Ubuntu Mobile isn’t new; Canonical has already done much to promote its efforts to break into the smartphone mobile software space. But today the company is launching an Indiegogo campaign to fund the development of its first own-branded Ubuntu mobile hardware, the Ubuntu edge. The Edge is a smartphone that hopes to be more than that, by replacing a desktop PC as well.
The $32 million campaign to fund the Edge’s creation is a fixed funding project, which means it’s all or nothing, and it has to achieve its goal within the next 31 days in order to be successful. Canonical needs to raise over $1 million per day to meet its target, that means, and for a high concept device that costs $600 per unit in pre-order backing on day one, or $830 per device after that. That’s going to be no easy feat.
But what Canonical wants to build isn’t just an Ubuntu-powered smartphone – it’s a “low-volume, high-technology platform, crowdfunded by enthusiasts and mobile computing professionals” designed to “accelerate the adoption of new technologies and drive them down into the mainstream,” according to Canonical’s project page. This is about making a gadget for the tinkerers and builders who make gadgets for the everyday world, and its price tag and ambitious design reflect that.
The Edge is an experiment in truly converged computing, turning the smartphone into the central nervous system of a full desktop PC, resulting in a self-described “superphone.” It’s wrapped in a metal outer casing, with a 4.5-inch 1280×720 screen that’s designed not to provide the greatest pixel density, but instead better dynamic range and colour accuracy. The screen is covered by sapphire glass, and the Edge will have the “fastest available” multi-core mobile processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, with a battery designed to push life to the limits. There’s a dual-LTE chip inside for wide-reaching wireless range, too.
On the software side, the Edge combines Ubuntu Mobile with full Ubuntu desktop, and can even boot to Android for a truly converged computing experience. It sounds pretty amazing, and mobile nerds everywhere are no doubt already drooling about this right now, or will begin salivating as soon as they find out this thing is real.
Of course, it’s not real yet, and needs $32 million to become a reality, which is a tall order. But Canonical is a company with a solid track record, and this is an exciting project that’s sure to excite the early adopter community. Whether or not that’ll provide enough momentum to help Canonical push the needle forward on mobile computing remains to be seen – but it’s already accrued nearly $20,000 in a very brief time, so there’s clearly a healthy amount of early interest.