’t going head to head with OnePlus, just borrowing some interesting marketing ideas.
The MX4 Ubuntu Edition is Meizu’s prayers being answered of getting a Ubuntu phone that it hoped to release in 2014. The company finally got around to developing a handset and let Chinese developers tinker with it since May. However, come tomorrow you will be able to get your hands on the MX4 Ubuntu Edition phone, if you happen to be in Europe that is, and if you happen to be lucky (we will come to that).
Canonical and Meizu have partnered up to release the 5.4-inch Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition. Protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and powered by an octa-core MediaTek 6595, no Snapdragon there. It has 16GB of storage on board and 2GB of RAM, couple that with a 3,100mAh battery and you get a respectable mid-tier phone. The camera department is a 20.7 MP rear snapper and a 5 MP Selfie snapper. If you look at the specs, they won’t entice any power hungry users but then again this phone isn’t targeting them.
How much will it cost? It is available in Europe for now so it will retail for €299 which is roughly $335 and of course unlocked. But why would you want to pay $335 for a Ubuntu phone, especially if the OS is at a very nascent stage? Honestly with big Android names and iOS taking the other chunk, Ubuntu faces a very tough uphill battle and a big name brand might do Canonical good to get its OS out there. However it is currently partnering with the likes of BQ and Meizu.
So why the comparison to OnePlus? Ubuntu is slowly employing attention grabbing marketing and sales tactics that make news and hopefully sell its phones, after all, that is the main aim. It started with the BQ E5 which was up for grabs via a series of “flash sales”, something it could have borrowed from Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone powerhouse. With the Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition, the pages have been borrowed from OnePlus albeit with a twist.
The Meizu website is set up to work as an invite based system for the MX4 Ubuntu Edition. Users can visit the website and click on an origami collage after which they will be offered an invite to buy the phone. Ubuntu is mum on how many invites are available, but it claims that a lot of people will be able to get it and if they don’t, then there is a second round. We think Canonical and Meizu are inspired by the success of the OnePlus One and its infamous invite system for users to buy the phone and appear exclusive and hard to get, maybe the MX4 Ubuntu Edition is trying just too hard to get.