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Ubuntu Edge Smartphone Funding Tapers Off

By - Source: Networkworld | B 34 comments

Last week, Canonical announced an insane plan to crowd-source $32 million USD to develop the Ubuntu Edge smartphone. Since then, the company has managed to generate $7.4 million in funds, with 22 days left to go. However, observers have noticed that the funding has tapered off, and could require a healthy injection from Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth to succeed.

According to Canonical’s Gustavo Niemeyer, project funding is $600,000 behind schedule. At the current donation rate, the goal will unlikely be met. There's speculation that the $725+ donation levels (eight total) required to actually reserve an Ubuntu Edge smartphone at its early 2014 release is just way too steep.

That makes sense. Why would someone be willing to dump $800 into a smartphone that may never be commercially produced when great phones can be purchased for $300 right now? But that's the nature of crowd-funding: dump money into a project that could potentially be a dud when commercially launched.

"Ubuntu Edge is the ultimate convergence device - challenging established norms for PCs and smartphones," said Mark Shuttleworth, Founder of Ubuntu. "The crowd-funding approach is a new way to prove demand for cutting edge technologies and new classes of device; supporting the Ubuntu Edge is the best way to catalyze the next generation of personal devices from industry."

There's talk that Shuttleworth himself may make a donation to the project from his personal bank account. That rumor stems from Linux Action Show pundit Matt Hartley who mused that the Ubuntu founder has a "press release or something up his sleeve". He supposedly has "some big bang" to shoot off towards the end, pushing the final funds over the target amount.

Currently the Ubuntu Edge is slated to offer a dual-boot feature, allowing the user to load up either Ubuntu Mobile or Android. However when docked with a monitor, the phone will transform into a full Ubuntu desktop. Because of this, not only will it need the latest and fastest components, but 128 GB of storage by default. The company also expects to use a quad-core SoC and at least 4 GB of RAM.

"To make the future of mobile happen we’ll have to smash every record in crowd-funding history," added Shuttleworth. "But if there are enough enthusiasts who want the ultimate in performance, storage, screen, battery and bandwidth, Ubuntu Edge will be the catalyst for awesome innovation, and a taste of the future of the phone."

Canonical plans to produce 40,000 devices with the funds supplied by backers. The $725 tier is listed as "sold out", but backers are welcome to donate $775, $780, $790, $830 and more up to $80,000. This latter tier includes 100 Ubuntu Edge phones and thirty days of online support. The $10,000 tier serves up one of the first 50 numbered Ubuntu Edge devices.

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Top Comments
  • 11 Hide
    shahrooz , July 31, 2013 1:19 AM
    People are full of what the media say to them, it's a 4.5 inch why should it be 1080p cause the media says 1080 is good. not so long ago we ongy had 1080p on +17" screens and now 1080p on 4.5 is a must?! the phone dual boots to andoid and ubuntu touch many people complain about Ubuntu touch like getochkn without even reading about the phone. it has 128Gb storage and you can attack external HDD via usb3 to it. it has 4GB of ram so it can give you a full desktop ecperience when it is attached to HDMI display. they have not yet chose a CPU/GPU because they want to do it right before starting production and they sayed they will choose the best based on benchmarking results. I really dont know what are people complaining about. this is not a phone this is a superphone. you wanted innovation, you were complaining about lack of innovation in phones and here it is innovation. now look at you...
Other Comments
  • -6 Hide
    getochkn , July 30, 2013 6:14 PM
    Good, wasn't a good idea anyways. Only hardcore Linux nuts would care about having Ubuntu and yet another fragmented OS for a phone. Can it play angry birds and will facebook messenger run on it is what people want, not a Linux phone. People don't care
  • 4 Hide
    Grandmastersexsay , July 30, 2013 6:18 PM
    I can't see anyone paying $800 for a phone that doesn't even have a 1080p screen.

    Ubuntu should be trying to penetrate the custom rom market and drive denand for their os that way.
  • Display all 34 comments.
  • 9 Hide
    nevilence , July 30, 2013 6:25 PM
    Not that I have the money to spend, but I would be disappointed to not see this phone come to fruition
  • -1 Hide
    John Bauer , July 30, 2013 6:53 PM
    As a non-sequitur, Kickstarter will fail in about 2 years.
  • -2 Hide
    wemakeourfuture , July 30, 2013 7:23 PM
    Quote:
    Good, wasn't a good idea anyways. Only hardcore Linux nuts would care about having Ubuntu and yet another fragmented OS for a phone. Can it play angry birds and will facebook messenger run on it is what people want, not a Linux phone. People don't care


    You know it can run Android right?

    Not a fan of this phone, but like the idea they have behind it in terms of trying to add something new to the market. doubt it will be a success even if launched.
  • -3 Hide
    John Bauer , July 30, 2013 7:26 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Good, wasn't a good idea anyways. Only hardcore Linux nuts would care about having Ubuntu and yet another fragmented OS for a phone. Can it play angry birds and will facebook messenger run on it is what people want, not a Linux phone. People don't care


    You know it can run Android right?

