The Ubuntu Edge is a great idea, but Canonical’s Indiegogo goal is monstrous. That $32 million target is a big ask of consumers, and while many jumped on board early, the project has all but shorted out. Short of a miracle, crowdfunding the Ubuntu Edge just isn’t going to happen.

Initial support was phenomenal, with about 10% of their goal being raised in the first 24 hours. Early success like that can always be attributed to the core support of your goal or platform. Continued success is only achieved by mass appeal, and it seems the Ubuntu phone just doesn’t have that.

At this point, the project has raised just over $7.5 million. With 22 days to go, Canonical needs just over $24.4 million. That’s about $1.1 million a day to meet the goal, and with the flow of backers slowly dwindling, it doesn’t seem likely we’ll see an Ubuntu phone crowdfunded.

Let’s not damn Canonical, though. The Edge is a really great concept, and they deserve credit for going full steam at this via Indiegogo. Even though $32 million is a huge goal, and probably has a lot to do with why support has waned, it was refreshing to see a company that could easily source capital offering it to us first. If anything can be said of Ubuntu at this juncture, it’s that even in attempting to bring a device to market, they embraced the open source spirit that got them there.

  • MasterMuffin

    Did they ever specify why they need so much money? For example 10 million isn’t enough because of…

    • Nate Swanner

      No, but it would have been nice to see some sort of simplified business plan with such a lofty goal. At least tell me why you need so much! If $5 million went to lunch for the team, just tell me!

    • Anthony Vito

      The goal is to produce 40,000 phones for the backers of project. That is actually a pretty low mass-production number. Any lower, say 13,000 ( ~10 million dollars ) and the per-unit cost goes up too much. This funding is not to “start a product”. Even if successful the phone will never be available for sale. This funding is to produce phones for people that wanted them enough to put up the money for it.

      • V1Dar

        And the phone is cheap compared to Iphone 5 with lower specs.

        An Apple iPhone 5 with 64 GB costs $850. Max price for Ubuntu Edge with 128 GB is $830. Apart from that Ubuntu Edge will have the best multi-core processor available when produced, satire glass, and at least 4 GB RAM.

        • cretinick

          Or Ubuntu Mobile is heavy as hell, or they should make the Edge more modest…

          Something with the Nexus 4 specs, with SD card, should run very well, if the OS is done right.

          It is too much money for something that can be just vapor…

          • V1Dar

            Ubuntu Touch runs very well on Nexus 4.

            The point with this campaign i to show vendors that you can produce and sell high end phones with Ubuntu. The point is not for Canonical to start producing mobile phones.

            “It is too much money for something that can be just vapor…”

            It is not vapor. If you have thinclient access at work, you can run Windows applications such as MS Office straight from the Ubuntu desktop, and run it like a native application.


          • Nick

            Don’t forget that it is meant to run a full Desktop OS as well!

      • MasterMuffin

        Ookkay, fair enough

  • I don’t quite understand why they chose the “all or nothing” fixed funding with such an ambitious amount (an intentional planned fail like the death star project?), where they could have chosen to receive funds even if the goal is not reached

    • Nate Swanner

      Neither do I.

    • Blake Loring

      Probably because they felt that without that level of funding they could not guarantee that they would be able to create the product.

      If they chose to use crowd funding the boost funding from other sources then there is the potential that they could end up not being able to fulfil if anything went wrong.

    • V1Dar

      They need to produce at least 40 000 units, if not the price per unit goes up. $32 million is the bare minimum.

      • mrflipnote

        I don’t think you got the point. Basically, he’s asking why Canonical would chose for a set time frame in which the funding has to be reached, while, in stead, they could’ve waited until they reached their goal, be it three months in.

      • If it’s merely a question of 40,000 units, then I can so see that some manufacturer is gonna just pick the idea up and just do it – produce and done. There are so many smartphone manufacturers with these abilities and the development capability, just counting the ones I know is already uncountable. I don’t know if you know the Fairphone, they documented their whole process during their funding campaign, prove you don’t need 40,000 units if you talk to the right manufacturing partners.

        • darkNiGHTS

          Except the fairphone is extremely overpriced. My current phone has almost the exact same specs, the Lenovo A820, and it was $125 brand new with no promotional sale. The fairphone is $400. So seems they got a pretty crappy deal on manufacturing.

