It’s been several years in the making but the first Ubuntu-powered smartphone is nearly upon us. The BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition will finally go on sale starting next week although it’s not the same handset that was promised a few years ago.
Canonical, the group behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution, launched a crowdfunding campaign in the summer of 2013. The campaign aimed to raise an astronomical $32 million to fund the creation of what would have been a top-tier smartphone running the Ubuntu operating system, the Ubuntu Edge.
While Canonical managed to raise a record $12.8 million, it fell far from the initial goal.
The group’s intentions to launch an Ubuntu-powered handset never wavered, however, which is how we got to the BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition.
The handset is actually a BQ Aquaris E4.5 that’s been loaded with Ubuntu. This mid-range phone features a modest 4.5-inch display with a resolution of 540 x 960 and is powered by a quad-core MediaTek Cortex-A7 SoC clocked at 1.3GHz. There’s also 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage and an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera.
Canonical is pricing the phone at just €169.90 ($195), far cheaper than the $695 that the Ubuntu Edge would have set buyers back. It’ll be offered initially through a fire sale next week with a handful of European carriers.
Canonical is still working on its US device strategy but as of writing, there’s no timeline for a launch outside of Europe.