Hate iOS? Want a cool Linux-powered smartphone that’s not Android? Then Spanish company BQ and Canonical has the smartphone for you: The Aquaris E5 HD Ubuntu Edition. Unfortunately, unless you live in the European Union, you’re not going to find it easy to buy one.
A New Ubuntu Smartphone
This higher-end smartphone is the successor to the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition, the first Ubuntu phone, which was well-received and moderately priced. Unlike the 4.5, which was at first only available in limited quantities, the E5 will be the first mass-market Ubuntu smartphone.
It’s base hardware is the same as BQ’s Android-powered E5. Thus, it comes with a 5” 720p HD display. This is powered by a 1.3GHz MediaTek Quad Core Cortex A7 processor backed by 1GB of RAM, with 16GB of storage plus a microSD slot for more storage.
The processor and the 1 GB of RAM are on the slow and low side. In my experience that’s more than enough to run Ubuntu Touch, the smartphone version of Ubuntu. Ubuntu requires less in the way of system resources than most mobile operating systems.
The new smartphone also comes with a 13-megapixel camera with dual flash. This camera can shoot up to 1080p HD video. On the front is a 5-megapixel camera for video calling or selfies.
It also comes with not one but two unlocked SIM card slots. With these you can have two different numbers; one for work and the other for personal calls. Or, you can do what I do: Use one for domestic calls and the other for international calls. If you travel abroad much this can really save you money.
This won’t be the last Ubuntu smartphone from BQ. In a statement, Alberto Méndez, BQ’s CEO said, “Working with Canonical on bringing the Aquaris E5 Ubuntu Edition has been very satisfying. We share the same philosophy as them along with the same commitment to the Open Source Initiative. At BQ, our goal is to help people understand technology, encourage them to use it and inspire them to create it. That´s why the opportunity for creation that Ubuntu affords is fundamentally important to us.”
The E5 will be available for purchase on about June 12, across the entire European Union from the BQ online store for €199.90., or just 221 US dollars. That’s nine euros less than the Android version.
To get it in the States, the only sure way is to have a friend in the EU order one and then ship it to you. BQ will not support the phone in the US, so I recommend that only hard-core Ubuntu phone fans give this a try.
You may be able to order one in the States via Amazon UK, but we were unable to determine if this method will work because the device is not currently on sale.