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Ubuntu phone release date, price and specs: BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition incoming

Jim Martin | Feb. 10, 2015
After one of the longest waits for a smartphone ever, the Ubuntu phone is here. Here's what you need to know about the BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition release date, price and specs.

In 2013, Canonical - the company behind Ubuntu - attempted to raise $32m via crowdfunding for its Ubuntu Edge smartphone. It didn't make it, but the Ubuntu phone isn't dead. In fact, after what seems like an age, the first Ubuntu phone will go on sale soon. Here's what you need to know about the Ubuntu phone release date, price and specs.

If you're brave enough, you can download and install the developer version on certain Android smartphones and tablets by following the instructions here.

Ubuntu phone release date and price
Early in 2014 numerous reports suggested that the first Ubuntu phones had been delayed until 2015, but Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth announced at MWC that two devices would go on sale this year. That didn't happen and at times it looked an Ubuntu phone would never arrive.

However, the first Ubuntu phone will finally go on sale in the form of the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition and it will cost 169. Scroll down for full specifications.

The firm hasn't decided on a specific release date, instead saying it will be available via 'a series of flash sales over the coming weeks'. It will be available across Europe via bq.com and from GiffGaff in the UK. The date, time and URL for the first Flash Sale will be announced through @Ubuntu and @bqreaders on Twitter as well as Ubuntu G+ and Ubuntu Facebook within the next week.

What is Ubuntu phone?
Canonical is arriving late to the smartphone and tablet party, but says this is an advantage since it has seen the success of Android and will be able to build upon it.

Building upon it means producing a mobile operating system that puts the content you like most at your fingertips. Instead of grids of icons, which Canonical says are outdated, apps and content will be prioritised by 'scopes'. By the looks of it, these are very much like the carousel of recent content that you get on a Kindle Fire tablet.

Plus, when you swipe in from the left, you'll get a quick launcher full of your favourite apps. And, in a similar minimalist fashion to Windows 8, context-sensitive options are hidden off-screen until you swipe up from the bottom, leaving more room for the apps themselves. This isn't a success in Windows, as it's simply confusing, but it might work better on a smaller screen.

Canonical's aim is to have the top 50 apps available at launch, including Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Evernote and Amazon. Like Firefox OS, which runs on the ZTE Open C, HTML 5 apps are "equal citizens". That basically means Ubuntu phone will support web apps, so developers shoudn't need to do much to existing HTML 5 apps to make them work on Ubuntu phones. Native apps, however, will benefit from running faster by using the phone's processor, GPU and other hardware directly.

 

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