Ubuntu Linux Phone Debuts—for a Select Few
The "age of Aquaris" is now here as a long-awaited Linux mobile device becomes reality with the BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition smartphone.The world's first Ubuntu Linux phone is now available, two years after the effort to bring Ubuntu to phones was first announced by Canonical, the lead commercial sponsor of Ubuntu Linux. The new Ubuntu phone is actually not new hardware; it's an Ubuntu Linux edition of the BQ Aquaris E4.5 device that is already in the market as an Android smartphone. The BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition includes two micro-SIM slots, an 8-megapixel camera that is capable of full 1080p video, Dragontrail glass and 8GB of internal memory, which is expandable via the internal micro-SD slot. The phone, which is priced at 169.90 euros (about $192), isn't yet being sold in retail stores; instead it is being sold through a series of online flash sales. And for those in the United States interested in the phone, they are out of luck: The device is only for sale in Europe at this point. "What's exciting about Ubuntu is that it's a very different experience on many fronts," Cristian Parrino, vice president of mobile at Canonical, said during a press conference announcing the new phone. "We're not coming out with yet another Android or IOS phone." Parrino said that the promise of the Ubuntu Phone is that of a richer, faster, unfragmented experience. One of the ways that Ubuntu is delivering on that promise is via a technology interface innovation called scopes. A scope provides a way to organize and display content and applications to users.
As an example, Parrino said that the music scope on the Ubuntu phone aggregates music that may be present on a user's own device with music the user might have online in SoundCloud or a YouTube channel.