Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu platform, kicked off what was described as “the biggest ever crowdfunding campaign” intended to enable the development of Ubuntu Edge, its hardware entry into the smartphone space.
The company is aiming to raise “an unprecedented $32 million over 30 days”, to fund a limited production run of 40,000 devices. While it got off to a flying start, raising $3.3 million in the first day after launch, it will be interesting to see if it is able to keep up the pace over a full month.
It said that it set such a high funding goal in order to deliver scale – to reach its target, it will need support from enough buyers to drive device volumes to the point where unit costs can be brought down.
On the first day of the campaign (22 July), supporters could buy an Ubuntu Edge for $600. The company had set a price for subsequent orders of $830, although this has now been replaced by a sliding scale which increases as various pre-order levels are met – until the $830 maximum is again reached.
Delivery is slated for March 2014 – the Ubuntu platform had previously been expected to reach a smartphone later this year.
Canonical provided some details of Ubuntu Edge, although it also noted that these are “subject to change” during the development period.
It will dual-boot into either Ubutu or Android and will become a “fully integrated Ubuntu desktop PC” when docked.
In terms of hardware specifications, the aim is high: it will have a “multi-core CPU and at least 4GB of RAM”; include 128GB of storage; have a 4.5-inch HD display; include 8MP main camera; and offer LTE and WiFi connectivity.
Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu, said: “To make the future of mobile happen we’ll have to smash every record in crowdfunding history. But if there are enough enthusiasts who want the ultimate in performance, storage, screen, battery and bandwidth, Ubuntu Edge will be the catalyst for awesome innovation, and a taste of the future of the phone.”