Smartphones running on a mobile version the Linux-based Ubuntu operating system could arrive as early October this year, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Linux OS vendor Canonical, told the paper that he believes smartphones running on the new mobile operating system could be available in two large geographical regions by next October.
Application developers will be able to access the Ubuntu mobile OS from the end of this month, allowing plenty of time for apps to be developed ahead of an October release.
The Linux-based OS is currently optimised for use on Samsung's Galaxy Nexus smartphone, but there's no word on which smartphone manufacturers will be a part of the Ubuntu mobile project.
One of the key ideas behind Ubuntu is that exactly the same operating system can be used across mobile and standard devices.
"By using the new QML-based Ubuntu SDK, it's possible to develop a native app in such a way that makes it available for both the desktop and the phone - not to mention any further form factors we address in the future. As long as you create the right interfaces, you can deliver an app for all Ubuntu form factors, but build once and upload once to the same single store, the Ubuntu Software Centre," wrote Canonical CEO Jane Silber in a blog post last month.
"It's this point that I hope really enthuses the developers in the Ubuntu community - not to mention all those developers around the world who work on the web or in mobile and who already use Ubuntu on their desktops."
Ubuntu is one of a number of new upcoming operating systems looking to challenge the dominance of Apple and Google in the mobile device market. Indeed, the first Firefox phones are expected to arrive this month.