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Canonical's Ubuntu now runs on improved BQ smartphone

John E Dunn | June 4, 2015
User base looks forward to 'converged' handset due later in 2015

Spanish handset maker BQ and Canonical have ported the Ubuntu phone to a second smartphone in the phone maker's range, the Aquaris E5 HD Ubuntu Edition, the pair have announced.

The first smartphone Ubuntu port, announced in February, ran on the Aquaris E4.5, essentially the same underlying hardware as the E5 HD but with a slightly smaller, lower-resolution screen and double the storage.

The E5 boosts screen size from 4.5 inches to 5 inches and ups resolution from 540 x 960 at 240 ppi to 720 x 1280 at 294ppi. In truth it's not a massive upgrade and does up the unlocked cost from 169.90 (about £122) to 199.90.

Ubuntu phone fans will doubtless still applaud the addition of a second device option even if it's a small tweak.

The rest of the Aquaris E5 HD Ubuntu Edition is the same as the E4.5, featuring a MediaTek Quad Core Cortex A7 processor running at up to 1.3Ghz, 1Gb of RAM and 16GB on on-board flash storage, up from 8GB on the older model.

The rear camera remains 13 megapixels, the front camera 5 megapixels (with dual flash), with a MicroSD slot, Wi-Fi support up to 802.11n. The BQ can record full DH video at 1080p.

"We have devised the BQ-Canonical collaboration as a long term project. Our next objective, which we are already working on, is convergence. We firmly believe in Ubuntu and the philosophy behind it," commented BQ CEO, Alberto Mndez.

The companies look tied to one another for the duration.

"Bringing a new operating system to market requires partners who are willing to challenge the status quo of the mobile industry," chimed Canonical's vice president of mobile, Cristian Parrino.

"BQ is a fearless innovator whose risk with Ubuntu has already paid off - the launch of this second device in Europe marks an amazing milestone for both companies."

The sales numbers for the Ubuntu BQ smartphones are unknown but the E4.5 only went on general sale in April so it is early days. Adding a second model at what is still a bargain price could tempt more to the fold but this remains, even by Canonical's estimation, a device that appeals to early adopters, 'influencers' and Ubuntu people.

A 'converged' version of the Ubuntu smartphone, capable of being used as a phone or a PC when docked, is due to make its first appearance later this year.

 

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