August 22, 2013
Ubuntu Edge Campaign Falls Short Of $32M Goal
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Despite setting some records, the Ubuntu Edge smartphone failed to raise the $32 million needed to make it to production. Last month, UK company Canonical launched an IndieGoGo campaign to raise money for their Android and iPhone alternative smartphone. The campaign quickly earned over $10.5 million - more money than an IndieGoGo campaign had ever raised.
However, by the time the campaign ended, Canonical had managed to raise only $12.8 million, less than half of their target goal. Yet despite the financial upset, the company still says consumers should look for Ubuntu phones in 2014. Founder Mark Shuttlesworth remains upbeat about the ordeal, and is still hailing the campaign as the “biggest ever crowdsourced campaign.”
The Ubuntu Edge was meant to be the one device to replace them all - or a lot of them anyway. More than just a smartphone, the Edge would also double as a desktop PC when docked. It was also meant to dual boot either Ubuntu or Android operating systems, potentially giving it the ability to run a large number of apps and make it compatible with many other devices or accessories.
The Edge also aimed to best Apple and Samsung phones in terms of RAM, four GB to Apple’s one and Samsung’s two, and internal memory, packing 128 GB compared to Apple’s 64 and Samsung’s 16. Canonical also planned to build the Edge with a sapphire glass screen, potentially making it even more scratch resistant than phones from their competitors.
Unlike Apple’s iPhone, the Edge was meant to run on dual-LTE bands, making it compatible all around the world. It was also meant to run on GSM radios as well.
Only those who contributed to the campaign would have received an Edge smartphone initially; Canonical said they had no plans to sell the phone at launch. Contributors also had few options when it came to giving to the campaign.
The cheapest perk came in at $20 and only placed the contributor’s name on their founder’s page. The next perk came in at $30 and was only meant to cover the cost of international shipping should someone who paid full price for the phone forgot to tick the shipping option. For $695 contributors could ensure they received one of the devices. This perk also earned the contributor’s name a spot on the founder’s page. When all was said and done, 5,674 people were willing to pony up nearly $700 for one of these new phones.
For $7,000, contributors could get 10 Edge phones for their company and access to a workshop to help IT managers integrate the phones into their network. Another perk at $10,000 promised contributors one of the first 50 numbered Edge phones to come off the assembly line as well as email access to the designers and engineers as their phone was being built. A total of eight contributors went for this pricey option.
Despite not reaching the halfway point of their campaign, Shuttlesworth believes the fundraising was a success in other ways.
"Our bold campaign to build a visionary new device ultimately fell short, but we can take away so many positives,” he wrote in a campaign update. “Most importantly, the big winner from this campaign is Ubuntu. While we passionately wanted to build the Edge to showcase Ubuntu on phones, the support and attention it received will still be a huge boost as other Ubuntu phones start to arrive in 2014. Thousands of you clearly want to own an Ubuntu phone and believe in our vision of convergence, and rest assured you won’t have much longer to wait.”