BQ Announces Aquaris E5 HD, The Second Commercially Available Ubuntu Phone

This year may just be the year of the Ubuntu phone as Canonical seems to try to aggressively push new Ubuntu smartphones into the market. The company has once again worked with BQ, a European technology company, to launch a second Ubuntu smartphone called the Aquaris E5 HD Ubuntu Edition.

Cristian Parrino, VP Mobile at Canonical, said, "Bringing a new operating system to market requires partners who are willing to challenge the status quo of the mobile industry. BQ is a fearless innovator whose risk with Ubuntu has already paid off – the launch of this second device in Europe marks an amazing milestone for both companies."

The phone isn't a big upgrade from the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition, which came with a 4.5" screen, 960 x 540 resolution, 8 GB storage and a quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7-based Mediatek CPU. However, for only 30 euro more (a 200 euro price tag) you get a larger 5" screen, 720p resolution and double the storage (16 GB).

The new Aquaris E5 Ubuntu Edition will also have 1 GB of RAM (same as before) and improved cameras both in the front and the back. The rear camera will have 13MP resolution (up from 8MP), will support 1080p video recording, and will come with high-quality Largan lenses, dual flash and a BSI sensor. In the front, there will be a 5MP camera.

BQ seems even more excited about future "convergence" projects that it planned to launch alongside Canonical. Canonical's CEO has recently talked about the convergence of a smartphone and PC and how the company will release a device that fits in your pocket but gives you a PC experience as early as this year.

Ubuntu still has a long way to go before it entrenches itself in the market as a niche player at least, if not a solid competitor, to the big mobile OS players, but even a few million Ubuntu smartphone users could be a significant boost for Canonical's Linux market share.

The Aquaris E5 HD will be available for purchase from BQ's website in mid-June for 200 euro for those who want to be part of the Ubuntu smartphone revolution.

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Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.