So, there we have it. After all the waiting, griping and pining we’re now only days away from the first Ubuntu Phone going on sale in Europe, courtesy of Spain-based Bq.
As we shared towards the end of last year, the Bq Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition handset will go on sale in Europe from next week priced at €169.
But you’ll need to act fast if you plan on buying one: Canonical and Bq plan to hold a series of online ‘Flash Sales’ over the coming weeks during which the handsets will be available in limited quantities.
This approach should help the first batches of Ubuntu Phone “sell out” — though without knowing specific quantities it’ll be worth taking any such claims made in the coming weeks with caution.
To ‘quality’ for a purchase potential buyers will also need to complete a small mini-game to ensure they understand the phone’s purpose, differentiation — i.e., what it can and, perhaps more importantly, can’t do.
We’ve written a lot about what makes Ubuntu on a phone such a unique proposition, especially amidst a crowded and well entrenched mature mobile space (hint: they’re called Scopes).
We’ve also covered the hardware of the Aquaris E4.5 a lot, so I’m sure most of you are well aware of its ins and outs by now. To recap the specifications:
- 4.5-inch screen (qHD resolution @ 540×960)
- 1.3 GHz Quad Core ARM Cortex A7 (MediaTek)
- Mali 400 GPU @ 500 MHz (MediaTek)
- 8GB eMMC Storage (plus MicroSD card slot)
- 1GB RAM
- 2150 mAh Battery
- Dual micro-SIM
- 8MP rear camera
I know: it’s hardly a beast of a phone, and far from being the ‘PC in your pocket’ that so many Ubuntu enthusiasts want. The lack of 4G will cause some to sneer, too.
But as firsts go — and one really shouldn’t forget how hard it is to get a device launched in a market so complacent with its victors — it does all it needs to.
Based on a few (rather gleeful) hours of playing with the device (admittedly hardly enough time to write a full review) it is a capable conduit for the Ubuntu Phone experience and what it’s trying to achieve — i.e., beyond apps, information at your fingertips, etc.
In what was described as a ‘gesture’ of approval at Ubuntu’s mobile ambitions a select number of carriers will be offering some nifty SIM-only deals to those buying the device in/from certain countries, including:
- Sweden — 3
- Spain — amena.com
- UK – GiffGaff
- Portugal — Portugal Telecom
These are entirely optional: the dual-SIM phone ships entirely unlocked to allow you to use it with whatever network you’re currently on.
More to Come
If you kept up with us over on Twitter during the Ubuntu Phone Insiders Event then you’ll have seen this tweet:
#UbuntuPhone news confirmed to me by Canonical: Meizu to launch an Ubuntu version of the MX4 internationally. More info at MWC2015.
— OMG! UBUNTU! (@omgubuntu) February 6, 2015
Yes, while attention may be on Bq right now it’ll be shifting to Canonical’s other hardware partner later this month, the China-based Meizu.
Meizu will be unveiling four phones during Mobile World Congress of which one, a repurposed version of its well-received MX4, will be running Ubuntu. The device will sit alongside YunOS, FlymeOS and another and be sold both in China (where the OS will ships with slightly different features due to locale) and Europe.