High end devices? so they expect people to buy a premium phone that has absolutely none of the usual apps that are available on all other platforms (yes, even WinPho!)
My guess is that they don't really expect to sell phones to "people" at this point, but to developers – who will hopefully be enticed by the concept of a "real" Linux-phone. These will start writing apps, mostly for their own use, but more importantly they'll grow familiar with the platform. As the number of skilled developers increase, Ubuntu will become a more accessible option for larger handset companies, who already have all but forgotten how to write a mobile OS (if they ever knew at all) and might be weary of GMS licensing costs. Initially I'd expect it to be used in budget models, and slowly but surely climb up the model line ladder.
So if my crystal ball is not failing me, Canonical's plan is to sell the platform to developers first, then to companies, and only finally to "people", as in the common-or-garden punter in the street. Whether it'll work is anyone's guess, especially given Mozilla seems to be going along much the same route, but it's not without logic.