Ubuntu Edge smartphone wants $32 million from crowd sourced campaign

In January, Canonical announced plans to introduce their Linux-based Ubuntu OS into smartphones. Today, the company revealed their plans to offer a phone made specifically for Ubuntu, but it needs $32 million to make it a reality.

You might think $32 million is a lot of money to raise, and you would be right. However, Canonical believes it can get that massive amount from the general public. Today, it launched a crowd sourced campaign on the Indiegogo site, to fund the smartphone, the Ubuntu Edge.

For today only, Canonical is offering a $600 tier where a person will be able to get the Ubuntu Edge smartphone when it's launched in May 2014. After today, the donation price will go up to $830 for one of these phones. Donating $10,000 will get a person one of the first 50 units of the Ubuntu Edge off the assembly line, along with email access to the developers and engineers that will be building the device and its apps.

As far as the phone itself, Canonical says the Ubuntu Edge will dual boot both Ubuntu and Android. It will have a 4.5 inch screen, a quad-core processor, 4 GB of RAM and a massive 128 GB of storage. It will also have an eight megapixel rear camera.

While it's still too early to tell if the Indiegogo campaign will succeed, it has so far managed to raise over $300,000 as of this writing.

Source: Indiegogo | Image via Canonical

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Camera spec is underwhelming. Only 720p in 2014? Come on, all cutting edge phones are going to be 1080p very soon. Also no wireless charging, no OIS. Love the industrial design, I hope a Surface Phone looks like this.

$3,427,902 / 30 days left. Doing way better than I could ever have expected. They needed to average ~1.06 mil/day and they have busted that wide open.

I don't think its considered a donation either. A donation is where you give but not expect anything in return. If the campaign is successful, people who gave 600+ essentially bought a new phone. Otherwise everyone gets their money back.

They list the desktop PC as a feature yet they say "shortly after" it will be provided it as an update. They have been demoing that convert to desktop docking feature a long time ago yet it is still not ready. Now they want millions on goodwill that they will deliver.

Syanide said,
As it clearly says, it works with Android, will be delivered as an update for Ubuntu Touch.

Now if only Windows Phone 8 would have a similar feature where when docked, you'd get a more robust OS.

Maybe if WP8 devices ran a version of Windows RT instead... and when docked it actually became Windows RT.

Or Windows 8? I'm dreaming

I think this is really cool, and is probably the biggest test of crowdfunding to date, but this campaign is highly unlikely to complete.

They need to make $3.2M minimum today, but optimally they make closer to $6.4 million. Otherwise they have to raise about $1M every day. Most successful crowd-source campaigns make 10-20% the first day. Tomorrow the buy in gets steeper, and they will have to convince 1000 people to spend 830 dollars on Linux. Every day for the next month they need 1000 people to spend 830 dollars on Linux.

That means they need 29,000 people to spend 830 dollars on Linux, every day, for a month. If they can convince 5,000 people to spend $600 today.

I'm not even sure you could convince 29,000 people to spend $30 on Linux in 30 days.

They're at 3,179,416 and still slowly going up. I contributed earlier today. I hope this campaign is a success. It does look promising and I like the design.

I like the design too, if it was bigger and I could use it. But then that's my general complaint with most cell phones that aren't sized like the Galaxy Note.

Also they barely broke 10%, They now need to get about $28.5M in 29~ days. That means they need like 500,000 people to buy in at $20, and the rest to fill in the $830 phones sales. If they sell anymore of the high dollar investments that would just be gravy.

Edited by NastySasquatch, Jul 23 2013, 1:40pm :

I'm new to crowdsourcing/crowdfunding. If Canonical doesn't raise the needed funds, do you get your money back?


Could have simply answered the person with "yes" or the following instead of making them hunt up the answer LOL:

Fixed Funding campaigns

Contributions made to any fixed funding campaign will be refunded in full if the campaign has not met its funding goal by its deadline. Contributors will receive these refunds in their PayPal account within 5 days after the campaign's end.

ir0nw0lf said,

Could have simply answered the person with "yes" or the following instead of making them hunt up the answer LOL:

Oops. I copied and pasted an excerpt from that page too, but it seems like it got lost somewhere.

I quite like its design. It does have an edge. And like most, UI is not bad, either, but, alas, third-party apps, especially Android apps, will destroy that illusion.

Phouchg said,
I quite like its design. It does have an edge. And like most, UI is not bad, either, but, alas, third-party apps, especially Android apps, will destroy that illusion.

But the android apps only run on the android side...not the ubuntu side.

It's actually running Android alongside Ubuntu.

For the price it's not a bad deal to be honest. Doubt they will be able to get the required money though. This said i though no crowd funded project would see the light of the day yet Shadowrun Returns will be released next week.

I just can't see them hitting that amount even though I'd be very much in favour of seeing more competition in the mobile phone space. I wish them the best of luck!

Well seeing as canoical is very rich, they must have 0 faith in this ever working on, like the general public too.

Spicoli said,
What's another one? These are donations and not equities or bonds.

From what i understand these are not donations. You pay 600$ and you get the phone when it's ready.

LaP said,

From what i understand these are not donations. You pay 600$ and you get the phone when it's ready.

That's not "crowdsourcing". That's just plain old pre-ordering. What do you get for the $20?

