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Goal for Ubuntu Edge phone may go beyond crowdfunding campaign

Pledges for the Ubuntu Edge -- the smartphone that doubles as a desktop -- flew hot and heavy over the first few days

By Brad Chacos
July 24, 2013 04:29 PM ET

TechHive - Just what are those Linux lovers trying to pull here?

On Monday, Canonical announced a new Indiegogo campaign to crowdfund the Ubuntu Edge, a crazy-ambitious smartphone that can double as a fully functional desktop PC when paired with a monitor and mouse. But that ambitious endeavor was joined by equally ambitious funding goals: If you wanted to get your hands on the phone, you could plunk down $600 on the first day, or $830 thereafter.

The attention and the discount created a surge, and the Ubuntu Edge has already racked up more than $4 million toward its $32 million funding goal. But with all of the lower tier sold out, Canonical has gone back to the drawing board and introduced three new lower-priced funding tiers: $625, $675, and $725, all of which will nab you a Ubuntu Edge if the campaign is successful.

Kickstarting the future sometimes means tweaking your tactics -- especially if you're trying to raise three times more moolah than the most successful Kickstarter campaign to date managed to scarf down. (More on that suspicious total later.)

According to a project update, the quantities in each tier are limited, and slightly more expensive tiers will be introduced as the new additions fill up. The $830 tier will remain available in unlimited quantities throughout the campaign, but Canonical is tossing a bone to deep-pocketed early backers: The company dropped all $830 pledges down to $625 and promised to refund the difference at the end of the campaign.

Like a Windows tablet, only smaller and Linux-y

No matter whether you're dropping $625, $830 or some point in between, that's a lot of cash to drop on a concept. But the hardware promised at the end will hopefully be nothing less than a PC in even more mobile form than a Windows tablet.

Echoing BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins, Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth thinks it's madness to buy a cornucopia of computerized devices.

"If you only have to buy one set of RAM, CPU and storage and CPU for your phone, your tablet, and your PC, there are enormous savings there in doing that," he said during the Ubuntu Edge press conference. "If developers only have to target one platform, there are enormous benefits for them. This will be the first phone you can connect to a screen and get a full PC experience."

Rather than attempting to frankenmangle the smartphone and desktop experiences together, as Microsoft has does with mixed results in Windows 8, the Ubuntu Edge takes a more harmonious approach to convergence. The phone will dual-boot both Android and Ubuntu's own mobile OS while being used in squawk box mode. Magic happens when you connect the device to a monitor, however: It seamlessly converts to the desktop Ubuntu interface, complete with all the keyboard support and sudo apt-get commands that Linux aficionados know and love.

Originally published on www.techhive.com. Click here to read the original story.
Reprinted with permission from TechHive.com. Story copyright 2013 IDG Consumer & SMB, all rights reserved.
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