World's first Ubuntu Phone wants to shake up the home screen

Ubuntu Phone
Linux on a smartphone? Who'd think that was a good idea? Oh...

The BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition will be the world's first Ubuntu Phone when it goes on sale in Europe on Monday 9 February, after years of false starts and broken promises.

It comes with a 4.5-inch QHD display, a MediaTek Quad Core Cortex A7 processor clocked at 1.3GHz and 1GB of RAM. It also features a 5-megapixel front camera and an 8-megapixel rear camera.

Ubuntu Phone looks set to shake up the way we interact with our smartphones and the apps we've installed on them. Rather than laying out all the apps separately in grids as with Android and iOS, Ubuntu Phone is bringing in the revolutionary idea of "Scopes", which as Cristian Parrino, VP of Mobile at Canonical claims, is "a game changer".

Ubuntu Phone is looking to integrate content and services via "Scopes", which will integrate various apps and services into an easy to use interface, so users don't have to scroll through screens of icons.

For example the NearBy scope will aggregate local services centred around where you are and what you're doing, giving you reviews of local restaurants nearby, as well as the weather in your area. It should mean you no longer have to open up separate apps or web pages to view all of this information.

Act fast

It will go on sale exclusively across Europe for €169.90 (around £127, $194, AU$249) on Monday 9 February in a flash sale. The website for the sale and the exact time the virtual doors will open will be revealed on @Ubuntu and @bqreaders on Twitter.

If you want to get your hands on one, you'll need to be quick as there will only be a limited amount of BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition devices available on Monday. Rodrigo del Prado, Deputy Director General of BQ, told us that further flash sales, and then more widespread availability across Europe will follow in the next two to three weeks.

A number of networks in Europe such as, giffgaff, and Portugal Telecom will offer SIM bundles with the BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition.

Ubuntu Phone

The first of many?

We spoke to Cristian Parrino, VP of Mobile at Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Phone, who told use that "Launching a new product is a journey, this is the first step", and that for the time being Canonical is focusing on early adopters who are bored of iOS and Android, rather than fighting for shelf space among more well known brands.

Time will tell if this direction will pay off and Ubuntu Phone can get the attention of disgruntled iOS and Android users.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.