We’ll sell you the seat, but you’ll only need the edge. That’s a saying often heard amongst concert and strip club promoters. But it might be an apt tag line for Ubuntu’s newest smartphone, the Edge.
A few days ago the company launched an Indiegogo campaign to the tune of $32 million. That’s six zeros after the 32, and is Indiegogo’s largest crowd funded campaign to date. So far they’ve raised a whopping $5 million in the first 2 days, with much of that coming in the first 24-36 hours. It’s a lofty goal and at this rate not one that will be met with success (despite the aforementioned numbers). That said, Ubuntu is asking Indiegogo backers for $624 (now sold out) to $830. There are also $10,000 and $80,000 funding options, which includes a bundle of phones as well as exclusive access to an assortment of events.
So is the Ubuntu Edge the right phone for you? At $700 it’s on par with Samsung’s Google Edition Galaxy S4 price. However, based on the Canonical’s specs, their phone will crush any of the current players. While they haven’t revealed what processor will go into their handset, they have said that it will ship with 128GB of built-in storage and 4GB of RAM. That’s double any other smartphone on the market today, with most being limited to 2GB of RAM and at best 64GB of storage. The display sits some where in the middle, measuring 4.5-inches with a 1280×720 output. However, Canonical plans to cover the display using sapphire crystal glass, which is often used in high end watches and is virtually scratch proof. Much like HTC and their One handset, they’re not placing too much emphasis on the camera’s pixel count, though they have yet to reveal how they plan to address this (they’re using an 8MP camera, nevertheless). There will also be LTE connectivity, NFC, Bluetooth 4, GPS, an accelerometer, a gyro, a compass, barometer, and a next gen battery made from silicon-anode technology that is said to offer more capacity in less space.
What I find particular attractive about the Ubuntu Edge is that in addition to running the company’s open source software, Ubuntu, you’ll also be able to boot into Android. So app adoption and availability is a non-issue. That said, the Ubuntu Edge can also connect to an external display and transform into a full blown Ubuntu computer. And much like Blackberry’s newest OS, BB10 – there are no physical hardware buttons – you’ll swipe from the bottom, top, left, or right edges of the screen to interact and control the phone. In my experience it’s easy to transition to this type of UI, even if you’ve been using an Android or iPhone for years now.
So the Ubuntu Edge looks to be an amazing phone, with unparalleled hardware. However, their goal is a massive one to say the least and I plan to keep checking back to see how they’re doing.