Tag Archives: Hardware

Ebuyer Launch New Range of Budget Ubuntu Laptops

Ubuntu Laptop KeyCanonical has got together with one of the UK’s leading online electronics retailers to launch a new range of budget Ubuntu laptops. Ebuyer.com will sell three 15.6-inch HP laptops pre-loaded with Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS from the end of May 2015. The notebooks are being aimed at business users and all feature a large LED screen and AMD processor with integrated Radeon […]

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Cirrus7 Nimbini — The Most Stylish Ubuntu PC Ever?

In the market for a new Ubuntu PC? You don’t have to look too hard these days to find a company, both big and small, offering a Tux-friendly product.

While many retailers offer run of the mill plastic boxes or off-the-shelf rebrands of ‘white box’ products from Taiwanese giants, the same can’t be said of German hardware company Cirrus7. Their bespoke Ubuntu-powered Cirrus7 Nimbus won a prestigious Red Dot design award last year.

Today the company is back with its latest offering, the new Cirrus7 Nimbini. 

The new NUC measures a mere 150x150x87mm in size, which is veritable Chromebox territory.

The Cirrus7 Nimbini

The Cirrus7 Nimbini

Like its bigger sibling the Nimbi is completely fanless for silent running and is assembled from laser-cut  aluminum layers that are stacked to form a passive cooling system.

The Nimbini is available as a complete assembled system or in cheaper “kit” form.

The kit (which comes in 90 parts) will allow tinkerers and DIY enthusiasts to assemble the devices themselves to not only save on costs but also tweak the design to suit them, e.g. reducing the height if a mechanical drive slot isn’t required.

The Nimbini is features an Intel NUC board and will offer buyers a choice of fifth-generation Intel Broadwell processor, from an i3 to an i7. An M.2 SSD will ship as standard and there will be space for an additional 2.5-inch drive, so storage for multi-boots, movies and cat photos won’t be an issue.

Connectors include:

  • 2 x USB 3.0 (Front)
  • Audio jack (Front)
  • 2 x USB 3.0 (Back)
  • 2x  Mini Displayport (Back)
  • Ethernet (Back)

But the best part: the Cirrus7 Nimbini will be available to buy with either Ubuntu 14.04 LTS or Ubuntu 15.04 pre-installed. 

When Can I Buy It?

The bespoke, custom design does mean that this device is not going to be cheap as a mass produced Intel NUC offered by other retailers. Pricing for the complete system and kit version will be announced near the end of April, with pre-orders going live at the start of May.

Those of interested in buying can expect to have have the cold, silent box sat on their desk before the start of June.

H/t Fanless Tech

The post Cirrus7 Nimbini — The Most Stylish Ubuntu PC Ever? first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

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BQ Ubuntu Phone Now Available For General Purchase

Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition
Quick update: the BQ Ubuntu Phone is now available for general purchase in the European Union. Until now, the phones could only be bought through flash sales.

After a successful few flash sales we’re excited to announce that the shop is now open! The Ubuntu Phone will be available to purchase via our partner +BQ’s store. We look forward to welcoming you to this new generation of mobile experiences that is simpler for developers and more unified for user“.

Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition is the first Ubuntu phone and it was made in partnership with BQ, a Spanish producer of smartphones, tablets, electronic readers and 3d printers. 

The phone, which costs 169,90€, uses a 4.5” display (540×960 resolution) and comes with a Quad Core Cortex A7 1.3GHz MediaTek CPU, Mali 400 up to 500MHz GPU, 1 GB of RAM, an 8 Mpx rear interpolated (dual-flash and autofocus) camera and a 5 Mpx front camera.
It’s important to note that the phone targets early adopters and if you just want WhatsApp or Skype, Ubuntu phone isn’t for you just yet, as these services aren’t yet available.
You can read more about the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition phone in our review.

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CompuLab Utilite2 Is a Tiny ARM Desktop PC Running Ubuntu

CompuLab, best known in Linux circles for being the manufacturer of the popular MintBox PCs, has launched the Utilite2 — a super small ARM PC running Ubuntu or Android.

Housed inside a tiny 3.4-inch by 2.3-inch aluminium casing is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, a quad-core CPU running at 1.7GHz, 2GB RAM and 4GB eMMC storage.

The base model of the Utilite2 costs $192. An additional model is also available for $229 that bumps the internal storage to 32GB.

Utilite 2 by Compulab

This thing is tiny. Seriously tiny.

All models of the Utilite2 come with HDMI out, Gigabit Ethernet, built-in dual-antenna Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

Buyers also have access to audio in/out jack, micro USB/OTG and four USB 2.0 ports for connecting mice, keyboards an other compatible peripherals.

The Utilite2 is capable of powering a display with a max resolution of 1920×1080.

Choice of Ubuntu 12.04.3 for ARM

Compulab also saves buyers the hard work of finding a compatible Ubuntu for ARM build by offering its own version based on Ubuntu 12.04.3. An Android 4.3 image preloaded with Google Play is also available.

