When will we see this arrive?

BQ Readers, one of two companies who plan to ship mobile handsets powered by Ubuntu for Phones, is holding a mystery media event next week, November 25, 2014, to announce three new products.

While the precise details of what those products are is, naturally, under wraps, BQ say the event will ‘rewrite the script of technology’ in Europe.

Lofty claims, but the reference to ‘script’ feeds into something else we know: that a promotional video by a ‘renowned Spanish filmmaker’ will accompany the presentation.

Aquaris E4.5 aka the Bq Ubuntu Phone

Code for the device, a repurposed version of the company’s Aquaris E4.5 handset, is being iterated on in the ‘stable’ branch of Ubuntu for Phones RTM code.

The code is peppered with references to the same hardware as Aquaris E4.5, known by its codename ‘Krillin’. Various system logs shared by Canonical developers as part of the development process suggest there’ll be few, if any, hardware changes for the Ubuntu powered version.

Canonical designers showed off an early version of the Aquaris running Ubuntu at the dConstruct even in Brighton, UK, earlier in the year.

bq stickered up
The Aquaris E4.5 Normally Ships with Android, Hence This Improvised Solution to Glowing Soft Keys! (Image: Canonical)

The Aquaris E4.5 is a decent phone, but not standout. If it holds, we’ll be looking at a device that has at least the following specs:

  • 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
  • 1GB RAM
  • 2150 mAh Battery
  • Dual micro-SIM
  • RRP €149 (Android model)

”2015 Is A Realistic Figure”

The Bq Press Invite
The Bq Press Invite

That brings us back to the question: might this upcoming media event from Bq play host to the public unveiling of the first Ubuntu smartphone ever?


If we take the word of Rodrigo Prado, deputy manager of Bq, it sounds a little unlikely. In a recent interview with Spanish website El Confidencial, Prado was asked how the ‘Ubuntu phone’ was coming along. His reply, via Google Translate, slight paraphrasing by me:

“The development of an operating system is a very complex task. I think there are only three companies in the world [that has] its own mobile operating system. As we square the hardware over software quality equation, we get the terminal. It will be a 4.5-inch smartphone much like [the] Aquaris. Ubuntu set a date of 2014, but [I] think 2015 is a realistic figure.”

For what it’s worth, “Q1 2015” is the most recent (rough) timeframe shared with me.

But the element of surprise always plays well. So, for now, I wouldn’t rule it out.

Thanks to Niklas W.

Ubuntu Phone bq