Saturday, 9 July 2016

Is the app gap "killing" Ubuntu Phones?

You may find "killing" word a bit offensive but it's been more than a year now since Ubuntu touch has been rolled out and the number of useful day to day apps can be counted on fingers. 

Buying a phone means having a device for the communication not limited to just calls and web surfing through browser. It has grown to an area where one uses it to remain in touch with their family and friends through WhatsApp, having video chats through Skype and Hangout and other apps like a YouTube client, Social Media apps like Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, photo editing apps has become necessity.

The logic given by many for not concentrating on apps is that Canonical is working on smoothing the OS itself first and provide a better User Experience in using the Touch. But, it should remember the fate of Windows Phone. They have had a nice UI, a different and non-lagging performance running on even 512 MB of RAM and there present market share has dropped to less than 2% from 4% in last year. The only reason - app gap. And I am talking about a platform which has only "some of the apps" missing. It still had official Facebook / Messenger / Instagram apps and WhatsApp receives constant updates. It has a number of photo editing apps and games and Microsoft backed it with it's own app segment of Office, Calendars, Outlook and others. 

Canonical has done things right till now. They have been concentrating on the high end phones with nice designs and top-end hardware. The latest in the segment, Meizu MX6 Ubuntu Edition is featuring a 10-core processor and is about to be launched very soon. But from here on, Canonical should shift it's focus on delivering better apps and try to convince the big fishes like Facebook and Google to develop their apps for the Ubuntu platform. This will be hard and there can be some setbacks. No one wants to invest their time and resources for something that isn't even a part of the overall competition. 

So what if in case their isn't an official support from the companies? Develop yourself. Being open source, Canonical has the advantage of working with the development community and it just needs to push things a little. I remember until now, when Facebook introduced the Universal Instagram app for Windows 10 Mobile, there was an official app in the store but no one used it. The 6tag app from Rudy, one of the Windows developer was always the best. Even many are still sticking to his apps despite the official app updated. And he has a collection of apps, that resembles the Facebook, Tinder, Instagram and others and some are better than the official ones. If a single developed can do this, why not Canonical. Fine, you start with something which is not to the level of the same on other platforms, but slowly and steadily it can be polished and improved. I won't mind with a Facebook Messenger app that works only to send texts and not support GIFs, Images, Sticker as long as it keeps me connected to my Facebook friends. 

The reason for this article from me is the fact that there is no WhatsApp app for Ubuntu Touch till now. You may say you don't care but more than a billion people use it daily. Whomever I know has WhatsApp. The popular line of "text me" has been replaced by ""WhatsApp me". Also, Facebook has ended the messaging through browser, and if you don't have the messenger app and you are not on the Desktop, you cannot talk to your friends. Even if I could, I wont wish to open the browser for everything. 

What do you feel, is the app gap holding the Ubuntu Touch from improving the market share and rising among the crowd? Let me / my readers know your expert opinion. 

And I'm sorry for the word "killing". I am a great fan of Ubuntu and Ubuntu Phone and I wish it to end the market dominance of Android and iOS. I would have used the word "limiting" in place of killing but that's almost same if you consider the fate of Nokia with Symbian and Microsoft with Windows Phone. 

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Meizu MX6 Ubuntu Edition leaked, features 10-core Processor

We had earlier reported about a new Ubuntu Phone in making code named Midori, and now the news seems true. In a tweet from Android Headlines we not just only get the image of Meizu MX6 Ubuntu Edition but also it's price which is €399.99.

Meizu MX6 Ubuntu Edition
Meizu MX6 Ubuntu Edition

The latest Ubuntu Phone is one of the superior phones in terms of specifications. Running on Mediatek MT6797 Helio X20 10-core processor, it will be first phone to run on 10-core processor. Also, it will come in a 5.5-inch display 1080x1920, 3GB RAM and 32GB Storage. Like the Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition, it will feature a finger print scanner and will come with a 4000mAh battery. The front camera will be 8MP and the primary one will be 20.7MP.