    Not a fan of this phone, but like the idea they have behind it in terms of trying to add something new to the market. doubt it will be a success even if launched.


    Not to mention if it retails for $725.
  • 3 Hide
    Lodmot , July 30, 2013 7:55 PM
    I'm actually a very big fan of Ubuntu and Linux in general, but I pretty much saw this coming. As awesome as this phone sounds, it doesn't exist yet, and people don't want to shell out nearly a grand for a phone they're getting in a year. I don't think this was one of Canonical's better ideas.

    I was expecting more along the lines of them signing a deal with other phone manufacturers like Motorola, Samsung or LG to build a few different Ubuntu phone variations. That would've made more sense.
  • -3 Hide
    whimseh , July 30, 2013 8:01 PM
    Nobody wanted one anyways.
  • 3 Hide
    teh_chem , July 30, 2013 8:56 PM
    Quote:
    Good, wasn't a good idea anyways. Only hardcore Linux nuts would care about having Ubuntu and yet another fragmented OS for a phone. Can it play angry birds and will facebook messenger run on it is what people want, not a Linux phone. People don't care


    I thought it was a great idea in principle. I'd probably pay the same price for a mid-high end phone if it ran Ubuntu vs. Android. Low-end devices can run desktop-mode applications on Ubuntu. Vs. cut-down crappy offerings on Android and iOS. Don't get me wrong, I love my android phone and tablets. But if I could choose between a phone running Android and its apps vs. a full-fledged Ubuntu install, I'd choose the ubuntu option (assuming, of course, the smartphone-esque features are not crippled in the process).

    Where this failed is a very expensive developer phone running an OS that has not been vetted on mobile devices to any extent.
  • -1 Hide
    yobobjm , July 30, 2013 9:32 PM
    The product didn't seem like a good idea, but I like the concept of the OS.
  • -1 Hide
    yobobjm , July 30, 2013 9:37 PM
    What I meant to say, is that I do very much like the OS. But this was not the way to take the world by storm. An $800 phone? They'd be much better of having other companies do their bidding rather than making their own phone. The market is already saturated with companies that make phones, just let them do all the work.
  • -2 Hide
    Jonathan Barndt , July 30, 2013 9:41 PM
    Ubuntu is doing it wrong... they need to invest in a shell vs a app for the phones like the live cd :) ~
  • 1 Hide
    Bloob , July 30, 2013 10:10 PM
    I'd reserve one, but I just bought a phone, ordered another, and I have console purchases waiting to happen too. Not making enough to keep up with my tech-enthusiasm.
  • 3 Hide
    Bloob , July 30, 2013 10:18 PM
    I'd like to point out that with a minimum of 128GB storage, that price point seems to be well justified. For how much does iPhone 5 or S4 64GB retail? Only problem I can see is, if the phone runs ARM, the desktop seems kind of pointless, if not, great.
  • 2 Hide
    PreferLinux , July 30, 2013 10:35 PM
    Don't forget that the price doesn't include any ridiculous carrier subsidies...
  • 0 Hide
    Bloob , July 30, 2013 11:03 PM
    Found this infograph: https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1USDawP-A7PucBDhpJbi6gXlfe1HaKerS7bs3FiTNIbo/edit?pli=1
  • 0 Hide
    p4nz3rm4d , July 30, 2013 11:59 PM
    South Africa to the rescue ;)  Proud to be from the same country as Shuttleworth!
  • 2 Hide
    nadavp3 , July 31, 2013 12:19 AM
    if they go x86, intel, and provide thunderbolt 2.0 connectivity, this phone will be the next big thing:
    you could plug in any PC hardware that you need via the thunderbolt port, such as ... more storage, dedicated graphic card, Ethernet, all with a single cable, now thats handy

    the spc isnt finalized yet, if they state thunderbolt 2.0 im in
  • 11 Hide
    shahrooz , July 31, 2013 1:19 AM
    People are full of what the media say to them, it's a 4.5 inch why should it be 1080p cause the media says 1080 is good. not so long ago we ongy had 1080p on +17" screens and now 1080p on 4.5 is a must?! the phone dual boots to andoid and ubuntu touch many people complain about Ubuntu touch like getochkn without even reading about the phone. it has 128Gb storage and you can attack external HDD via usb3 to it. it has 4GB of ram so it can give you a full desktop ecperience when it is attached to HDMI display. they have not yet chose a CPU/GPU because they want to do it right before starting production and they sayed they will choose the best based on benchmarking results. I really dont know what are people complaining about. this is not a phone this is a superphone. you wanted innovation, you were complaining about lack of innovation in phones and here it is innovation. now look at you...
  • -2 Hide
    Non-Euclidean , July 31, 2013 8:35 AM
    Where is the $.025 tier?
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