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Ubuntu phone finally launches

Ubuntu phone finally launches

The Ubuntu phone is finally here, after a protracted and tricky route to market.

Smartphone-maker Canonical tried to crowdsource funds for a device a year and a half ago, but failed to raise its rather ambitious target of $32 million.

Now, however, the firm has launched the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu edition. It's an Ubuntu-skinned version of a handset that previously ran Android.

Apart from the software, it's the same device as before. In other words, you get the same 4.5-inch screen with a 540x960-pixel resolution, 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of onboard storage.

There's also an eight-megapixel camera and a five-megapixel front-facer on imaging duties.

So what's different about the software? The Ubuntu OS runs apps written in either HTML5 or QML (the Javascript-based Qt Meta Language).

The apps are stashed away in 'Scopes' – basically widget pages that you swipe between, rather than opening dedicated apps.

So the Photos Scope stores all your local photos and images, as well as Flickr, Instagram and Facebook snaps.

The Nearby Scope, meanwhile, shows apps and locales specific to your location, like data info, restaurants and traffic info.

It's hoped this will provide a simpler way of using your phone than looking for a certain app.

The handset will go on sale this week through flash sales – i.e. the device will only be on sale for short periods at a time.

Canonical will then incorporate user feedback before rolling out the device on a more widespread scale.

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