Canonical Seeks $32 Million in Crowdfunding for Linux Phone

Linux vendor looks to community to fund next generation superphone.

Ubuntu Linux vendor Canonical is taking a novel approach to getting a new type of superphone to market. Instead of bankrolling production on its own, Canonical is reaching out to its community via crowdfunding site Indiegogo, to raise $32 million in order to build 40,000 Ubuntu Edge devices.

The campaign will last 30-days and backers that contribute $600 today and $830 any day thereafter, will receive a new Ubuntu Edge phone. The Ubuntu Edge will be a dual-boot device with both Android and Ubuntu on it. The device will also be loaded with 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of RAM. The device will also include a pure Saphire Crystal screen that will provide more resilience than what most phones provide today.

Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, said during a conference call that his company is well positioned to engage with the community. After all, that's how Ubuntu Linux is built.

"Crowdfunding connects innovators with early adopters," Shuttleworth said.

Shuttleworth explained that his company will be underwriting the design validation and if the Indiegogo campaign is greenlit, Canonical will break even on the cost of building the phone.

Canonical is already involved in multiple mobile efforts, including Ubuntu for Android and the Ubuntu Phone. The new Ubuntu Edge effort is different than those efforts in that it is community backed and will deliver next generation hardware that community backers are interested in.

Shuttleworth noted that if the 30-day Indiegogo campaign isn't successful, the Ubuntu Edge phone won't be built. That said, he stressed the effort is an exercise in working with the phone industry to see if it can connect to an early adopter crowd.

"This will be an interesting 30-day process," Shuttleworth said. "If this is successful we think it will completely change the way industry builds innovation and [it will] take its cue from early adopters of technology in much more direct fashion than it does today."

Here is the link for the Indiegogo campaign for Ubuntu Edge.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Datamation and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.




Tags: Linux, smartphone, Canonical


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