Not that there was ever much doubt in the last few days about Canonical failing to make its crowd-sourcing goal for the Ubuntu Edge, but now it's official. There will be no Ubuntu Edge.
While Canonical raised $12.8-million on Indiegogo to develop and build the Ubuntu Linux/Android-powered Ubuntu Edge combination smartphone and PC, it was far short of the $32-million goal. So, without a white knight riding to the rescue with bags full of money, the project has come to an end. Canonical's leaders, however, don't see it as a failure.
Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical's founder, wrote, "Our bold campaign to build a visionary new device ultimately fell short, but we can take away so many positives.."
"Making the Edge the world’s biggest ever fixed crowdfunding campaign," he said, "Let’s not lose sight of what an achievement that is. Close to 20,000 people believed in our vision enough to contribute hundreds of dollars for a phone months in advance, just to help make it happen. It wasn’t just individuals, either: Bloomberg LP gave $80,000 and several smaller businesses contributed $7,000 each."
Furthermore, Shuttleworth believes, "the big winner from this campaign is Ubuntu. While we passionately wanted to build the Edge to showcase Ubuntu on phones, the support and attention it received will still be a huge boost as other Ubuntu phones start to arrive in 2014. Thousands of you clearly want to own an Ubuntu phone and believe in our vision of convergence, and rest assured you won’t have much longer to wait."
Finally, "All of the support and publicity has continued to drive our discussions with some major manufacturers, and we have many of the world’s biggest mobile networks already signed up to the Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group. They’ll have been watching this global discussion of Ubuntu and the need for innovation very closely indeed."
Sources close to Canonical expect the growth of interest in Ubuntu Phones, thanks to the Ubuntu Edge campaign, will lead to more Ubuntu phone support announcements from OEMs and carriers.
Jono Bacon, the Ubuntu community leader, said on Google+ that, "Some have described us not meeting the goal as a 'failure.' I don't see it that way. Let's be honest: $32-million was always an incredibly ambitious target. We would have liked to have done it for less money, but building a F1 superphone doesn't come cheap (and remember that the $32-million didn't include any costs for software engineering and project management... Canonical were providing that for free). It was an ambitious target, but disrupting an industry is ambitious in itself, and we gave the crowd-funding campaign our best shot. The story does not end here though."
Bacon continued: "We are as voraciously excited and committed to bringing this Free Software convergence story to the world as ever before; our work with OEMs, Carriers, and ISVs continues apace. We have fantastic work going on across all fronts, and we are on track to have a 1.0 release of the Ubuntu Phone platform in October."
I wouldn't write off ever seeing an Ubuntu Edge all-in-one device quite yet either. The Ubuntu Edge didn't take off, but similar ideas may yet make it to market.
Last, but not least, if you did "buy" an Ubuntu Edge device, Shuttleworth has said, "We’ve been assured by Paypal that all refunds will be processed within five working days."