Ubuntu Edition of that Android phone you've never heard of gets carrier support... sort of

Update: This article was updated after publishing, following changes that were subsequently made to the original press release on which it was based, which clarified certain information.

Original article: Last week, Canonical announced that the world's first Ubuntu phone would finally launch in the coming days. But far from being the magnificent flagship-class device that originally featured in its failed crowd-funding bid to build a custom Ubuntu handset, the new phone is actually just a tweaked version of an existing low-end Android device, from a company that few will have heard of.

Despite this, the BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition has picked up support from some carriers - although, perhaps, not quite in the way you might expect. A press release issued today by Canonical, with supporting quotes from various carriers across Europe - including Three Sweden, Portugal Telecom, and giffgaff in the UK - revealed that these operators will all be "offering SIM bundles at purchase" for the new handset.

But this doesn't mean that the carriers themselves will be selling the devices to end users, which was the impression that we, and others, were left with. giffgaff has since contacted us to acknowledge that "there was some confusion with Canonical's original announcement regarding who will sell the new phone".

A representative for the carrier admitted that "the wording in the press release was technically correct but very easy to misconstrue", and said it had now been updated with clearer language emphasizing that only BQ will sell the device, while the carriers themselves will simply be offering their SIM bundles via BQ's site.

The low-end device will cost €169 EUR (£125 GBP / $192 USD) off-contract, and will be sold through a series of limited-time online 'flash sales'. The date and time of the first such event will be revealed through social media "within the next week".

Key specs of the handset include:

  • 4.5-inch IPS LCD with qHD (960x540px) resolution
  • Quad-core 1.3GHz MediaTek Cortex-A7 processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB onboard storage
  • 8MP rear camera with dual-LED flash and autofocus and 1080p video
  • 5MP front-facing camera
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Dual-SIM support
  • 2150mAh battery

However, the device lacks 4G LTE connectivity, which may make it undesirable for some buyers.

Canonical has said that it is "actively working on a US device strategy", but it has not yet announced firm plans to launch the device Stateside.

Source: Canonical

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