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

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.
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor

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

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