While not intending to be a mainstream device (CompuLab largely targets industrial use cases) the Utilite2 is sure to find some fans among the Linux on ARM enthusiast crowd.

The smaller, cheaper and more powerful $89 Intel Compute Stick may be better suited to anyone looking for a low-cost, low-power way to run more recent versions of Ubuntu and as much of the Linux software catalog as possible.

If you’re interested in buying head on over to the official product page for more details, including shipping dates and lead times.

Compulab Utilite2 Product Page

The post CompuLab Utilite2 Is a Tiny ARM Desktop PC Running Ubuntu first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

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Ubuntu Phone Review (BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition): Great OS, Average Hardware

After years of development, the first Ubuntu phone is finally here (Europe only) and while the hardware is average at best, the OS is a breath of fresh air, bringing innovations like scopes and “magic edges”, designed not just to be different, but in many ways, better than the current trends.

Ubuntu Phone BQ

Before proceeding, note that the phone targets early adopters and if you just want WhatsApp or Skype, Ubuntu phone isn’t for you just yet, as these services aren’t yet available.

Hardware

Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition is the first Ubuntu phone and it was made in partnership with BQ, a Spanish producer of smartphones, tablets, electronic readers, and 3d printers.
Ubuntu Phone BQ

Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition specs:

  • Screen: 4.5”, 540×960 resolution
  • Dimensions: 137 x 67 x 9 mm / 123 g weight
  • CPU: Quad Core Cortex A7 up to 1.3 GHz MediaTek
  • GPU: Mali 400 up to 500 MHz
  • Camera: 8 Mpx rear interpolated (Dual-flash and autofocus), 5 Mpx front
  • Internal memory: 8 GB
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Battery: LiPo 2150 mAh
  • Dual micro-SIM
  • MicroSD slot, up to 32 GB
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth® 4.0
  • 2G GSM (850/900/1800/1900)
  • 3G HSPA+ (900/2100)
  • GPS and A-GPS
  • LED notification, Dolby® sound technology, FM radio, microphone, noise canceller

Hardware-wise, the phone doesn’t come with anything special: from the plastic case and average screen (4.5” 540×960 resolution) to the CPU (1.3 GHz MediaTek Quad Core Cortex A7), internal memory (8 GB) and battery (2150 mAh), everything’s basically unremarkable however, at €169.90, it’s a pretty good deal.
For someone who cares more about the OS / Ubuntu, like me, the mid-range hardware is not a deal-breaker, not even close, but what does frustrate me hardware-related is the camera: the pictures are decent but could be better and furthermore, pictures taken with the flash are too bright and basically unusable (here’s an example), which is kind of a major inconvenience. And that’s a bit weird, considering the phone has an 8 Mpx rear interpolated (Dual-flash and autofocus) camera, so I’m not sure if this is hardware or software-related.
Ubuntu Phone BQ

The plastic case and the ~2cm bezel underneath the display (Aquaris E4.5 was initially an Android phone and this space served for Android’s home/back buttons) are more reasons why the phone itself is a bit disappointing. But Canonical had to start somewhere and while not perfect, Aquaris E4.5 is a decent phone overall – it doesn’t lag, comes with dual sim, the speakers are good and it’s the perfect size, at least for me.

Scopes

Ubuntu Phone BQ

What makes the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition special is of course the OS, which can run HTML5 web apps as well as native QML apps.
You’ll find apps in any mobile OS but Canonical also implemented scopes, an innovative (and this is to be appreciated, because innovations nowadays are Android copying iOS, iOS copying Windows Phone and so on – well, more or less anyway) feature thanks to which the content from multiple sources can be displayed in one place – you basically have the content that interests you in one place, when you need it.
Ubuntu Phone

For instance, the main screen consists of Today’s scope which includes the date with the sunrise and sunset information, weather, upcoming holidays, upcoming events, recent calls, messages, headlines from various sources and more. Each of these can be enabled or disabled, so Today’s scope will only display the information you need, which is pretty cool.
The same goes for other scopes – for instance, the Music scope includes sources such as 7digital, Grooveshark, SoundCloud, YouTube and Songkick, but if you only use YouTube, you can disable the others. Or, you can completely disable the Music scope if you don’t plan on using it.
I must confess that the scopes are actually my favorite Ubuntu Phone feature, even though I wasn’t a fan of it on the desktop, at first because it was slow and then because some pretty important sources like YouTube were missing. But that’s not the case with the phone and on top of that, the scopes are actually more customizable on the phone than on the desktop.

