Geeksphone Revolution Could Run Ubuntu

Geeksphone say they are ‘in talks’ with Canonical to bring Ubuntu Touch to its latest handset, the ‘Revolution’.

The fledgling Spanish mobile start-up, who are perhaps best known for making the first smartphones to run Firefox OS, confirmed the news in conversation with technology blog DigitalTrends at last month’s Mobile World Congress.

Revolution in Name, Throwback in Hardware

Released in late February, the Revolution is a dual-core Intel-based smartphone sporting two operating systems – Android Jelly Bean and an unbranded version of Mozilla Firefox OS. But the list may not stop at two.

The company, who describe themselves as ‘specialists in the development of open-source mobile solutions’, say they are ‘in talks’ with Jolla and Canonical with a view to offering their systems, Sailfish and Ubuntu (for Phones) on the device.

The Revolution is not, at face value, well suited to running Ubuntu. With just 4GB of flash storage and 1GB of RAM it would only just meet the recommended specifications set out by Canonical last year.

In fact, name alone is as close to ‘revolutionary’ as the device gets; the hardware reads more like a Wikipedia entry of a Samsung device from 2012 than a smartphone capable of commanding the €222 price tag it currently retails at.

  • Intel Atom Z2560 @ 1.6GHz 
  • 1GB RAM
  • 4GB Flash Storage
  • 4.7-inch qHD IPS display (960 x 540 resolution)
  • MicroSD card slot
  • Cameras: 8MP (rear), 1.3MP (front)

Aside from the novelty of choice, the addition would make the Revolution the first x86-based phone to run Ubuntu Touch.

When Is a Dual-Boot Not?

When is a dual-boot not a dual-boot? When it’s on this handset, it seems.

Hands-on reviews of the multi-OS toting device from Geeksphone at Mobile World Congress revealed that, despite the allure of choice, things are not that great in action.

You likely see the term ‘dual-boot’ listed by Geeksphone and assume, quite rightly that, like a computer dual-boot, you can fire up a different OS at launch time through a menu. Those at MWC2014 who poked around in the system settings on the phone found that this is not the case — at least not yet.

The Revolution can run multiple OSes, it just can’t run them side-by-side or at the same time. Want to poke around with Firefox OS? You’ll have to erase Android first. Bored of Mozilla and want to go back to Jelly Bean? Same applies.

The good news is that reps for Geeksphone have said that ‘a true dual-boot system will come in the future’.

If it plans on adding Ubuntu and Sailfish to its bow, it’s going to need to make good on that promise to tempt buyers. 

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