Ubuntu - From the Edge to the Aquaris

The year is 2013. Canonical, the creator of Ubuntu, has taken us all by storm by announcing their plans of crowdfunding their next phone, called the Edge. All of us drooled over it and we all rued the day Canonical announced that they’d not met their goal, thus scrapping the project.

Ubuntu Edge

The Edge would have had 4 GB of RAM, something phones don’t have even today. 4 GB is overkill according to most, but think about how long the phone would have gone without becoming obsolete! My previous phone had 1 GB of RAM and I upgraded to the Nexus 5 with 2 GB. So far so good, but in a couple of years, as phones get more and more capabilities of our PCs, that 2 GB is going to seem very less indeed.

Arguably, the Edge deserved 4 GB of RAM. It would have shipped with advanced docking capabilities, automatically switching to the desktop version of Ubuntu when hooked up with a monitor. The Edge would have also had a multi-core processor, all the standard sensors and a whopping 128 GB of internal storage.

Brilliant, right?

Back to 2015. The first phone with Ubuntu Touch is finally out. The BQ Aquaris E4.5 is a far cry from the Edge, right from the name. The 4.5 is definitely not a flagship like the Edge would have been. The phone sports a 4.5” qHD display (yep, 2015 and no HD display - wut?) and is powered by a Cortex A7 MediaTek chip and 1 GB of RAM. It has 8 GB of internal memory with just 5.5 GB user accessible. Heck, the phone isn’t even unique. An identical version of the phone is available with Android KitKat on it - this is just the Ubuntu Edition.

Make no mistake, this is a huge milestone for Canonical and a step forward for Linux on phones. I just think it’s sad that Canonical had to go from a device like the Edge to a less than standard device like the E4.5 for their first phone. I just hope that the Meizu MX4 with Ubuntu does justice.

Aditya Saky
February 9, 2015