So, for example, you could swipe from the Photos scope, which includes photos from an Instagram feed, to the Music scope, which lets you access content from SoundCloud and Grooveshark — it works a little like a directly customizable, more expansive Google Now, or the way the Pebble Time's timeline feature pulls in data. Parrino says the system is very easy to develop for, and in some cases services can support the OS in less than a day without needing to write a line of code.
The devices Canonical is showing off at MWC are both based on existing Android hardware, and neither is intended to be a big seller just yet. The first, the Aquaris E4.5 UE from Spanish manufacturer BQ (below), is a mid- to low-end device that keeps up with the OS well enough, but doesn't impress in build quality. That's to be expected given its €169.90 (about $190) price point, which even then only applies if you can actually secure a device in a flash sale — there's no retail availability, and Parrino says the strategy is about stoking enthusiasm among developers more than getting phones in the hands of consumers.
It's hard to bet on Canonical in 2015, considering how long the mobile Ubuntu project has dragged on and at how early a stage it remains. But, lofty goals of unseating Google's Android aside, the Ubuntu community is unlikely to mind. If you care about the slickest, most mainstream experience, then, well, you probably don't run Ubuntu on your PC, either. I found the Ubuntu phones at MWC to offer simple, fresh experiences that could be more than serviceable for those with reason to believe. In this age of smartphone duopoly, it'd be nice to think there's room for smaller platforms that make a statement.