Bloomberg LP supports Canonical’s Ubuntu Edge, price reduction follows

by: Kyle WiggersAugust 8, 2013

Ubuntu Edge

Canonical’s Ubuntu Edge croudfunding effort, though in many respects impressive, seems the most paradoxically ill-fated campaign ever: the largest all-or-nothing Indiegogo launch ever attempted, the Edge is somehow smashing records while showing absolutely no sign of reaching its $32 million goal. A limited number of pricy funding tiers probably hurt momentum, as did vague shipping promises. There is some good news for the folks at Canonical, though: Bloomberg LP pledged support yesterday for the Edge at the Enterprise level, equivalent to an $80,000 investment. That may’ve motivated the company to cut unit price to a mere $695 – a significant reduction. Is it already too late for the Edge, though?

First, a little about the Edge. Canonical bills the device as a “superphone,” a combination smartphone and computer. The company says the Ubuntu, the Linux-based operating system the handheld runs, has the flexibility needed to provide both a great smartphone and desktop experience, potentially eliminating the need for a dedicated computer. Ultimately, Canonical’s vision is of a singular device with minimal bulk capable of accomplishing everyday computational tasks. Forget about Jobs’ post-PC era; imagine a world with nothing but phone docks and monitors. It’s like Motorola’s Atrix, but presumably executed better. A lot better.


Not a fan of Ubuntu or desktop functionality shoehorned into a phone form factor? There’s always the other Linux-based mobile OS. See, maturation is important, and Ubuntu’s inchoate mobile OS just isn’t there yet. In acknowledgement of that, Canonical says the Edge would come with a pre-installed Android partition. If the Edge were ever to be made, it’d officially be the most powerful Android device on the market with 4GB of RAM, a fast quad-core processor, and 128 GB of internal storage. Not bad.

If the Edge is so great, why has it failed to reach its funding goal? Pricepoint and availability probably has something to do with it. Initially, the smartphone was only available for purchase at the $600 and up level, and those spots went quickly. Canonical had the sense to offer more Edge units at a discount, but the company now has to sell roughly 33,000 phones to have the slightest chance of reaching its lofty goal. Even if Enterprise bundles sell in earnest, it’s unlikely Canonical can overcome a $20 million shortfall in less than two weeks.

The Edge has so much promise, but may’ve been destined for failure; it’s unclear exactly how serious Canonical is about actually manufacturing a smartphone. Maybe the Edge will launch one day, but for now the project looks dead in the water.

Via Phone Arena, The Droid Guy

  • skaterjosh98

    a $450ish type price for this phone and they probably couldnt make enough of em.

    • Jabhara

      They couldn’t make any of em, the price of one to be produced is just too costly.

    • MasterMuffin

      If they’d give the phones away for the same price/less than what it costs to make it, then the price would be $450. That’s not a very good business model though!

    • V1Dar

      “a $450ish type price for this phone and they probably couldnt make enough of em.”

      For £446 you will get 128 GB storage, 4 GB RAM, the best multi-core processor available when produced, and a GPU that will be able to output full HD to a external screen. This is also a unlocked phone with dual-LTE and GMS, cabale of runing in most networks i US and Europe.

      An unlocked Apple iPhone 5 with 64 GB storage and 1 GB RAM costs £699 from Apple store.

      People are now paying £446 up front in a speed that might let Canonical reach the gold. People wants a high end phone like this.

  • Jason

    I don’t think that 800 is to much for a light powered desktop or a very high powered phone depending on how you look at it, the problem is with the way they are delivering it. Basically the pitch is you can buy this phone which may or may not contain this and this awesome thing we don’t have a prototype yet or a real solid plan for when or how it will be produced…. Would you plop down your business money on that type of pitch? They should have had a working prototype at least. I wish this was going to happen but it won’t with this type of campaign, but it has gained the mobile os lots of free advertising.

    • Cole Raney

      Exactly. That is a lot of money to give if you don’t know for sure if you will get the final product. Hopefully this does end up actually happening somehow or another.

    • End in sight

      Great point about advertising.

    • V1Dar

      “Basically the pitch is you can buy this phone which may or may not contain this and this awesome thing we don’t have a prototype yet or a real solid plan for when or how it will be produced….”

      Only the CPU and the GPU are subject to change. The phone will have 128 GB storage and 4 GB RAM. Mark Shuttleworth said in the video “at least 4 GB RAM”, but I don’t think it will be more than 4 GB RAM. “Best quad core processor could either mean the best 4 cores or 8 cores processor.

      The device will have MHL-port and one 3.5 mm jack plug. The MHL port can deliver full HD and 7.1 surround sound. While you’re are connected throughout the MHL port, the phone will receive power and get charged.

      Because this isn’t produced yet, there is no prototype. Here is a link to a video that shows the physical appearance of the phone:

  • john

    Phew, too much fog here.
    I don’t care how long we have to wait, just give us a working demo or a proof of a concept before asking for funding. I understand if the device is to be run by some SoC unavailable just now, just make a demo on pre-existing SoC and show us what “it could become”.

    • V1Dar

      “I understand if the device is to be run by some SoC unavailable just now, just make a demo on pre-existing SoC and show us what “it could become”.”

      Here is what Ubuntu Touch looks like:

      You can run Android or Ubuntu Touch. When docked to a monitor, keybord and mouse, it can also run a full desktop, not just a scaled up phone OS. With thinclient access you can even run MS Office and business application straight from the phone:

      • john

        Yes, I’ve seen Ubuntu on G Nexus. However, from the look of it and the price point, Ubuntu Edge is going to be a different device. I just feel that G Nexus with Ubuntu and Ubuntu Edge are very different devices. Also, there are many other things you can do when you have the control over the hardware.

      • john

        I mean it’s running linux. The OS packages and functionalities vary vastly based on the actual hardware, especially in embedded systems like smartphones. For all I know, it could run a full bistro Ubuntu, or something like DSL, or maybe even just a terminal.
        Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely excited for this product and I don’t think the price is unreasonable given the spec, but they should really clarify the detailed OS spec on the indiegogo page.
        It says “Desktop Ubuntu” but that can mean many things. I would like to see which packages are supported, and the difference between the mobile version and the desktop.
        This indiegogo campaign is mostly intended for the pre-existing ubuntu users-I mean they are asking for funding for a phone whose main feature is running Ubuntu- and these people like me would like to know these details.

  • ziplock9000

    I come here for Android not Ubuntu..

    • MasterMuffin

      This phone has (would have) Android and Ubuntu… And AA (despite its name) posts some articles about competitors too, deal with it :)

  • Good hardware for sure, but the already mentioned problems might be tough to overcome.