Ubuntu Edge smartphone sets crowdfunding record, but still $20m short of target

Ubuntu Edge smartphone sets crowdfunding record, but still $20m short of target

Summary: A project to raise money to develop and manufacture the Ubuntu Edge has raised more than $10.3m through crowdfunding, although with only six days of fundraising left, the project is still more than $20m short of its target.


A record sum of money has been raised through crowdfunding to develop and manufacture the Linux Ubuntu Edge smartphone.

Backers had contributed more than $10.3m through the Ubuntu Edge project page on crowdfunding website Indiegogo as of 10am on Friday.

The amount pledged tops the $10.26m raised to support the Pebble smartwatch through Kickstarter, the previous record high.

The Ubuntu Edge. Image: Canonical

Despite setting a new record for crowdfunding it looks likely that the Ubuntu Edge will not hit its £32 million goal within the remaining six days. If the project fails to hit its goal then all of the money raised will have to be returned to backers.

If Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, fails to hit its target for the Edge then there won't be an Ubuntu Edge phone, according to Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth.

Initially backers needed to pledge up to $830 to get a phone but Canonical later lowered the price to $695 and said it would refund anyone who paid over that amount for a handset.

Canonial pitched the USP of the Edge as being a smartphone that could double as a PC, thanks to having similar specs to a low-end laptop.

The Edge is designed to share the Unity interface with the desktop and tablet versions of Ubuntu, as part of Canonical's vision to have one interface running across all devices.

The advantage of having a single desktop on all devices would be that the phone could customise the look and feel of its user interface, to look like a phone UI when used on the move and like a computer desktop when docked with a monitor.

The largest amount of pledges to the project have come from backers in the US, followed by the UK and Germany.

On Friday, Canonical also added a new funding option aimed at small businesses priced at $7,000, which gets backers 10 phones, 14 days of online support and access to an online workshop.

The specs of the Edge are:

  • Dual-boot Ubuntu Edge into either Ubuntu or Android
  • A fully integrated Ubuntu desktop PC when docked
  • Fast and powerful device with multi-core CPU and at least 4GB RAM
  • 128GB of Solid State Device (SSD) storage for photos, music, content
  • A 4.5-inch 1,280 x 720 HD display with a pure sapphire crystal screen, the hardest natural substance after the diamond
  • Cameras made for low-light, fast response and close up pictures: 8mp rear camera, 2mp front
  • Faster connections all over the world with dual-LTE, dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4, Near Field Communication (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-mic recording, Active Noise Cancellation
  • Silicon-anode Li-Ion battery
  • 64 x 9 x 124mm size

Related Stories about Ubuntu Edge:

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Open Source


Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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  • Well, wrong strategy.

    Why would I support the Edge with like 50$ if I'd never get the chance to buy one?
    Why would I pay the full price now when I only receive the device a year or so later?
    I supported Jolla with 100$. By now, I only received a fan shirt, but I will be able to buy the device when it's ready for shipping. And, of course, I will get a 100$ discount on the device.
    Since Jolla is a Linux/LSB system as well (as Ubuntu), I guess many of the Ubuntu backers might switch to Jolla if the Ubuntu campaign fails.
    Looking forward to my Jolla phone! Honestly!!
    • It's a community thing and it's a statement

      I think the Ubuntu Edge is a community thing, you contribute to help the community and if you think it is worth it to push the technology. Yes, it does not feel OK to not receive something after contributing, but in part that's just same you get for current phones/laptops (and the inmediate next generation): you don't get real innovation. As the indiegogo campaign pages reads:

      "A pioneering project that accelerates the adoption of new technologies and drives them down into the mainstream."

      Imagine it would be nice to have this kind of event every year or so, not necessarily with Ubuntu/Canonical, but that someone brings us the Edge in such an affordable package :)
      • Its NOT a community thing its a FAKE crowd interest

        They knew they had little interest and not enough funding.
        They had fake accounts that would increase the funding about 500K to a million every few days. It wasn't millions being interested, it was 1000s of Canonical accounts faking interest and getting some attention.
        And its FREE attention along with stupid articles like this that just regurgitate this tripe of news.
        All the money in this crowd funding event - is giving back because they didn't reach their goal.
        • correction

          Its more like 100 fake accounts who gave 100K with maybe 5,000 people who gave about 50 bucks.

          Remember the average given by a donator was a 80K.
          If that isn't a phony crowd funding tip off, I don't know what is.
          • Are you serious?

            You are being kind of childish, take this: ^_^
          • There currently are 23576 funders

            That equates to average of

            $10,936,760 / 23576 = $463.89 per backer

            (this implies many donated not for the phone but for the campaign)

            What you are denouncing lacks facts and is insulting, please stop with the mud smearing.
      • It targets the wrong community.

        A community that expects free is not going to pay serious $$$$ for a premium product. The design looks very sweet and it has some great lines and specs it is just targeted to the wrong crowd.
        • What makes you think so?

          Seriously, what makes you think people choose Linux for it being gratis? Or even that people who use Linux cannot pay for a "premium product"? Please, free software is about freedom. Read on gnu.org to nurture yourself.
  • simple and friendly to use

    The specifications is amazing. For $695 you get 128 GB storage, 4 GB RAM, the best multi-core processor available when produced, and a GPU that will be able to output full HD to a external screen.

    The Edge will have Sapphire glass, a surface so hard that you need diamonds to scratch it.


    Ubuntu Edge will also have a new type battery (silicon-anode Li-Ion battery), that is expectet to have x5 to x10 better capacity than current batteries.

    "Nanowire battery can hold 10 times the charge of existing lithium-ion battery"


    "The advantage of having a single desktop on all devices would be that the phone could customise the look and feel of its user interface, to look like a phone UI when used on the move and like a computer desktop when docked with a monitor."

    Ubuntu touch is designed to be simple and friendly to use, and has a simple and understandable user interface:


    An unlocked iPhone 5 costs $849, and a unlocked Samsung Galaxy S4 costs $750. Ubuntu Edge costs $695.

    See the comparison chart at indiegogo:

    • So-Anode is not the same as nano-wire.

      Different battery tech.
  • At the end of the day it's just another android phone

    surprised it even got 20% of the goal, the desktop option is just silly
    • No, it's not.

      Even my Nokia N900 was able to run an Debian Desktop, and you could use it as a PC after connecting it to monitor an Bluetooth mice and keyboard. You will be able to do the same with the upcoming Jolla device. It's only a question of the software - and since both Ubuntu and Jolla are full featured Linux OSses, enabling the desktop is not a big thing... just switching the window manager.
      • I expect a desktop to be a desktop

        run any PC game etc, call it a phone/thin client then get your $25 mill
  • Ubuntu Edge smartphone sets crowdfunding record, but still $20m short of ta

    Its just like throwing your money away if you were to back this. I've see it too many times where some linux project was the next greatest thing then in a year it just fades away. There really is no point in supporting this project.
    • throw away?

      nobody lost out - I'm sure Canonical got a lot of advertising for this, knowing that they'd never hit the $32m, and so everyone who pledged gets their money back. I think they'd be amazed they got £10m!

      So there's no risk to supporting this project as it does highlight what the future of computing should be.