    • mrflipnote

      A crowdfunding project has a set time frame for the same reason you get a time frame for any test on school. Or, at least, you could compare the two.

      Reaching the end of the time frame during tests, my teachers would always say: “If you still don’t know it right now, you won’t know it in half an hour.”

      The same could be said for this crowdfunding: “If you don’t truly want it right now (and are, thereby, willing to pledge), you won’t in three months.”

      Furthermore, the Edge campaign is set up to put the demand of the phone to the test. I don’t think Canonical wants people having a say in the product, who were more or less like “Meh, I might buy it one day,” simply because those are not the true fanatics, and might therefore not care less about the future of Ubuntu Phone.

      • hmmmm well said, now I’m leaning towards the awesomest viral marketing campaign? market demand trial / demonstration? Now they can actually put out a retail phone for five hundred bucks and see sales shoot through the roof and major retailers lining up, with this as proof of demand. Or am I thinking too much?

        • mrflipnote

          The problem is that, in order to produce the phones in the first place, they need hella lot of money. They could’ve asked for a loan at a bank, but they chose not to. Here’s why.

          Canonical CEO Jane Silber on CNBC:
          “This is a different kind of project. The point here isn’t just to raise money it’s also to demonstrate the need for innovation and the disruption that technology needs. Right now the phone industry is incentivised to be relatively risk-averse. When you’re trying to ship 10 or 20 or 50 million devices there’s a natural incentive to not try new things.

          “We want to shake that up. We think that the ability to have a converged device, that is both a phone and PC, will appeal to tech enthusiasts.”

          (source: http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2013/07/jane-silber-cnbc-ubuntu-edge-video)

  • great news! Enough of Shuttleworth bullshit.

    • Robert

      Why the hate?

      • It is because of his previous claims on how Ubuntu is ready to run your phone. If it is ready why using Android for phone OS? That was an intentional false claim to misguide the Ubuntu community.

        • Seth Forbus

          The phone dualboots. IT has android and Ubuntu touch.

          • Robert

            I was going to say it dual boots. Even now without the edge you can install and boot into Ubuntu OS if you wanted to on your Android device. Although i’m not sure if thats model limited.

          • What I read and understood made me think that this device boots in Android as a phone and in Ubuntu when docked for desktop use.

          • Seth Forbus

            It boots android and Ubuntu touch. You can be in either system and dock it for desktop use.

          • V1Dar

            If you work in a medium or large sized company, that suports thin clients, you can use this device to run Windows applications like MS Office.


            Here is a link about the quality of the phone:


            It is a expensive phone, almost as expensive as iPhone 5 with 64 GB. No wonder why people don’t jump right into it, but have to wait to see if they can afford it.

          • Anthony Vito

            There is some confusion on this topic because there are two distinct methods of using Ubuntu on a phone. There’s Ubuntu for Android. http://www.ubuntu.com/phone/ubuntu-for-android/features and there is Ubuntu Touch. http://www.ubuntu.com/phone The former using the android kernel and allows simultaneous running of android and ubuntu apps. The later is ubuntu’s own kernel, and does not support android apps.

          • That is my understanding. Why doesnt this phone boot in Ubuntu Touch, when used as a mobile handset, I ask again.

          • b1naryc0de

            This phone is dual boot. Which means it can be boot in either Android or Ubuntu Phone OS, when used as a mobile handset. And when docked it will become Ubuntu Desktop.

  • inkflow

    The only thing stopping this project from success is price. At $600 they would have already met their goal. At about $800 the project halts. This phenomenon was clearly demonstrated after they offered extra perks at reduced prices.

    • Anthony Vito

      I suspect at $600 per unit they would need to raise _at least_ 64 million to raise the production run to ~100,000 to decrease per-unit costs from $800 to $600.

      • inkflow

        I agree that for $600 they will probably have sell much more phones in order to be economical. Sadly they currently sell only minor number of phones and things can’t go worse.

        • V1Dar

          It is normal that things slows down in the middle of a campaign.

          80% of the money in crowd founding comes from the first and last 20%.

    • V1Dar

      “The only thing stopping this project from success is price.”

      No. There is one factor more. If more people know about the project, there is more people willing to pay for a desktop computer you can put in a pocket. We don’t need to lower the price. The only thing we need is that more people know about the projcet.

