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Ubuntu Edge crowdfunding drive fails to raise target $32m

Warwick Ashford

After breaking the record for crowdfunding, the drive to raise $32m for the Ubuntu Edge smartphone has failed to meet its target.

All pledges will be returned after developer Canonical raised only $13m from 27,488 funders.

Ubuntu-logo-290x230.jpg

The crowdfunding campaign raised nearly $3.4m in the first days and exceeded the previous record of more than $10m set by Pebble Watch’s Kickstarter campaign, but raised less than half that required at the end of the 30-day campaign.

Canonical was hoping to make 40,000 handsets with its free Ubuntu Edge hybrid PC and mobile phone platform by May 2014.

Raising crowdfunding for both development and production costs at the same time proved too difficult, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth told the BBC.

He said that, in a future campaign, Canonical would try to find and secure a different source for the development costs before launching a crowdfunding campaign to manufacture the handsets.

Ubuntu Edge specifications (subject to change)

  • Dual-boot Ubuntu Edge into either Ubuntu or Android
  • Becomes a fully integrated Ubuntu desktop PC when docked
  • Fast and powerful device with multi-core CPU and at least 4GB RAM
  • 128GB of storage for photos, music, content
  • 4.5in 1,280 x 720 HD display with pure sapphire crystal screen
  • Cameras made for low-light, fast response and close up pictures: 8mp rear camera, 2mp front
  • Faster connection all over the world with dual-LTE, dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4, NFC
  • Connect to HDMI TVs and monitors easily with MHL connector, 3.5mm jack
  • GPS, accelerometer, gyro, proximity sensor, compass, barometer
  • Stereo speakers with HD audio, dual-microphone recording, Active Noise Cancellation
  • Silicon-anode Li-Ion battery
  • 64mm x 9mm x 124mm

Canonical chose to use Indiegogo's "fixed funding" campaign, under the terms of which all the money pledged must be returned if the campaign does not reach its funding goal.

Under a "flexible funding" campaign, Canonical could have kept most of the funds.

The project aims to develop the Ubuntu Edge, converging a mobile OS and desktop OS in a single device.

The Ubuntu Edge will dual boot Ubuntu phone OS and Android, and will transform into a PC when connected to a monitor, with the full Ubuntu desktop and shared access to all the phone’s files.

Applications will look like standard mobile apps when the handset is being used as a standalone device, but will change their user interfaces to desktop mode when the device is docked with a monitor.

The operating system will also be designed to support apps written in HTML5, but at slower speeds.

 Canonical planned to make money by charging for support and training for Ubuntu and taking a share of online sales from handset makers that used its software.


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