After a lot of hopes, dreams, and rumors about a smartphone running the Linux-based Ubuntu operating system, Canonical has just handed over a number of Ubuntu phones to select insiders at a special event.
The company also announced that next week, the long-awaited device will go on sale, exclusively in Europe, through a series of “flash” sales online. Then, that will be it for a while.
Canonical has intentionally limited the availability of the first Ubuntu phone, which is a version of the Aquaris E4.5 from Spanish manufacturer BQ. The company’s vice president of mobile and online sales Cristian Parrino told The Register, “We learned quite a bit from China where unknown brands have become a success in crowded markets by focusing on early adopters… instead of shooting for volume and retail shelves from day one.”
BQ’s Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition has 8GB of storage and features a 4.5-inch screen. The front-facing camera sports five megapixels and the rear camera has eight. The rear camera supports 1080p HD video recording and features BSI sensors a Largan lens. The device is packed with a MediaTek Quad Core Cortex A7 processor, which runs at up to 1.3 GHz and 1GB of RAM.
Canonical claims that the Ubuntu operating system is significantly different than what most users experience with Android or iOS. Instead of the typical grid layout that we have come to expect, Ubuntu uses something called “Scopes.”
“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,” Parrino said in a press release. “For developers, Scopes are a much simpler and more valuable way to build mobile experiences than apps – significantly changing ecosystem dynamics.”
The first ever Ubuntu phone costs €170 (about $193) and will only be available in Europe for now. The date, time, and URL for the first flash sale will be announced through Ubuntu and BQ’s Twitter feed, as well as Ubuntu’s Google+ and Facebook page.