According to Wikipedia Shuttleworth's capital is about 500 millions of dollars. He can pay it himself if he really wants such smartphone.

recursive said,
Rounded corners -> Looks like an iPad
Sharp edges -> Looks like a Surface.

It's not the sharp edges... it's the angled edges. The Surface has sharp angled edges, angled to match the kickstand.

so let me get this straight, they want $830 now for a phone in May 2014 whose primary app framework is HTML5? are they out of their minds?

ilovetech said,
so let me get this straight, they want $830 now for a phone in May 2014 whose primary app framework is HTML5? are they out of their minds?

No they are not, because HTML5 is not the primary app framework. Qt is.

Should have mentioned their biggest selling point, docking it to get a full desktop OS.


Personally, I'm not sure if crowd funding is the best way to do it, but we'll see.

You failed to consider one of the best selling points of this phone. You can use it as a Desktop PC too when hooked up to an external monitor, running Ubuntu Linux!

If I understand correctly, when you dock the phone you get the full blown Ubuntu desktop OS but the phone doesn't reboot to change operating systems so more memory would help to run both your phone user space and your desktop user space in parallel (or at least switch instantly between them).

And then you'd surely still want quite a few memory available for all your desktop and phone apps on top of that.

Dual booting with Android is quite appealing, the specs are nice enough (for the current gen of phones at least) so even if the Ubuntu OS is crappy it should still be a decent device. Recently came into a bit of money and I currently have a HTC One with a contract that ends in June so might just pledge the $600 and if it's rubbish I'll still have my upgrade to fall back on, sweet!

I bet this is what Cyanogenmod was showing off in regards to Nemesis...
From the about page "Finally, you can also boot the phone into Android. And there's a good reason for that..."

Fus10n said,
As much as I would love to see this to happening.. They are out of their minds.. With that said, Good Luck!
Care to elaborate? They provide the most advanced phone at a price that's similar to other lower spec phones. Look at the features!!

JasonMiles said,
Care to elaborate? They provide the most advanced phone at a price that's similar to other lower spec phones. Look at the features!!

Selling your house and going all in then?

I hope the experience is not as poor as Linux as a desktop OS. Redhat makes a great operating system for servers - no one makes a good workstation Linux-based OS.

This is solely my opinion as a datacenter admin for hundreds of Windows/Linux VMs.

Fus10n said,
As much as I would love to see this to happening.. They are out of their minds.. With that said, Good Luck!

If produced the phone has a lot of potential. If the specs are close to what they claim it will be then the device will be a true pioneer in the mobile space. Will the Ubuntu side be any good? Who knows, but with them promising Nexus like support it will more than likely attract a lot of attention from the Android Mod community.

@ $600 the Dual LTE alone was enough to make it a solid deal with current generation specs. 4GB RAM and 128GB of storage and a silicon anode battery and you're looking at an amazing device that will be unmatched for a while.

JasonMiles said,
Care to elaborate? They provide the most advanced phone at a price that's similar to other lower spec phones. Look at the features!!

I was referring to start up cost of 32 million.. $600 isn't nothing for a phone\Desktop, pretty sweet. I hope they are able to pull it off.

LogicalApex said,

If produced the phone has a lot of potential. If the specs are close to what they claim it will be then the device will be a true pioneer in the mobile space. Will the Ubuntu side be any good? Who knows, but with them promising Nexus like support it will more than likely attract a lot of attention from the Android Mod community.

@ $600 the Dual LTE alone was enough to make it a solid deal with current generation specs. 4GB RAM and 128GB of storage and a silicon anode battery and you're looking at an amazing device that will be unmatched for a while.


I was referring to start up cost of 32 million.. $600 isn't nothing for a phone\Desktop, pretty sweet.. I hope they are able to pull it off.

Fus10n said,

I was referring to start up cost of 32 million.. $600 isn't nothing for a phone\Desktop, pretty sweet. I hope they are able to pull it off.

They are already close to a million in just a matter of minutes now.

Me too.. I bought a Nexus 4 to get the Ubuntu Touch OS on it.. but it didn't work too well.. now I have an S4 and seems to be 0% work done for that model.. hopefully this phone will take off.

JasonMiles said,
They are already close to a million in just a matter of minutes now.

I remember reading that most sucessful campaigns on kickstarter and indiegogo get 10-20% of their funding goal in the first 24 hours. So if this one clears 3.2 million today, it just needs to get about $800k a day to be successful. Then comes the other sad reality of these campaigns, there is usually a week long stretch in them where they get maybe 1 or 2 donations a day.

This is definitely not a non-starter, but it probably needs to get a million dollars a day to complete. Think about that number, it is HUGE.

If you notice the 5000 backers at $600 is $3M dollars, so the team running this knows they need to sell every single 1 of those today, because tomorrow this phone gets more expensive.

norseman said,
I hope the experience is not as poor as Linux as a desktop OS. Redhat makes a great operating system for servers - no one makes a good workstation Linux-based OS.

This is solely my opinion as a datacenter admin for hundreds of Windows/Linux VMs.

Debian 7 works quite well on a workstation, imho.

Fus10n said,

I was referring to start up cost of 32 million.. $600 isn't nothing for a phone\Desktop, pretty sweet.. I hope they are able to pull it off.

Except it says "Get the exclusive Ubuntu Edge smartphone at a special 24-hour introductory price." for $600. That sounds like you give them $600 and then you have pay for the phone. That could be misleading a lot of people if that's the case.