Product Launch by Andrew Kameka on Monday July 22, 2013.
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Canonical has already released support for Android and introduced a gesture-heavy operating system, but now the software company behind Ubuntu wants to get directly involved with hardware by building the Ubuntu Edge phone and computer hybrid to run the software it creates. Canonical has launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise the money to make its dream phone a reality.
Ubuntu is already expected to arrive on phones in 2014, but Canonical wants to attract more hardware partners and prove that there is a market for its software. That market is likely to be incredibly small given the dominance of Android and Apple iOS. Despite the challenge, Canonical is betting that early adopters will crowdfund the project to generate $32 million in 30 days. If successful, the Ubuntu Edge would be developed and sold to jumpstart Ubuntu's mobile OS.
The Ubuntu Edge would be made from metal and have a 4.5-inch display with sapphire crystal protection and 1280x720 resolution. The phone is still in the concept stage and won't be built unless the process is successful. Other specifications are not finalized because things could change between now and the start of the building process, but Canonical claims the Ubuntu Edge will have:
- 4GB of RAM minimum and a multicore processor
- 128GB of internal storage
- Silicon-anode technology to increase battery life
- Dual LTE antennas and dual-band Wi-Fi
- Dual-boot into Ubuntu or Android
- Support for dock connector that launches desktop mode through HDMI
- 124 x 64 x 9 mm (4.9 x 2.5 x 0.35 in)
Canonical is aiming big with its project, but there's a long line of crowdfunded efforts in which lofty goals met hard falls. The software company says it is partnering with established manufacturers and doing a limited reach the people likely to be most interested in the Ubuntu Edge. It's already reached $1 million of its $32 million goal with 30 days left. We'll soon learn if there are enough people willing to spend $600 to $830 to perhaps get a powerful smartphone that might be released in May 2014.
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.