Bq Aquaris e4.5The first Ubuntu Phone will go on sale in Europe in the second week of February.

Made by Spanish device company Bq, the handset will mark the first time that an Ubuntu Phone is sold directly to consumers

The First Phone: Specifications

For its first Ubuntu Phone Bq is launching a repurposed version of the its popular Aquaris e4.5 handset preloaded with Ubuntu for Phones.

Unlike the version that developers can (and have) been downloading and flashing to their Nexus devices, the commercial version of Ubuntu on phones will ship with a number of differences in software, including new ‘Aggregator Scopes’, ‘Today Scope’, and support for paid content.

Specifications wise the Aquaris e4.5 is a capable daily driver. It’s a stylish, well built and dependable handset.

  • 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

No, it’s not the most powerful of device but, honestly, that’s good Ubuntu’s debut device needs to be accessible, to balance price and performance so that hesitant developers and enthusiasts — the lifeblood of any burgeoning platform — can pick one up to tinker with without needing to sell a body part.

Although Canonical hasn’t given us any firm price tag is has been suggested to us, with a wry wink and a cheeky smile, that buyers certainly won’t pay more than the ~€149 or so that Bq currently sells the Android version at.

If anything, it is likely to sell for less.

Looking Ahead

The Bq Handset In Hand
The Bq Handset In Hand

The elephant in the room is the USA. Initially Bq will only sell their Ubuntu phone in Europe, and that through their website. US plans are yet to be divulged, and it’s not clear if it will be Bq, Meizu or an as yet unannounced partner jumping through the hoops required to launch a cellular device there.

Looking ahead, I think it’s likely that we’ll see Bq launch an Ubuntu version of its 4G-equipped Aquaris 5 model later in the year. The model is a little larger than the e4.5 and features an HD IPS screen screen and marginally faster processor. It’s this device that was launched at Bq’s ‘mystery press event’ last month, alongside several new Android tablets.

A video advert directed by renowned Spanish filmmaker Álex de la Iglesia premiered at that event — an advert I’ve a hunch we’ll be seeing a little more in the near future… ;)