Canonical said on Monday that it has launched a crowdfunding campaign to develop the Ubuntu Edge smartphone. This campaign will span thirty days seeking $32 million USD with the intent to produce 40,000 devices. Backers committing $600 (£394) on day one, or $830 (£532) thereafter, will receive one of these mobile devices in May 2014, the company said.
"Ubuntu Edge is the ultimate convergence device - challenging established norms for PCs and smartphones," said Mark Shuttleworth, Founder of Ubuntu. "The crowdfunding 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."
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.
The company said that on day one, users will be able to launch Ubuntu Desktop from within Android using the existing Ubuntu for Android app. Shortly thereafter, the company will push out a free software update that adds the desktop integration to Ubuntu Mobile as well. At that point, customers will be able to load up Ubuntu Desktop whether they're in Android or Ubuntu Mobile.
"The exquisitely crafted device replaces the traditional glass screen with a pure Sapphire crystal, so tough it could only be scratched by diamond," the company said. "It will also pioneer the use of long-life silicon anode battery technology. A special dual-LTE solution will allow high-speed roaming with access to 4G-LTE broadband in both Europe and the US."
Canonical said the screen will actually measure 4.5 inches and sport a 1280 x 720 display. It will also have an 8MP camera on the back made for low-light, fast response and close up pictures, and a 2MP camera on the front. Other features will include NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, Wireless N, stereo speakers with Active noise Cancellation, MHL connectivity and more.
"To make the future of mobile happen we’ll have to smash every record in crowdfunding 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."
The crowdfunding project for Ubuntu Edge, which launched on Monday, can be found at Indiegogo here. It's already generated $557,693 as of this article, and there are still 30 days left.