Can Ubuntu smartphones and mobile devices connect with mobile carriers and telecom companies? Eager for a positive answer, Canonical has launched the Carrier Advisory Group (CAG) -- which aims to shape Ubuntu for the mobile industry. The move comes a few weeks after Ubuntu Founder Mark Shuttleworth told The VAR Guy that the world needs a Google Android alternative.

To deliver that alternative, Canonical must further optimize Ubuntu with touch-screen capabilities on mobile devices. But the company also needs big, powerful mobile partners to take on Andriod and BlackBerry, with Apple iOS and Windows Phone 8 considered secondary competitive targets.

Ubuntu Smartphone Backers?

Enter the Carrier Advisory Group. Founding members include Deutsche Telekom, Everything Everywhere, Korea Telecom, Telecom Italia, LG UPlus, Portugal Telecom, SK Telecom and the leading Spanish international carrier.

"Only CAG members will have access to early information about Ubuntu and device manufacturer plans to support the OS, as well as the opportunity to be a launch partner for Ubuntu on smartphones," Canonical said in a prepared statement.

Immediate Priorities

The group, Canonical said, will meet regularly to discuss such items as:

  • Differentiation for OEMs and operators
  • Developer ecosystems and application portability from Android and Blackberry
  • HTML5 standards, performance and compatibility
  • Marketplaces for apps, content and services
  • Revenue share models for publishers, operators and OEMs
  • Payment mechanisms and standards
  • Platform fragmentation
  • Consumer and enterprise market segments and positioning

The CAG is open to any national or multinational carrier that wishes to join -- but the group will close to new members at the end of July 2013.

Meanwhile, Apple is preparing iOS 7 and Google Android smartphone sales continue to grow. Can Ubuntu truly hope to counter those entrenched giants? Hmmm...