Canonical raises $3.4M (so far) in crowdfunding for Ubuntu Edge smartphone
Canonical, the firm behind the Linux-based Ubuntu operating system, is seeking to raise $32 million via crowdfunding site Indiegogo to launch a smartphone that will dual-boot both Ubuntu and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android.
Canonical plans to produce 40,000 Ubuntu Edge smartphones, slated to feature a 4.5-inch sapphire crystal display, support for dual-LTE, dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4 and Near Field Communications, as well as features like GPS, accelerometer, gyro, proximity sensor, compass and barometer. "The Ubuntu Edge is an exclusive production run, available only through Indiegogo," Canonical said. "All of the funding we receive goes directly towards producing the device for expected delivery in May 2014."
As of this writing, the Canonical campaign has raised close to $3.4 million, with 30 days remaining. More than 5,000 contributors claimed a one-day exclusive package offering the Ubuntu Edge for an introductory price of $600. Moving forward, contributors must donate $830 to receive the device.
Ubuntu for phones allows users to navigate through the platform by swiping from one side of their screen to another: swiping from the left brings up a list of favorite apps, swiping from the right navigates to the most recently used app and swiping from the bottom brings up each app's menu.
"As well as being a bonus for app developers and anyone with a big Android app collection, including Android on the phone means we're able to offer full convergence at launch," Canonical said. "On day one, you'll be able to launch the Ubuntu desktop from within Android using our existing Ubuntu for Android app. That integration is fully functional today... Then shortly after launch we'll push out a free software update that adds this desktop integration to Ubuntu mobile as well. That's the real goal we're working towards. At that point you'll have a leading-edge smartphone that runs Ubuntu and Android, both of which can also run a fully integrated Ubuntu desktop OS."
The first Ubuntu devices are expected to reach retail in October. Earlier this month, Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) joined the Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group, a consortium of mobile operators participating in technology discussions around the OS. The group allows operators to shape Ubuntu's mobile strategy: Members receive advance confidential briefings and supply feedback, and they are also offered the chance to become a launch partner, gaining the right to ship Ubuntu devices in the markets they serve. Verizon Wireless is the first U.S. operator to join the alliance, whose 10-member ranks also include China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, EE and SK Telecom.
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