The first Ubuntu phone will finally go on sale next week

Ubuntu logoAt long last, the first Ubuntu phone is coming to market. Over the next few weeks, the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition will be available in Europe, priced at €170 (about $190) through a series of online flash sales. It won't be directly available in the US. As the pricing implies, the Aquaris is sadly nothing like the fabled Ubuntu Edge; rather, it's just a mid-range Android phone that has been adapted to run Ubuntu.

The Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition has a 4.5-inch 960x540 display, a Mediatek SoC (quad-core 1.3GHz Cortex A7 CPU, unknown GPU), 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of on-board NAND storage. Storage is expandable through a microSD slot, and it has two SIM card slots (which isn't unusual in non-US markets). The only real hardware highlight is a 5-megapixel front-facing camera—but again, don't forget that this is a very cheap phone.

The first Ubuntu phone will finally go on sale next week

To put it in slightly euphemistic terms, the Ubuntu Phone is an interesting proposition. Much like Mozilla and Firefox OS, the plan behind Ubuntu for Phones is to offer carriers (and consumers) an alternative to iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. It seems that the original proposition—that your Ubuntu phone would turn into a "desktop PC" when docked with an external monitor—has been dropped. Now the key selling point is a feature called Scopes, which originally debuted as Lenses in desktop Ubuntu. According to Canonical, Scopes is "a new UI paradigm" that essentially consists of a bunch of categorized home pages—one home page for news, one for music, etc.

In terms of Ubuntu phone apps, there aren't many, but there will at least be Facebook and Twitter apps at launch. Much like Firefox OS, many Ubuntu phone apps will probably be created in HTML5 and other open Web technologies.

The main problem that the Aquaris E4.5 faces is that it will go head-to-head against tough competition from the Android and Windows Phone camps; the Moto E, which is significantly cheaper than the Aquaris, is a brilliant phone. The other issue is that, for some odd reason, the first Ubuntu phone won't be available from the usual retail channels—instead, you have to follow the Ubuntu account on Twitter and wait for a series of flash sales over the next few weeks. How fun is that?

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: smartphones, Ubuntu

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