Canonical’s Ubuntu LINUX distribution is an operating system with massive potential. The software is available for laptops or desktops, smartphones and tablets, but unlike Android, can change its user interface depending on the hardware it is being run on. However, Ubuntu goes deeper than this in that the one installation can adjust its own user interface depending on how the device is being used. A smartphone running Ubuntu will behave like a desktop computer if connected to an external monitor, mouse and keyboard. Canonical’s software is also relatively lightweight, meaning that a comparatively low-powered device runs all interfaces well. Furthermore, applications are not written for Ubuntu mobile or desktop, but simply written for Ubuntu and will work on all platforms. This means that conceivably, we can easily carry the power and accessibility of a desktop around in our pocket. And today, Meizu have announced the most powerful Ubuntu ‘phone yet released.
The new device, called the Meizu “Ubuntu Edition” Pro 5, had already been leaked although Meizu launched the device before the MWC next week. Nevertheless, it’s worthwhile running over the core specifications one more time. The smartphone uses a 5.7-inch, 1080p resolution AMOLED panel, the Samsung Exynos 7420 System-on-Chip that powers the Samsung Galaxy S6 family of devices, which is backed up by at least 3 GB of RAM with 32 GB of internal storage. Meizu will also sell a version with 64 GB of internal storage, which will benefit from 4 GB of RAM. There’s a 3,050 mAh internal rechargeable battery, a 21MP rear camera together with a 5MP front facing camera and a fingerprint reader sensor. The “Ubuntu Edition” Pro 5, then, uses very similar hardware to the normal, Android-powered Pro 5. The Ubuntu-powered device certainly sounds powerful in the context of smartphones, although when considered in line with laptops and desktops, is not exactly in the same league.
Canonical have explained that the Pro 5 will use the latest Ubuntu code and “is capable of providing a traditional desktop experience,” although it is not clear how this will work as the device lacks MHL output. We’ve seen the Ubuntu “Convergence” feature – that of plugging an external monitor into a device and using it as you might a regular desktop computer. We will await additional details from Canonical here. Meanwhile, for customers interested in the Meizu Pro 5 “Ubuntu Edition,” pre-orders will start on Monday but Canonical have not yet announced the price. However, it will be made available for customers in every corner of the world.