First Ubuntu phone is coming, but it is not what you expect

Ubuntu PhoneCanonical has revealed that the first Ubuntu phone is finally ready to hit the market. The phone will be released only in Europe, that too via online flash sale model, which is followed by the likes of Xiaomi to retail their devices.

If you are expecting to see the Ubuntu Edge as the first Ubuntu smartphone, you are out of luck. The Edge, which broke the crowd-funding records, but was still not able to garner enough support, is dead. Instead, the company is going to release a variant of Spanish manufacturer BQ-made Aquaris E4.5, which is normally sold with Android 4.4.

“The launch of the first Ubuntu smartphones is a significant milestone.  The new experience we deliver for users, as well as the opportunities for differentiation for manufacturers and operators, are a compelling and much-needed change from what is available today. We’re excited that a rising star like BQ has recognised this opportunity and is helping us make it a reality,” Jane Silber, CEO at Canonical.

The Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition features a 4.5-inch qHD display, 1GB of RAM, 1.3GHz quad-core processor, and 2150 mAh battery. It also comes with 8MP rear camera, 5MP front shooter, 8GB of internal storage and microSD card slot. In addition, the smartphone includes dual-SIM card slots, 3G and Wi-Fi support.

Ubuntu Phone
Ubuntu Scopes

The major differentiator for the Ubuntu version of the phone will be the Ubuntu Scopes feature, which instead of app icon gird, shows content aggregated from various services into type-specific screens, such as music, video and news, noted GIGAOM in a report.

“Ubuntu presents users with an entirely different way to engage with their devices – Scopes guide you to content you want – in the same way you think about it – to deliver a smooth, engaging experience,” says Cristian Parrino, VP Mobile at Canonical.

The phone won’t include the converged smartphone/ desktop function, which was promised with Ubuntu Edge and allowed the users to operate the desktop version of Ubuntu, when the smartphone was connected to a keyboard and monitor.

The Ubuntu phone will retail for 170 euros, which is also the current price of the Android version of the smartphone. The date, time and URL for the first Flash Sale will be announced through @Ubuntuand @bqreaders on Twitter.

One comment

  1. Releasing a ‘smart’ phone without LTE in 2015 doesn’t make much sense IMO even in the developing markets, let alone Europe. India’s gonna get LTE-fied by the end of this year, what with Reliance Jio launching their services to over 800 towns by the end of the year and Airtel venturing out beyond Kolkata, Bangalore, Mumbai etc.

    Specs may not be of paramount importance to the mainstream public, but usability/desirability is. A 4.5″ screen, 8GB storage and an 8MP camera aren’t exactly the stuff of dreams any more, as of 2015.

    Ubuntu’s got a mountain to climb in any case, if they are to be a serious contender in the mobile space, what with apps or lack thereof being a huge cause for concern even for more mature OSes like Windows.


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