Canonical, which leads the development of Ubuntu has finally taken its mobile OS one step further. In what is probably one of the most ambitious crowd funding projects ever the company is looking to raise $32 million on Indiegogo within 31 days. It is a fixed funding campaign so only if it gets the whole amount will it be funded.
The company is hoping to raise the full amount from fans and early technology adopters and has crossed the $3 million mark in less than a day since the campaign began. For Canonical to succeed it needs to raise more than $1 million a day on an average and needs around 40,000 backers. On the first day, there is a special offer of $600 (+ $30 if you’re outside US/UK), which gets raised to $830 after that. These backers will receive the phone when it launches.
Unfortunately you won’t be seeing the phone until May 2014. But if the specification of the phone, called Ubuntu Edge, is anything to go by, it is a beast by present day standards. Competing device makers could get there by then.
The Ubuntu Edge is stated to be smartphone and desktop PC in one device. Canonical is referring to the phone as the Formula One of smartphones.
The Ubuntu Edge will have a dual-boot into Ubuntu phone OS and Android, since both are based on the same kernel one won’t have to restart or go into virtualization to use the other OS. The phone can also be converted into a fully integrated Ubuntu desktop PC. The smartphone itself will be a 4.5-inch 720p (HD) smartphone running a quad-core processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128 GB of internal storage, something unheard of in present day smartphones. The display will be a sapphire crystal one. The smartphone will also be a Dual-LTE one.
Canonical showcased the Ubuntu OS at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in January this year and people who saw it were pretty impressed. They also later released a touch preview for the Nexus devices for people to get their hands on.
So Why Should Developers Be Excited
Apart from being built on top of Ubuntu, which many developers love, the Ubuntu OS will offer various features in a smartphone OS for the first time.
Firstly, it will have Ubuntu and Android on the same mobile device and since they run on the same kernel, there would be no need to reboot or run any emulation or virtualization.
When the device is connected to a desktop monitor, it features a standard Ubuntu Desktop interface, so you would not need a separate CPU.
The OS will be able to run current standard Ubuntu Desktop applications, like Firefox, Thunderbird and VLC. It will also be able to run Android applications on the desktop.
The OS will also be able to run apps written on multiple platforms including HTML5. Any web property can also be quickly adapted to run as a web app, with its own icon and access to system services. Richer applications can use the QML toolkit for added features. Using the Ubuntu SDK developers can write and upload a single native application that has desktop, tablet and phone interfaces.
There will also be a feature which will allow you to make and receive calls and SMSs directly from the desktop (like Mobitexter).
If you are interested in backing the Indiegogo campaign of Ubuntu Edge head here. At the time of writing the $600 option has been sold out and one can back it with the $830 option.