After years of development, spanning more than two years of adversity, Canonical (the company behind the Ubuntu) is finally ready to launch world’s first Ubuntu smartphone, Aquaris E4.5.
Aquaris E4.5 will be made commercially available on Feburary 9th for €170 (just over $190) through flash sales across the Europe. The announcement will be made on the @Ubuntu and @bqreaders Twitter handles as well as Ubuntu G+ and Ubuntu Facebook within the next week. Ubuntu smartphone will also be made available through following telecoms: amena.com in Spain, giffgaff in the UK, 3 Sweden, and Portugal Telecom, all of which will be offering SIM bundles at purchase. The device will obviously work on other networks too.
As far the specs are concerned, world’s first Ubuntu smartphone is nothing more than a mid-ranger, featuring 4.5 inch touch screen display with 540 x 960 pixels resolution. Powered by a MediaTek quad-core Cortex-A7 processor clocked at 1.3GHz, 1Gb of RAM, an 8 MP rear camera with dual-LED flash, and a 5MP front-facing selfie shooter. Onboard storage is limited to 8GB which can be expanded via a microSD card. Aquaris E4.5 will come with dual-SIM support.
Although, aimed at the budget conscious smartphone buyers, the Ubuntu smartphone will face tough competition from cheaper alternatives on Android and Windows phone platform, such as Moto E and Microsoft’s latest Lumia devices running Windows Phone.
Unbuntu stays away from the traditional app-based interaction model in favor of a new UI paradigm, designed to deliver content and services directly to categorized home screens, giving users a rich, unfragmented experience. It is primarily gesture based, and in some ways reminds of Jolla’s Sailfish. Still, in many ways, it’s quite similar to competing platforms in that it features a dedicated notification bar with quick toggles on top, an app drawer (or a sidebar), and a multitasking menu. The OS’ main differentiating point is its hard-coded ability to provide you with relevant contextual information, including reviews of nearby places, news, and the like.
The Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu smartphone Edition will feature Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Yelp, Time Out, and Cut the Rope among its best known partners, with SoundCloud, Spotify, and Grooveshark to be integrated via their web APIs. The Ubuntu phone “supports mainstream HTML5 beautifully,” says Canonical, and the company’s categorical that it’s “not coming out with yet another iOS or Android clone.” What you’ll get is something altogether different, a fresh experience built around screen-edge interactions and tailored Scopes that aim at “reversing the hackneyed status quo.” It’s a bold set of promises, though it’s likely to find a receptive audience in its first buyers, who will necessarily be Ubuntu fans already.