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Costales: All questions about Ubuntu Phone

Published Feb 11 2016 via RSS

I would like to give you all the basic information I know about Ubuntu Phone. If you miss a question, please, ask in comments.

Are there another names?
It's Ubuntu Phone, but you could see Ubuntu Touch too.


Current devices
  • BQ E4.5, BQ E5 & Meizu MX4: Phones that you'll buy with Ubuntu Phone preinstalled.
  • Coming soon: BQ Tablet M10 with Ubuntu Phone preinstalled.

Not preinstalled:

  • Nexus 4: An Android phone that you need to flash. It's the phone used by developers. It works really good, not so fast opening the apps as E4.5 or MX4, IMHO.
Can I use Ubuntu Phone in another phone?
You can use a ROM ported, but the best performance are the current devices.

Can I buy an Ubuntu Phone?
Yes, currently you can buy the BQ E5 and BQ E4.5.
Meixu MX4 is sold out.
You'll can buy the BQ tablet in ~1 month (march 2016).

I live out of Europe. Can I buy it?
Yes, BQ is sending to all the world.

Is there fragmentation?
No, every phone will be updated at the same time.

How otfen will the phones update?
Every month, via OTA.

Are the phones locked?
Not, you can use any SIM

Have the phones got dual SIM?
Only the BQ phones.

Have the phones for extra microSD storage?
BQ E4.5 and E5 have it. Probably the BQ tablet too.

Which phone should I buy?
Design: MX4
Screen: MX4
Camera: MX4
Front Camera: E5
Connectivity: MX4
Convergence: Export screen to monitor and have Ubuntu Desktop: Nexus 4
Battery: E5/MX4
Price: E4.5 or Nexus 4 (second hand)
Storage: E5
Performance (CPU+RAM): MX4


Will the phone work in 3G/4G?
Only Meizu has 4G. BQ phones have 3G.
Out of Europe the phones could work only as 2G.

How is the quality of pictures?
Meizu MX4 is doing an awesome pictures. You can see a few of them from my travels here and here.
The BQ's camera is not so good, a normal camera for a phone.

What about current phone apps?
There are at least 1 application for each task you will need :) You'll not find 300 apps for the same task as in Android, but the current applications are so good and they have a great quality for me.
You can take a look to the catalog here.

What can I do with Ubuntu Phone?
I'll tell you what apps I use, they are doing all the work for my needs :)
  • Call & SMS & Contacts: Preinstalled.
  • Camera: Preinstalled
  • Alarms: Preinstalled
  • Web browser: Preinstalled
  • Active Screen: This will force the screen always ON, so useful for videos, ebooks...
  • Beru: epub reader
  • Calculator: Preinstalled
  • Dekko: Mail reader
  • Document Viewer: PDF, office docs reader
  • edIT: Plain text editor
  • Facebook: Preinstalled
  • File Manager
  • Gallery: Watch your pictures
  • Google+
  • Google Maps
  • Music: Preinstalled
  • Notes: Preinstalled, sync with evernote
  • Podbird: Podcast
  • SnapRecorder: Send voice messages
  • Tasks: Preinstalled
  • Telegram: Preinstalled
  • Terminal
  • Trello
  • Twitter: Preinstalled
  • uApp Explorer: Alternate Store
  • uNav: GPS Navigator
  • uTorch: A lamp for your phone
  • Weather: Preinstalled
  • WifiTransfer: Transfer your files by Wi-Fi
  • XBMC Remote: Control your RaspXBMC
  • Youtube
How do I install the apps?
From the Store in the phone.
You can install any installer file too (.click extension) with this command: pkcon local-install --allow-untrusted <file>.click

Can I uninstall preinstalled apps?
Yes, all of them.


Is there What's App?
No, it's a privative app and only if What's App wants it will be available in the future. You have Telegram preinstalled.

Will I have games?
Yes :) Some as Cut the rope, Don't crash, Falldown, Tux Racer...

Cut the Rope

Don't Crash

Is there a java virtual machine between Ubuntu & the hardware?
No :)) You'll have a real Ubuntu over the hardware in your pocket.

Ubuntu pure

Can I generate a tethering?

What about the battery?
So good, ~1,5 days, but it will depend of your use.

What about privacy?
So good too. The applications can't run in background. You can allow or not any access to camera, GPS...

Privacity! :)

What about free software (as in freedom)?
Probably the best OS, you have a few privative apps, but by default, the phone is free software and the best applications are free too, then you'll enjoy a 100% free phone. Free as in freedom, of course ;)

Can I connect any bluetooth device?
Standard bluetooth devices, as keyboards, mouses... I know people with issues with Bluetooth cars.

How is the interface?
Unity will be the interface and the phone works by gestures.


What are the scopes?
A way to access information without open the app. There is just an alternative to open the app. Similar to Google Now, but with a lot of API services.

I'll migrate from Android
The contacts in Google account will be import so easy from the Contacts presintalled app :)
You have alternatives to Google Calendar, including sync dates.

Does the phone run desktop apps?
No, the current phone is not running them, but it will run ASAP, because the ARM packages will be port to click packages.
You can force it, but I would not recommend you now, because you need to remount the image as writable and you'll lost the OTA updates.

What about convergence?
The convergence is this: the OS and apps will be adapted to the screen: phone, tablet, PC. Then, you'll run the same app.

If you connect a mouse + keyboard to any phone, it will be a mini PC:

Mouse + Keyboard = MiniPC

You can connect a Nexus 4 or the incoming BQ tablet (because BQ and Meizu phones haven't HDMI port) with a SlimPort adapter to a monitor or TV, attach a bluetooth mouse + keyboard and you'll have an Ubuntu desktop, but with the phone apps.
Take a look to this post about this stuff.
ASAP, a fix for BQ & Meizu will use Miracast technology for using the phone as Ubuntu Desktop in a monitor.

Mouse + Keyboard + SlimPort adapter in Nexus 4. Picture by Daniel Wood
How can I develop for phone?
It's so easy to create an app for Ubuntu Phone. Use the SDK. You have a great official guides.
You can develop in:
  • Webapp: A webview container
  • QML + (javascript or C++)
  • Scopes (C++, javascript or Go)
As the apps are open source, you can learn about them in Launchpad or Github.
I have a few examples code so basic here. It could help you.
I would recommend you the mail list or "Ubuntu Apps" in Telegram.

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