It was pretty much a surprise for TechNode to discover that most of the smartphones which Meizu demoed at this year’s MWC are powered by the Ubuntu OS rather than the company’s homegrown OS FLyme, including its flagship MX4, powered by Flyme in its domestic iterations.

Spanish smartphone manufacturer BQ was the first phone maker to cooperate with Ubuntu. As a mid- and low-end brand, BQ’s designs and features are not impressive enough to tempt current users to adapt to the system. The addition of Meizu into the ecosystem may fuel users’ expectations for the OS.

This year’s MWC was the first time for the two companies to showcase Meizu Phones preloaded with Ubuntu. TechNode got a chance to talk with Angela, the company’s director of international communications, about their global expansion plan.

Meizu’s homegrown Flyme system has yet to gain widespread recognition amongst overseas users. Moreover, some of the features and content on the system are designed for Chinese buyers, making it less competitive overseas. Ubuntu, a well-known open source system, has many loyal fans around the world, especially in Europe. Meizu entered a partnership with Ubuntu with the goal of exploring the European market. Angela told us that the Ubuntu-enabled MX4 debuted at the show is still under testing, but is near the final version. The product will be officially released this April, probably at Ubuntu’s headquarters in London.

TechNode checked out Ubuntu’s system at the event and was clueless at first. It is completely different, both in terms of user interface and user experience, to the dominant iOS and Android systems. “It is an outstanding system, but we face major obstacles in acquiring new users when the interface is so different from mainstream systems, said Angela.

Meizu hasn’t revleaed whether they will support the installation of both Ubuntu and Flyme system on the same handset. But the company prefer to keep them exclusive.

It is no secret that Meizu is expanding into India. “Although there is no fixed timetable, our cooperation with Indian partners, including telecom operators, has reached a stage of substantial operations. The official launch in India is scheduled for April this year,” Angela said.

NOBLUE Note will be their flagship product for India, because its low-cost positioning fits local market demands, noted Angela, adding that the smartphone’s Indian price tag will probably be lower than in China. The Indian version will be pre-installed with Flyme. Angala disclosed Meizu expects to ship at least 700,000 NOBLUE Notes in India this year.

Domestically, Meizu is going to release more new products this year.

A string of Chinese smartphone makers like Xiaomi, OnePlus, ZTE and Huawei consider India a key market. Meizu also takes India as their first stop in overseas expansion, along with cooperation with Ubuntu in Europe. The battle of the Chinese smartphone brands is inxorably spreading overseas in the new year.


Source: Gang Lu

Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via or Twitter.

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