Ubuntu for phones was first introduced way back at the start of 2013, but it wasn’t until February 2015 that the first Ubuntu phone was released to the public. The problem is that that original phone and all of the ones released since have been somewhat limited in their availability. That’s finally changing today.
Canonical, makers of the Ubuntu OS, and handset maker BQ have launched a global store from which anyone can buy an Ubuntu phone. There are currently two models available: the BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition (shown above) and the BQ Aquaris E5 Ubuntu Edition (shown below). The E4.5 is priced at €169.90 ($188 USD), while the E5 is €199.90 ($221 USD).
In terms of specs, the smaller E4.5 has a 4.5-inch 960x540 display, 8-megapixel rear and 5-megapixel front cameras, 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, and a 2150mAh battery. The E5 boasts some slightly improved specs, offering a 5-inch 1280x720 display, 13-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel front shooter, 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a microSD slot, and a 2500mAh battery.
One other spec detail about these phones that’s worth noting is that they support GSM 850/900/1800/1900 and UMTS/HSPA 900/2100. That means that you’re going to get only EDGE connectivity on these phones if you pop in your AT&T or T-Mobile SIM in the US. Canonical acknowledges that these phones have limited connectivity in some locations, but says that it wanted to give everyone the chance to “get a taste of the Ubuntu OS and experience it for themselves on a great range of BQ devices.”
It’s great to see these Ubuntu phones finally being made available to consumers around the globe, but their limited connectivity in places like the US and the young age of Ubuntu for phones is likely to limit their appeal. That said, I hope that this is just the start of global availability of Ubuntu phones; not only do newer models like the Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition offer higher-end specs than these BQ phones, but also because it’s always good to have options available to us