Earlier this year, Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical Ltd showed us the upcoming version of Ubuntu OS which seems to be capable to bring an unified experience on tablets, PCs, and smartphones. Ubuntu Touch was already introduced and it’s available in beta, but it’s not that simple to create a whole new mobile operating system from scratch. That’s why the guys at Canonical are asking for help from the enthusiasts in order to build their first smartphone.
Ubuntu 14.04, which will get of of beta next spring, will come with different interfaces depending on the terminal it’s running on. The work modes will be optimized for one handed, two handed, and keyboard and mouse use, but the software core will be unique and capable to provide simple migration between the terminals and allowing the user to add various peripherals and screens. On the other hand, the developers will be able to write one app capable of adapting to the interface of the platform it runs on.
But the idea of developing a completely opened system, unlike Android which includes Google proprietary applications or services, is not popular among the OEMs or carriers. Canonical doesn’t even think of terminals with locked bootloaders running Ubuntu OS, therefore, the company has decided to create its own smartphone: the Ubuntu Edge.
The Ubuntu Edge project has been submitted to Indiegogo, as Canonical wants to raise founds of $ 32 million, required to kick off the production of the terminal. The smartphone will have a price of $ 850, but those of you who decide to donate on Indiegogo will have a discount of $ 250, so you will be able to get your hands on it for only $ 600. The Ubuntu Edge project seems to be an ambitious one, as Canonical aims to raise $ 32 million over the next 30 days. I see a problem here, because the smartphone will only hit the market in May 2014, and I don’t see a lot of you rushing in to support a smartphone that will only see the light of day in 8 months.
But is the entire Ubuntu Edge project worth $ 32 million? First of all, the smartphone’s body will be mate entirely of metal, with a classy design that will definitely make it a worthy competitor for the best-looking smartphone award. Based on a unknown multi-core processor (Canonical will most likely choose one of the processing solutions that are yet to be unveiled by Qualcomm, Nvidia, or Samsung), Ubuntu Edge will sport an impressive 4 GB of RAM and not less than 125 GB of internal storage, which are meant to transform it into a complete Ubuntu machine once a keyboard, a mouse, and a monitor are connected.
The Ubuntu Edge smartphone will come with a 4.5-inch display and probably HD resolution, covered with a sapphire layer meant to protect it against scratches. On the Ubuntu Edge technical specifications list you will also find 8 and 2 megapixel sensors mounted on the back and in the front, respectively, two stereo speakers, LTE connectivity, Wi-Fi 802.11n dual-band, MHL out, and all the sensors worthy of a modern smartphone like GPS, accelerometer, gyro, magnetometer and barometer.
What’s interesting about the Ubuntu Edge is that its battery will use silicon-anode technology, promising an energetic density that is superior to the standard Li-Ion batteries.
There’s no doubt that Ubuntu Edge is an extremely interesting smartphone. Its hardware platform and design are promising, while the idea of running a completely open operating system will definitely attract the advanced users. Moreover, Ubuntu Edge will be capable of dual-boot, running both Ubuntu and Android.
Canonical’s goal of raising $ 32 million for the Ubuntu Edge in just 30 days is one of the boldest I’ve ever heard of, if not the boldest. In case the Indiegogo found raising fails, Canonical said that it will implement Ubuntu Touch on the existent smartphones, while ditching the idea of creating their own smartphone.