updated 02:46 pm EDT, Mon July 22, 2013
Asking for $32M in funding to manufacture limited run of Ubuntu smartphone
Canonical has launched a crowdfunding campaign a smartphone running on Ubuntu. The company is looking to raise $32 million within 31 days to put the Ubuntu Edge into a limited production run, which could see backers receiving the high-powered smartphone by May 2014 if the IndieGoGo campaign reaches its lofty target.
Contained in a metal case, the Ubuntu Edge will use an unnamed multi-core processor with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Able to dual-boot to Ubuntu and Android when used as a smartphone, its main feature is that it can be docked and used as a full personal computer with Ubuntu desktop, when used with a display and peripherals.
Outside, it is touted to have a 4.5-inch, 1280x720 HD display with sapphire crystal protection, along with an eight-megapixel low-light rear camera, and a 2-megapixel front-facing counterpart. Dual LTE antennas make an appearance, along with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, MHL, and NFC connectivity, and other standard smartphone features such as a GPS, a compass, and a headphone socket. Stereo speakers will provide HD audio, while a dual-mic setup is accompanied by Active Noise Cancellation.
The high $32 million target is high when compared to other crowdfunding efforts. The Oculus Rift generated $2.4 million during its funding drive, while the Ouya achieved $8.6 million, and the Pebble smart watch reached $10.2 million in backing, though these are all for items costing between $100 and $300 per unit. In comparison, the Ubuntu Edge requires over 38,500 orders for the $830 device in order to go into production, though this could be lowered if there are backers at the drive's $10,000 first-batch or $80,000 100-unit bundle levels.
Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth advises that the company is "not trying to get into the phone business," citing its ongoing work with other phone manufacturers and carriers, and calls it a project aimed at enthusiasts.
At the time of writing, the campaign has raised $750,000 of its $32 million goal.