Ubuntu phones starting selling in stores

What is Ubuntu phone?

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Canonical arrived late to the smartphone and tablet party, but says this is an advantage since it has seen the success of Android and will be able to build upon it.

Building upon it means producing a mobile operating system that puts the content you like most at your fingertips. Instead of grids of icons, which Canonical says are outdated, apps and content will be prioritised by ‘scopes’. By the looks of it, these are very much like the carousel of recent content that you get on a Kindle Fire tablet.

 Plus, when you swipe in from the left, you’ll get a quick launcher full of your favourite apps. And, in a similar minimalist fashion to Windows 8, context-sensitive options are hidden off-screen until you swipe up from the bottom, leaving more room for the apps themselves. This isn’t a success in Windows, as it’s simply confusing, but it might work better on a smaller screen.

Canonical’s aim is to have the top 50 apps available at launch, including Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Evernote and Amazon. Like Firefox OS, which runs on the ZTE Open C, HTML 5 apps are “equal citizens”. That basically means Ubuntu phone will support web apps, so developers shoudn’t need to do much to existing HTML 5 apps to make them work on Ubuntu phones. Native apps, however, will benefit from running faster by using the phone’s processor, GPU and other hardware directly.

One of the big differences between Ubuntu phone and Android, iOS and other mobile operating systems is that it’s designed to work like a desktop OS when connected to a big screen. Instead of mirroring the screen when you plug in an HDMI cable, you’ll dock your phone with a monitor, keyboard and mouse and get a mouse pointer so you can use the OS like Ubuntu on a PC or laptop.

According the Shuttleworth, this makes Ubuntu phone a proper personal computer where Android is not. He also said Ubuntu phone wasn’t aimed at iPhone users, who have an “emotional connection” with the ecosystem.

Mobile market latecomer Canonical claims “latent demand” for its tardy but alternative smartphone OS has encouraged its OEM partner, BQ, to open up availability of its handsets to buyers anywhere in the world, not just in Europe.

The first Ubuntu-based smartphone launched in Europe this February, and was followed by a second handset in June — also limited to European buyers.

The two Ubuntu phones — aka: the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition and the slightly larger Aquaris E5 HD Ubuntu Edition — which are both manufactured by Spain’s BQ, are now are available to buyers globally, via BQ’s store, retailing for €169.90 ($189) and €199.90 ($220) respectively.

Despite Canonical’s claims of growing global “appetite” for its open source mobile alternative, it’s not releasing any sales data for the devices, so judge those claims accordingly.

Specificatin on ubuntu phone:

The dual-SIM (Micro-SIM) supporting Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition has identical specifications to the original model except the software, which has now been changed from Android to Ubuntu. The smartphone features a 4.5-inch qHD (540×960 pixels) resolution display with pixel density of 240ppi. Powered by a quad-core MediaTek processor (Cortex-A7) clocked at 1.3GHz, the handset includes a Mali 400 GPU for handling the graphics, coupled with 1GB of RAM.

The smartphone also sports 8-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash and a BSI sensor, apart from a 5-megapixel front-facing camera for video chats. Both the cameras feature interpolation or picture-stitching technology that allows users to take 13-megapixel images with the rear camera, and 8-megapixel images with the front-facing camera. Featuring 8GB of inbuilt storage with microSD card expandability (up to 32GB card), the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition also houses Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, 3G (HSPA+), GPS/ A-GPS, Micro-USB with OTG, and FM radio connectivity features.

The BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition measures 137x67x9mm, weighs 123 grams, is backed by a 2150mAh Li-Po battery and will be available in Black colour variant only. Ubuntu is detailing its the edge interactions and Scopes features of its OS for smartphones. Users can access sections like music, video and social quickly with swipes from the home screen. The sections that show up feature the company’s Scopes UI, which is claimed to be a ‘reinvention’ of the mobile UI. Scopes, or categorised home screens, provide a unified view of content in the particular category. The Ubuntu OS for phones run native apps or HTML5 apps. The company has tied up with major developers to ensure Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox,Evernote and Amazon apps are available at launch.

“The launch of the first Ubuntu smartphones is a significant milestone. The new experience we deliver for users, as well as the opportunities for differentiation for manufacturers and operators, are a compelling and much-needed change from what is available today. We’re excited that a rising star like BQ has recognised this opportunity and is helping us make it a reality,” stated Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical about the launch.