Tech enthusiasts have been waiting many years for an Ubuntu phone to be released to the market, and that time is going to arrive sooner than you’d think! Canonical, a company out of the United Kingdom, has announced that the Aquarius E4.5 will begin being sold in Europe on this upcoming Monday: February 16th. The Aquarius E4.5 will be the first smartphone on the market that comes loaded with Ubuntu; a Linux-based operating system different from the typical Android or iOS operating systems.
Additionally, the company revealed some interesting details regarding the way in which the phone will function compared to their competition. Instead of revolving around apps, the phone will use what are known as “Scopes.” Scopes encompass screens, or “cards,” of content. The device doesn’t have a homescreen of apps either. A user can designate a default Scope to display when unlocking the device. To navigate to different apps/scopes, you simply drag in from the left to pull up a toolbar full of scopes. Navigating between cards is similar to navigating between apps on Microsoft’s Windows 8.1; simply drag in from the right side of the screen.
Additionally, if you view the video below you’ll notice that the company has taken a number of interface design queues from both Android and iOS operating systems. Check out the demo below:
Another interesting detail is that development for Ubuntu will likely be much easier compared to Android and iOS, as Scopes will be written in HTML5; the same code used for web-based applications. Hopefully, this simplistic approach will entice developers to create their apps for the Ubuntu operating system. With The Google Play Store and the Apple Appstore being well established, it is going to be an uphill battle for anyone new to the operating system arena. Microsoft is still climbing that hill, but inching up like the “little train that could.”
The Ubuntu operating system is a form of Linux. Linux is an open source operating system that has been around since 1983. The operating system on personal computers has been far less popular than Windows or Macintosh due to being widely considered more technically difficult to use. Additionally, it doesn’t have the same level of application support making it an even less enticing option for the typical consumer. However due to being open source, Linux has long been popular amongst the tech enthusiast crowds.
It appears that this Ubuntu version of Linux has the potential to break into the mainstream market. Canonical has followed the majority of smartphone expectations in terms of menus, apps, and interfaces (as was displayed in the video). This version of Linux could be the most user-friendly Linux experience to date. Canonical has also stated that there may come a time when Ubuntu on both the smartphone and personal computer could run on the “same code.” If so, this move could make Linux relevant in the mainstream consumer world.
Now, before you get your wallets ready, the biggest disappointment regarding the Aquarius E4.5 are the Specs of the device. Running on a 1.3 GHz Quad-core media-tek processor, a lowly 1 GB of RAM, and an 8 Megapixel camera; the Aquarius E4.5 is in line with many of the lower end Android phones on the market. Comparatively, the Samsung Galaxy S5 operates on a 2.5 GHz Quad-core processor, 2 GB of RAM, and a 16 Megapixel camera; nearly doubling the Aquarius E4.5 in every way.
The Aquarius does have an advantage over the Galaxy S5, and that is its price tag. The device will retail for €170 Euros which converts to around $193.00 U.S. dollars. An unlocked Galaxy S5 is going to set you back $500+ U.S. dollars. The initial statement remains true, the Galaxy S5 doubles the Aquarius in every way; including price.
While due out in Europe this upcoming week, details regarding its release in other regions are scarce. As always, patience is a virtue, but good things come to those who wait.
What are your thoughts on Ubuntu? If they can create a decent app library (sorry “Scope” library) would you consider making the switch? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.