The World’s First Ubuntu Smartphone To Go On Sale

The Ubuntu Linux edition of the BQ Aquaris E4.5 smartphone will be available across Europe from in coming weeks through a series of online ‘flash sales’.
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By Hayley Axford The Ubuntu Linux edition of the BQ Aquaris E4.5 smartphone will be available across Europe from in coming weeks through a series of online ‘flash sales’. While the BQ Aquaris E4.5 is already on the market, as an Android smartphone, BQ CEO, Alberto Mendez, described Ubuntu as a totally different concept within mobile operating systems. Canonical, the British computer software company behind Ubuntu’s open-source operating system, notes that the handset promises a richer, faster and unfragmented experience. This has been achieved via the technology interface innovation known as ‘scopes’, which provides a way to organize and display content and applications to users. According to the company’s Vice President of Mobile, Cristian Parrino, “Ubuntu presents users with an entirely different way to engage with their devices. Scopes guide you to content you want – [similar to the way you think]  – to deliver a smooth, engaging experience”. Parrino adds that, “For developers, Scopes are a much simpler and more valuable way to build mobile experiences than apps – significantly changing the ecosystem dynamics”. What sets the Ubuntu smartphone apart from Android, IOS and other mobile operating systems, is that, when it is connected to a big screen, it is designed to work like a desktop OS. Instead of using a HDMI cable to mirror the screen, the user can simply dock their phone with a monitor, a keyboard and mouse. This will enable them to use the OS in the same manner that they would run Ubuntu on a laptop or PC. According to South African technology billionaire and founder of Canonical, Mark Shuttleworth, unlike Android, this makes the Ubuntu phone a proper personal computer. The slim-designed BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu has a 4.5 inch screen which enhances its ‘edge interactions’ and ‘scopes’. For a faster experience, the device features a MediaTek quad-core Cortex A7 Processor that runs at 1.3GHz with 1GB RAM. The phone is dual-SIM and is completely unlocked, allowing customers to make use of their current networks. International operators like 3 Sweden, in Spain, giffgaff in the UK and Portugal Telecom are reportedly offering SIM bundles, on purchase, to buyers in those countries.

“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 recognized this opportunity and is helping us make it a reality.” – Canonical CEO, Jane Silber.

The Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu has been described as the “perfect balance between price and specifications” and will retail for €169.90, approximately R2 200.00. The Ubuntu phone will, however, not be available in South Africa immediately.   Full specifications of BQ Aquaris  E4.5 Smartphone
  • It sports 4.5 inch display
  • Display resolution is 540 x 960 pixels
  • Type of display is IPS
  • Physical dimensions of the handset are 137 x 67 x 9 mm
  • It weighs 123 grams
  • It is powered by 1.3 GHz quad core MediaTek processor
  • The processor is paired with 1 GB RAM
  • It has 8 GB internal storage
  • Memory can be expanded up to 32 GB via micro SD
  • The handset features 8 megapixel primary camera
  • It also features 5 megapixel front facing camera
  • It comes loaded with Ubuntu Touch operating system
  • Connectivity features of the handset include WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G and GPS
  • 3.5 mm headphones
  • FM Radio
  • It packs 2150 mAh battery
  • Micro USB charging
  • It supports dual SIM
  • Compass, proximity, accelerometer and ambient light sensors
  • It is offered in black color