Ubuntu Edge Sets Crowdfunding Record
August 17, 2013

Ubuntu Edge Campaign On Indiegogo Sets Crowdfunding Record

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

UK software development company Canonical has set a new crowdfunding record: over $10.5 million for a proposed smartphone. With almost 23,000 people having already contributed to the project, the company still has over $20 million to go to meet its goal of $32 million, which would put the phone into production.

The proposed phone, called the Ubuntu Edge, is being made available to those who pledge $695 to the campaign.

“Since we’re working with industry already, and since millions of you have are passionate about the latest and greatest phone technology -- software and hardware -- we’re in a perfect position to change the way innovation comes to the mobile industry,” explained Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth in an online video.

According to the project’s page on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo, the phone will be carved from a single piece of textured metal, have specific edges for optimal grip and a 4.5 inch display covered with sapphire crystal.

The device will run on a version of the Linux-based Ubuntu operating system called Ubuntu Touch. The software has already won an award from CNET as best product at the Mobile World Congress trade show in February.

“We liked its slick, elegant interface that makes use of every side of the screen and puts your content and contacts front and center, minimizing the time spent hopping back to a home screen,” said CNET’s Jason Jenkins.

In addition to breaking the overall crowdfunding record, the company broke the first-day record for crowdfunding, raising $3.5 million in 24 hours.

Canonical’s CEO Jane Silber told The Telegraph that the new record was “mind-blowing” and did not bring up the prospect of the product failing to reach its funding goal before the campaign’s end.

“When we started this campaign three weeks ago, we hoped it would resonate with our community,” she told the British newspaper. “So, to break the world record for a crowdfunding campaign is absolutely mind-blowing. We felt that innovation had substantially slowed down in the mobile industry, so wanted to address this.”

“We’re still astonished by the generosity of our community and will continue to do all we can to make the Ubuntu Edge a reality,” Sibler added.

Should the campaign reach its goal before its August 21 deadline, the phones will go into production and ship by mid-2014, the company said.

Even if it doesn’t reach its final goal, the Ubuntu campaign already has the distinction of being the most highly crowdfunded project to date. The previous project to hold that distinction was for the Pebble smartwatch at just under $10.3 million.

Initially conceived as a watch capable of displaying messages from a smartphone, the campaign to fund it launched on April 11, 2012 and hit its goal within two hours. As part of the campaign, supporters who pledged $115 would receive a Pebble when they became available.

After six days, the campaign had become the most successful in the history of the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, raising $4.7 million with 30 day still left in the campaign. On May 11, 2012, the company making the watch decided to cap the number of preorders.

One year later the watch was released to mixed reviews.