Canonical has promised that all future Ubuntu Phones will come with support for Convergence and running on a powerful hardware, the Meizu MX6 Ubuntu Edition is expected to create a wave in the Linux world. 

Meizu MX6 Ubuntu Edition
Meizu MX6 Ubuntu Edition

Canonical is doing one thing right, it's not repeating the mistake of Firefox OS. It is delivering high specs and high end phones so the buyer do not have to try something on a below par hardware. The one thing that's need to be worked is the better performance and smoothness in using the Ubuntu Touch. It still lags a bit and the left/right movement is not so smooth. 

We cannot anymore say that Ubuntu Phones are still new, there has been more than 5 handsets released in last one year and we expect a better experience at least in using the Phone, keep aside the apps as of now. 

What do you think? Running on a 10-core processor, will Meizu MX6 Ubuntu Edition create a space for Ubuntu Phone in the Android/iOS dominant market? Will you buy one? Tell us in the comments!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Another Ubuntu Phone codenamed Midori leaked

Ubuntu devices
Ubuntu devices

If you go by the rumor and the updates from OMG Ubuntu, Canonical is working on another Ubuntu Phone code named Midori. A recent entry in launchpad - Ubuntu's bug tracking page has a probable device named Midori and the fact that it's another character from Anime Series Dragon Ball is backing up the claim. To those who don't know, all the Ubuntu Phones released till now has code names derived from Dragon Ball series. 

The page has one entry : 

Changed in arale:
status:New → Confirmed
Changed in midori:
status:New → Confirmed

where Arale is Meizu MX 4 and Midori is speculated to be the new handset. 

Canonical has partnered with Meizu has launched a high-spec Ubuntu device. Also, they are working on improving the OS and has rolled out the OTA-11 updates for the Ubuntu devices that made Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition eligible for Convergence. 

This news of a new Ubuntu handset really comes as a surprize since the last handset didn't create much of the hype although it was having one of the best specifications in the market. There is no confirmation / rumor about the hardware specs of this new device and neither we are sure if it's going to launched. 

So as of now, take this news with a pinch of salt. We will update once we get any confirmation!

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Ubuntu Touch OTA-11 rolled out, supports Convergence over wireless display

Ubuntu Touch OTA-11 rolled out
Ubuntu Touch OTA-11 rolled out

Here's the good news for Ubuntu Phone lovers. The Ubuntu Touch OTA-11 has been rolled out on June 01, 2016 and the major update now supports the Convergence over the wireless displays. That means, if you had got a Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition and was not able to the enjoy the unique selling feature of Ubuntu Touch i.e. Convergence due to the lack of a HDMI port, you can now fully Converge your Ubuntu device to a portable desktop just through a wireless dongle. Canonical also confirmed there is substantial improvement in terms of speed, Bluetooth connectivity, and smoother scrolling. 

FYI : Convergence is a feature from Canonical where your Ubuntu Powered smartphone will work as a full-fledged desktop once it's connected to an external display and a mouse and keyboard. The benefit of Convergence over Microsoft's Continuum is that it do not needs a separate 100$ device to support the feature, and works for all apps and not some selected ones. You can watch a video : Ubuntu touch and convergence [video]

Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition was the latest smartphone launched running on Ubuntu Touch fuelled with a compelling hardware. Though, it's one of the leading handset when you go by specifications, it lacked the Convergence support due to the unavailability of micro HDMI port. Now with OTA-11 update and wireless support, it do not needs a port. The wireless display features uses Miracast.

There are other several bug fixes which includes fixed missing translations in language packs, performance issues fixes and setting customized notifications sounds fixes. 

The important feature that has been rolled out through this major OTA-11 update includes : 

  • Fusion provider for improved positioning in location service
  • New upstream version of Network Manager: 1.2
  • Wireless display support (aethercast) - Meizu Pro 5 only currently
  • Dynamic Grid Unit support (DGU)
  • Support for multiple application windows
  • Shell rotation
  • Pre-loading the home-scope on boot
  • Scroll-bar visual update in the UITK, support for subtitles in header
  • Traditional Chinese support in the ubuntu-keyboard (libchewing)
  • Username and password authentication in VPN
  • Multiple improvements in webbrowser-app: working google hangouts on all form-factors, redesigned media permission request dialog, proper handling of window-level keyboard shortcuts
Shell rotation means the handset can now be used in landscape mode allowing more flexibility to use device as per your preference. Multiple application windows support is also an important feature that has been added. 

