I don’t have the answer, but I can try to make a guess using a useful statistic I have: the number of times the Calculator App has been updated.
A premise about numbers
The statistic I have access is the number of unique users that have updated the calculator app at least once. The last update of calculator is from 8 Jun ‘15. So phones that have been sold later probably already included the update. Let’s say then the number of users I guess is updated to end of July ‘15.
This means the only market we consider is Europe. Russia, India, China and the rest of the world have started to have available the phones later this year.
Another important thing: when an app update is released there isn’t (yet) a notification to the user, so if a user doesn’t manually check if there is any update, he doesn’t update the app.
On other hand, when there is a system update (~ every 6 weeks), users have a notification: they update the system and the core apps (so also the calculator) are updated too, but the update is inside the system update, so it isn’t counted in the stats.
Also, some users could uninstall the app (yap, preinstalled apps could be removed on Ubuntu).
One more thing: Bq Aquaris E4.5 is available since mid of March, but other phones like Meizu MX4 and Bq Aquaris E5 are available only since the start of June.
Considered all these elements, I think it is credible taking the number of users that have downloaded an update of the calculator and increase them by 30% to have an educated guess of how many phones there are.
Okay, I think I wrote enough, let’s see this graphic:
17979 users. So I suppose we can say that at the end of September ‘15, 6 months after the first phone hit the market, there are ~25k users.
They are so few / so many
I think we can see this number from two perspectives: one as the number itself, and one in correspondence to the objectives of Canonical.
The target of Canonical
Canonical has a target: it wants to sell x phones in the first year. Unfortunately, it doesn’t want to make public the value of the x.
So it’s pretty impossible to know if it’s a success, it’s as predicted or it’s less.
We all hope it’s a success, so it will continue to invest on it.
The number itself
I have no idea on how to consider the number itself. I’m not able to understand if it’s big, because whereas in some respects it is inferior to the alternatives, or is small, considering how big the community of Ubuntu is.
But anyway, I think that information wants to be free, so I thought it’s important to share it with you.
If you’ve any comment or thought on this write me, or comment on a social network.
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I hope this article gives you some useful data.