      • inkflow

        I don’t know about the rest of the world, but here in Israel the Edge received exposure even from the main stream media.

        • V1Dar

          Yes, but many people will hold back until the last moment.

      • Lisandro O Oocks

        I have to say that canonical can not break the law of supply and demand. They don’t have the brand to do so.
        But it’s true, they should have had the 4 or so enterprise backers locked up early, and right now they could be closer to the goal. In any way I don’t feel this is the way to get in the market. History will tell who’s right.

  • Chalin

    This is sad :( would have being an awesome phone

  • Mvrcel Lgt

    I said it before and will say it again. Great phone, great concept, but it’s a shout out to some minor group, which, by now, did support! So what’s left now? There’s not much left to save the kickstarter. A small advertisement-campaign could help to maybe reach half of the 32.000.000. I would have the money to buy an edge when they would start producing it…but not in like 30 days. And I guess Im not the only person locked by a contract, waiting for it to end so to jump on a new phone (off contract for sure, I sell phones bought with contract).
    It is the right thing, the right time, and I think there are loads more people willing to help get it done…but with what money?

    • Anthony Vito

      “when they would start producing” – I think this part is very confusing. The phone is never going to be “produced” in the traditional sense. If you support the campaign and it is successful, you will get a phone. That’s it… done. No other phones exactly like it will be made.

      I hear you on the contract thing though. It is asking a lot of people to put up $800 bucks now for a phone. People’s phone budget is usually consumed with per-month rip-off payments. No room for a shiny subsidized device.

  • the should have partnered with manufacturers like Samsung, Huawei etc. or some elite investors.
    Instead they went to crowd-sourcing for saving interest expenditure.

    • APai

      no going with a company like samsung for finance, would have meant compromises on a number of decisions.

      whereas handing over a finished spec to samsung for manufacturing would have beebe n an altogether different thing.

      • and not going with them is product not getting enough finance to get started.

        • APai

          yeah, true. looks like they did not plan this one adequately. unless mark shuttleworth chips in with his own funds, this one possibly might lose its way.

          as for samsung ? this one would be chump change – but it would also mean this will be samsung’s baby, possibly one more way to get out on their own.
          But I do not see samsung helping someone to attack their own line, who would do that , as in fund a possible adversary ?

  • APai

    also 32 million is a LOT for kickstarter project ? any idea whats the highest they raised through kickstarter ?

    • Jon Langevin

      Indiegogo isn’t Kickstarter, it’s just a similar service.

      • aenews

        10 million

  • Luka Mlinar

    32 mill. I could have told them they would never get that much. Personally I’m surprised they got 7,5 mill so far.

  • Nicholas Podges

    you are all forgetting that Mark Shuttleworth can afford to foot the entire bill and will likely cover the balance before this campaign ends.

    • haha true true, all you need is ONE backer to put in the balance at the last second to make this the most incredible story of all crowdfunding time… more suspense, more excitement, more twists than “Who shot J.R”, that’s why it’s called EDGE ;)

    • kimLJT

      this is also what I’ve thought upon reading the headline. if it won’t reach the goal I know that someone will fulfill it :) so the device will still likely be produced on the targeted amount :D.

  • V1Dar

    “Short of a miracle, crowdfunding the Ubuntu Edge just isn’t going to happen. – See more at: http://www.androidauthority.com/ubuntu-edge-indiegogo-not-going-well-251340/#sthash.aMqPmMdw.dpuf

    Canoncial don’t kneed a miracle. It only needs a normal progress for crowd founding. Just look at graphs for how crowd founding in general goes:



    Both these graphs shows that the campaign for Ubuntu Edge has a good chance to succeed.

  • najiy91

    what happens to the earlier crowd fund if the project fails?

    • You will get the full refund

  • $700 for a super, future proof spec Android Phone (even if i leave convergence and ubuntu touch)! That was enough for me to pledge! I think price is certainly one of the major driving factor for this campaign. To raise 32 million, support has to come from general public apart from elite tech crowd and core ubuntu group. For them 4GB RAM with 120 GB of internal storage, gorgeous looking phone running on Android OS, priced at $600 or $700 was enough to purchase the device. $800 is bit too steep for them! (given the fact that general public do not care about ubuntu touch and convergence). Also $1400 pledge for two Ubuntu Device can really fill in the gap at later stages. A week before the the funding deadline would be interesting to see!