Target of $32m is deliberately ambitious to encourage manufacturers to jump on board the Ubuntu Mobile train, Canonical tells TechWeek
The crowdsourced funding campaign to build the Ubuntu Edge is a statement of intent designed to highlight the demand for a truly open mobile operating system, Canonical product manager Richard Collins told TechWeekEurope today.
The company hopes to raise $32 million (£20.8m) in the next 27 days to build the ‘superphone’, a target which would be the largest amount ever generated through a crowdsourcing platform.
“We know it’s ambitious,” Richard Collins, product manager at Canonical, told TechWeekEurope. “It’s going to break all kinds of records. It’s pure disruption.”
Collins explained Canonical has been in constant communication with hardware manufacturers who were interested in creating devices for the platform, but could simply not justify the risk of creating a handset that uses an unproven platform like Ubuntu Mobile.
This encouraged it to investigate the possibility of creating its own smartphone that would persuade others to follow suit. The Ubuntu Edge is a ‘proof of concept’ device intended to showcase the capabilities of the Ubuntu Mobile operating system, such as the ability to run the same applications as a PC and the convergence between mobile and desktop environments.
It’s deliberately high spec and will use the best components available at the time of production, including the fastest multi-core processor, at least 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. This means the Edge won’t be cheap, but it should be the perfect showcase for Ubuntu Mobile.
“We want to show it’s possible,” said Dillon
The campaign has generated plenty of publicity and greater awareness of Ubuntu Mobile, but although Collins welcomes the attention, he said the chief motivation of the project was to generate funds. The Ubuntu Edge has currently raised $6,408,929, 20 percent of its target, with 27 days remaining.
Canonical has said the phone will not be produced if it fails to generate the required $32 million, but Collins is confident that even if the goal is not reached, the impact of the campaign will rub off on manufacturers who will be more confident about committing to the project.
The current minimum pledge required to secure an Ubuntu Edge is $725, but Collins hopes there will eventually be handsets priced between $150 and $180.
He acknowledged that these aren’t exactly entry level prices, but would be affordable and attractive enough for people to make the jump from feature phones to smartphones.
TechWeekEurope readers would certainly be interested. A poll in January revealed our readers wanted to try out Ubuntu Mobile OS more than Windows Phone, BlackBerry 10 and Firefox OS, although it trailed the most popular answer, the MeeGo-based Sailfish OS.