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Ubuntu Edge $32 million superphone crowdfunding project launched by Canonical

Having just got off the phone with Mark Shuttleworth in Portland, Oregon from Canonical, we’ve just learnt of the organisation’s plans to launch a true hybrid mobile/desktop experience using the Ubuntu mobile OS, which debuted at both CES and MWC earlier this year.

The team have launched an ambitious £21.5 million project on crowdfunding site Indiegogo to fund production of a first-generation device called the Ubuntu Edge. The Edge aims to offer Enterprise users and enthusiasts of the ecosystem a device which acts as a high powered smartphone that can also connect to a full-sized PC monitor and transform into a full desktop computing experience.

Ubuntu has made its name as just one of many Linux releases which has proven to work on a broad range of PC hardware, from high-end performance towers right down to bare-bone systems.

Ubuntu Edge 1

The specifications behind the Ubuntu Edge are far from complete at this stage, but the technology already under consideration to serve both the mobile and desktop computing experiences includes: 4GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, a multi-core CPU (tbc), a 4.5-inch 720p HD sapphire crystal display for durability, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and 2-megapixel front-facing camera, both geared for low-light photography, 4G LTE connectivity, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, GPS, dual stereo microphones and speakers and new Silicon-anode Lithium-Ion-based battery technology.

On the software side, the Edge will have dual-boot functionality between Android and the Ubuntu phone OS, which allows it to covert to a full desktop computing experience when hooked up to a display via MHL. Shuttleworth also explained that talks have already been undertaken with PayPal to establish a potential transaction system from mobile Ubuntu devices going forward.

Canonical are looking to produce 40,000 Ubuntu Edge units to gauge interest and debut the Ubuntu OS in the market, provided it hits the record-breaking crowdfunding goal that it’s set for itself. If the project is successful and production goes ahead, hardware and software has already been debuted to a number of carriers internationally who’ve signed on to potentially support both the Ubuntu Edge and the Ubuntu OS as a platform going forward, with EE being the first name in the UK related to the project and the likes of Verizon, Deutsche Telekom and China Unicom elsewhere in the world, to name but a few.

Ubuntu Edge 2

For more information about the Ubuntu Edge and the project as a whole, you can check out and even donate to the project on Indiegogo here. With 30 days on the clock, here’s hoping that enough attention goes its way to reach that near £22 million goal. The first 5000 backers who get involved in the next 24 hours will be able to reserve their Ubuntu Edge for just $600 (with free shipping in the US and UK), after which the handset can be nabbed for $830, with an estimated delivery date of May 2014.

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Update 8/12/13: Those of you looking to pick up a single Ubuntu Edge can now make use of the new, more affordable tier on Canonical’s Indiegogo page, which offers up this intrigue new smartphone-cum-computer for $695. Canonical says this cheaper handset price has come as a result of successful negotations with component manufacturers to lower part vost which the company looks like its passing onto potential consumers.


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