The update can be summed up to a support for Wireless display, which comes as a delight for Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition users, smoother scrolling for dash and apps, better mouse responsiveness using Bluetooth, faster and smoother graphics and automatic scaling for external monitors.

The OTA-11 update is supported for BQ Aquaris E4.5/5, Aquaris M10 tablet, and Meizu MX and Pro 5 Ubuntu Phones. 

Do you thing Canonical's try to make a place for itself in the already dominated Android/iOS era will be successful? Tell you in the comments.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition available in US for $370

Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition

If you have always wanted a Ubuntu Phone in your hand, now is the right time. Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition is now available to buy in US and almost all other countries for $370. Running on Ubuntu OTA 10 OS, Meizu Pro 5 is one of the high end smartphone in specifications and is shipped by Chinese retailer JD.com. 

Canonical has one entry level smartphone launched earlier named Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition but the Pro 5 has an overwhelming specifications and features in comparison. Powered by Exynos 7420 that runs the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Note 5 coupled with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB internal storage, it features a 5.7 inch screen with a 1080 p display. Also, the Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition sports a 21 mega pixel primary and 5 mega pixel secondary camera. 

For the complete specifications, read here : Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition Specification

Meizu Pro 5 had been announced almost 2 months ago in MWC and is now available to buy for worldwide user. 

For Russian enthusiast, you can get the handset from here.

For other part of the world, buy it from here.

Earlier, BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition was launched and supports convergence

I am from India and I was able to find the shipping to India. The cost was same, $370 and delivery is confirmed in 3-4 days after the phone ships out which should be in 15 days. The shipping was free which is indeed a relief. 

Clearly, Ubuntu touch is yet not ready for the common people and Ubuntu Enthusiasts all over the world are the ones waiting and looking for this phone. It's time to get one, finally. 

Are you wishing to buy one? Why/why not? Tell us in the comments. 

Monday, 4 April 2016

What BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition Tablet has to offer

Canonical announced its first ever tablet running on Ubuntu in MWC last month, and there is much to look for, for BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition. In this article, we have gathered some of the features for which you can make up your mind to buy one for yourself. 

BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition
BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition

Convergence - The nicest thing BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition has to offer is the convergence. With Ubuntu Convergence, connecting your mouse and keyboard wirelessly to the tablet will transform it into a full-fledged Ubuntu desktop. You can then continue with your work or play some games there. You can even connect it to a TV screen or Monitor if you are particularly fond of larger screens. 

So, its like if you want to do some paintings or create a presentations and you think you need a mouse and keyboard, just connect it with your Ubuntu tablet wirelessly and enjoy your work.

BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet comes pre-loaded with day-to-day softwares that you need, most of which are from Open Source community. You will get the Firefox browser to browse the web, dropbox to keep your files, LibreOffice - the major competitor to Microsoft Office for your spreadsheets and presentations, the open source messaging app Telegram, Twitter app, GIMP for photo editing, Gmail, YouTube and much more. 

Scopes - the unconventional way of keeping thing organised and giving you access to content and services without having to download individual apps. There are scopes for finding near by things ranging from restaurants to concerts and transportation. Another scope for music lovers, and much more. 

The hardware specifications for Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet includes 10.1 inch multi-touch screen running on MediaTek Quad Core 1.5 GHz processor. The tablet features a Full HD 1080p camera and is packed with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage that can be extended to 64GB using MicroSD card. There are frontal speakers and 5 mega pixel front camera for video calling and selfies. And this comes at a cost of just €259.90. Well, the hardware might not look great to you but it's the software that you should watch. Its the first free and open source Ubuntu powered tablet. Long live the freedom. 

What are your reasons to buy a Ubuntu Tablet? Tell us in the comments. 

Friday, 1 April 2016