Ubuntu phones were announced about 2 years ago, but finally they are being launched into the mainstream market.
Canonical, the company that builds Ubuntu platform releases is finally ready to release their First Smartphone With Ubuntu OS for the masses in collaboration with phone manufacturers Meizu and BQ.
It is in fact a re-purposed version of their famous model, the Aquaris E4.5, a budget smartphone running on Android. The Ubuntu Edition of the Aquaris sports the same hardware, a 4.5-inch 540×960 resolution display, a MediaTek Cortex A7 processor clocked at 1.3GHz with quad cores, 1GB of D-RAM and 8GB of internal storage for application storage. It comes with an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 5-megapixel front camera for Skype or frontal snapshots.
Following the Xiaomi route, Canonical and BQ are structuring their software and sales strategy based on online flash sales. BQ currently has declared no plans to sell these phone outside of Europe at the moment.
The specifications for the phone are a tad underwhelming since most iPhone or Android users will not look to switch over to a new platform. The Ubuntu Phone platform was first launched about two years ago, Canonical’sattempt to crowd-fund this project is what delayed the launch, which should have happened in 2014; promising better sales than this year when Android phones are getting really cheap to buy.
On the software front, the experience is distinctly unique, the Scopes feature—containing various categorized home screens that display e-content from multiple sources is what should be its main selling point. Cristian Parrino, VP of Mobile at Canonical says ‘We are going for the mass market, but that’s a very gradual process and thoughtful process. That is something we are going to be doing intelligently over time — but we will get there.’
Possible Indian launch?
At $195 (INR 12,000), the specifications are very low compared to budget Androids or entry-level Blackberrys In the market. It would be exciting to see how this phone performs in India, if launched in the country by Meizu or BQ since Meizu belongs to neighbouring country China.
With the flood of mobile brands coming in the country, each day, it is becoming difficult to predict the likeness quotient and the future of any new product coming in. Only if there are exceptional features or exceptional offers, one can expect a brand to play fairly well in the market. We surely have high hopes for Ubuntu!