Apps

Ubuntu Phone BQ

While the phone is scope-centric, it does run apps as well and by default, it ships with native browser, music, camera, gallery, media player, calculator (along with phone/messaging/contacts apps of course) apps and so on, with more available via Ubuntu Store (which can be used to install both scopes and apps):

For services like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Google Maps, Ubuntu Phone uses web apps, which even though integrate with the OS, are not as nice as the official applications for Android or iOS (for instance, in my opinion, the Facebook mobile website is not exactly pretty).
Ubuntu Phone

Of course, the apps are as beautiful and featureful as those services’ mobile website and until Facebook, Google, etc. build their own applications for Ubuntu Phone, that’s not going to change. That’s why I’m not a big fan of web apps and while I understand their utility, I really hope they will be replaced by real apps at some point.
Unfortunately, there are also some services that are missing from the Ubuntu Store, like Whatsapp (but Telegram, a nice alternative to Whatsapp, is available), Skype, Instagram (there is an Instagram scope that displays the Instagram feed though) and that’s going to be a major downside for some, but then again, right now, Ubuntu Phone isn’t targeted at the masses, but at early adopters / Ubuntu enthusiasts and I don’t know about you, but I can live without them (well, I don’t have Whatsapp, Skype and Instagram installed on my Android phone either). For now.

”Magic edges”

Ubuntu Phone BQ

Unlike other mobile OSes, Ubuntu Phone doesn’t make use of any hardware buttons and instead, it uses all four screen edges for navigation, app switching, settings and indicators, this being yet another feature which feels natural and most importantly, very useful.
Ubuntu Phone

Using the left Ubuntu desktop-like launcher, you can easily launch your favorite applications, pin and unpin apps and see what’s running. With a swipe to the right, you can see a preview of all running apps, switch or close them:

Ubuntu Phone

The bottom edge holds the settings: when you’re in the the scopes for instance, a swipe from the bottom allows configuring which scopes to display, or in Contacts, swipe to add a new contact.
Ubuntu Phone

Quick access indicators are at the top and if you don’t fully open the drawer, you can navigate between the Time & Date, Battery, Sound, Network, Notifications and so on, with a left or right swipe, this being yet another feature which I really like and if I were to guess, I’d say we’re likely to see it in other mobile operating systems at some point.

Conclusions and how to get your own Ubuntu Phone

There’s much more to say about this very first Ubuntu phone and especially about the OS, like click packages and the fast, secure transactional updates, the cool default browser and other default apps and so on, but I don’t want to bore you with all the details.
Overall, Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition is a decent phone with a very interesting and innovative OS which I really hope will succeed. Not with this device of course, it’s too rough and not for the average consumer, but the potential is there and while it’s risky, in a market dominated by giants like Apple and Google, if Canonical does everything right, this could be the beginning of something big.
To get a better idea on what I’m talking about in this article, I’ve recorded a video showing some of the phone’s features:

(direct video link; for more videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel)

Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition will be available in the coming days on BQ.com, through a series of “flash sales” and it will cost 169.90 Euros (~ $193 / £127). The exact date, time and URL of the flash sales will be announced on the Ubuntu and BQ Twitter accounts as well as the Ubuntu Facebook and Google+ pages starting this week, so keep an eye on them if you want to be among the first to get an Ubuntu phone.

Update: the first flash sale was announced:

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Raspberry Pi 2 Goes On Sale, Includes A Quad-Core ARMv7 CPU

The Raspberry Pi Foundation announced “Raspberry Pi 2” today, a new powerful Pi which has the same form-factor and price ($35) as the old Model B+.

For those not familiar with the Raspberry Pi, this is a credit-card-sized computer which runs Linux (and Windows 10 starting with the new Raspberry Pi 2, see below), created with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools. A wide variety of Linux distributions are available for Raspberry Pi, such as Raspbian (Debian Wheezy), Pidora (Fedora remix), Openelec and RaspBMC (XBMC Media Center) and Arch Linux.

The new Raspberry Pi 2 Model B features a much more powerful CPU – a 900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 -, and twice as much RAM as the old Model B+ (1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM). 
Other than that, the old Model B+ and the new Raspberry Pi 2 are pretty much the same – they both ship with 4 USB ports, a MicroSD card socket, an Ethernet port, HDMI 1.3 & 1.4 video/audio socket and they are fully compatible: the connectors are in the same place, have the same functionality and both can run from a 5V micro-USB power adapter.
The announcement mentions that thanks to its ARMv7 processor, the new Pi can run “the full range of ARM GNU/Linux distributions, including Snappy Ubuntu Core” (a package for NOOBS will be available in the next couple of weeks), “as well as Microsoft Windows 10“. Furthermore, the Rasperry Pi Foundation has been working close with Microsoft to bring Pi-compatible Windows 10 free of charge to the new Raspberry Pi 2.
You can buy the new Raspberry Pi 2 from element14 and RS Components.

What do you think?

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Readers' Choice Awards 2014

It’s time for another Readers’ Choice issue of Linux
Journal
! The format
last year was well received, so we’ve followed suit making your voices
heard loud again. I couldn’t help but add some commentary in a few places,
but for the most part, we just reported results. Please enjoy this year’s
Readers’ Choice Awards!
more>>

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