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Ubuntu Edge (indiegogo.com)
1188 points by ergo14 1102 days ago | hide | past | web | 378 comments | favorite

The $32 million fundraising goal might seem overly ambitious, but it's actually more realistic than it appears at first glance, because at $600+ per unit the campaign needs only around 50,000 buyers worldwide to be successful -- or a bit over 2% of Ubuntu's enthusiastic user base, which was estimated to be greater than 20 million in 2011.[1]

PS. I just ordered one, as I LOVE the idea of an unlocked phone designed and built from the ground up by Canonical specifically for Ubuntu users, with minimal interference from wireless carriers.


Update: When I posted this comment, the total raised was under $50,000. Less than an hour later, it had risen to over half a million dollars.


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_(operating_system)#Inst...

I've ordered one too, because I really like the sound of a Phone OS based on Ubuntu, not controlled by the likes of Google and Apple, and with a UI based on HTML. The proposed UI and demo apps look nice, I like the idea of losing the chrome as well:


It's going up quite fast, from 167k to 198k as I finish writing this, but I'm not sure if they'll make their target, just because the phone and OS are such an unknown quantity. I hope they will - and if Pebble can raise $10 Million, then they do have a chance, even if it is a slim one.

The UI is not based on HTML, it's QML. It's a GUI declaration language similar to XAML from MS. The whole QML described UI is an accelerated OpenGL scene backed by Qt technology so the performance should be much higher than that of HTML5.

HTML5 is also supported. From http://developer.ubuntu.com/get-started/:

"Native or HTML5, your choice

We recognize HTML5 as a core Internet technology often used to develop cross-platform apps. As such, the Ubuntu toolkit offers the flexibility to support HTML5 too. It’s your choice to decide whether you want to go native with QML and the best Ubuntu integration or HTML5 and less integration via Unity webapps."

When I last read about Ubuntu Phone, they were offering two choices for UI, QML, and HTML widgets, but perhaps QML is their preferred option? If so that's a shame but not a huge issue for me. All these XML markup languages for views (xib, XAML, QML) offer very little over html IMHO and end up tying you in to one set of tools provided by the vendor. I'd rather they just focussed on improving the OpenGL backed performance of webkit animations to bring it up to scratch instead.

QML isn't XML-based. It's synxtax is compatible with ECMAScript and it allows embedding ECMAScript expressions and code (but it's style is generally declarative with procedural code discouraged).

And it has a lot to offer over HTML. It has a better layout model for one, sane integration of concepts like animated property transitions and behaviors, makes it far easier to put custom objects backed by native code into the scene, and many other advantages. A lot of these things aren't possible declaratively in HTML, and HTML isn't set up to be extensible enough as a language so you could make up for it yourself. Yes, you can jam everything into a HTML document somehow, but that doesn't mean it's always a pleasant way to go, or that HTML is the peak of UI technology.

QML isn't XML-based.

Thanks for the correction, I was thinking of xib, XAML, Activities etc. haven't used QML, though I have used Qt, a while ago now. One thing I do think HTML got right is to separate content and code, so putting my UI markup into a js-like format which potentially mixes in code is even less appealing :)

Yes, you can jam everything into a HTML document somehow, but that doesn't mean it's always a pleasant way to go, or that HTML is the peak of UI technology.

While there's a lot wrong with HTML, and I agree there's much to be improved in its layout model, learning and keeping in our head a new layout model just to place some buttons and UI controls on a page every time we switch platforms is painful, and leads to fragmentation and lock-in where people choose a platform and stick with it, because they've had to invest so much time learning those platform specific tools. I think that's a shame and it's not a pain I look forward to when moving platforms. Depends on your focus I suppose - if you plan on using one platform exclusively or using Qt everywhere, it won't bother you.

From my perspective doing work for clients on content-heavy apps, often with web integration, there's an awful lot of content already in html, it provides good control over text styling (typically far better than native equivalents), and it means content is portable between the web and apps, so for those pragmatic reasons I find HTML more appealing for presenting content, even for many UI controls.

For example if I have an Android app, an iOS app, and an Ubuntu Phone app, I have 3 different platforms to manage, each with their idiosyncrasies, differing features, layout language, and blessed platform language, and then I have a load of content which I have to let users generate, manage and get into apps on each platform, using web tools to do so is significantly less painful.

It's not a huge deal as you can obviously use webviews and frame html content with native controls for each platform, but I wish Ubuntu had taken a step towards the web instead with the phones rather than focussing on desktop technologies. I see why they'd want to tie it in with what they're doing on the desktop though. Sorry for the thread hijack!

Qt just released 5.1, which has prelimiary ios and Android support. By the end of the year, you will be able to write a Qt application, and use a QML ui. You can even use one single UI across all devices, where the UI dynamically adds or substracts elements depending on screen size. IE, responsive design for applications.

It is pretty close to write once, run anywhere. The only downside is if your app is the first qt app installed on an ios / android device, it forces a download of the shared libraries which are quite large. You also have to build the applications against individual platforms, since you are using C++, and the finished binary is a native application that uses the qt libraries to launch the qml engine and v8 for the javascript parts.

One experiment I am anxious to see come to fruition in the qt space is the KDE project to get qml apps running in the browser : https://projects.kde.org/projects/playground/www/qmlweb. Since QML is inherently javascript, a web app could only use javascript / qml to create a restrcited sandbox (or nacl / other browser equivalent for the c++ parts) and the entirety of qtquick is designed around high latency elements, so it can support network transport.

On iOS at least dynamic libraries are not allowed outside those Apple provides, so I'm not sure how that would work. I imagine they'll have to compile in the Qt runtime on iOS at least. I'll be interested to see their efforts in this space, but Qt everywhere is not particularly attractive to me, nor is working in C++ or javascript with qml.

I do wish these platforms were a little more agnostic to the technology used in their API, and had simple C bindings anyone could write glue code for to use their favourite language. Learning yet another markup language and using C++ in order to create apps doesn't really appeal. Whatever the platform insists on as glue is what we'll have to use though, as usual. Personally I'm going to look into the webapp support in Ubuntu Phone to see if it supports local web apps, and hope that I can use that glue to get at any device state that I need to access.

As to qml in the browser, I'd really rather have web apps on the desktop than start writing websites in qml, I'd be very surprised if that catches on.

> The only downside is if your app is the first qt app installed on an ios / android device, it forces a download of the shared libraries which are quite large.

How does this get around sandboxing on iOS? My fuzzy understanding is that components would need to be downloaded for each app independently. And is there a reason those shared libraries can't be bundled?

No idea, never tried it. A cursory browsing of qt documentation suggests it can't, and it also can't use qtquick2, which is where qml becomes really useful (which is also when it starts using v8).

That's incorrect. QML has used v8 since its initial appearance in Qt4. In fact, it will move away from v8 in Qt 5.2 is the current plan.


According to the qt blog, only qtquick2 depends on v8.

You're right, sorry - replacing JavaScriptCore with v8 indeed only happened for Qt 5. However, v8 is indeed on the way out again, as mentioned: http://blog.qt.digia.com/blog/2013/04/15/evolution-of-the-qm...

I recently made a toy project with QML. It was my first Qt experience and I think I'll be using QML for just about any GUI I want to create in the future, it's a really clean and nice way of working.

Well, using Angular.js in a good way would actualy make possible to have the same flexibility without adding any code to the view layer.

That said, it is possible but still not that easy to do. Native solution will probably be faster, more energy efficient and easier to use.

( >similar to XAML from MS...< Cough; XUL!)

> based on Ubuntu, not controlled by the likes of Google and Apple, and with a UI based on HTML

If you don't insist on the "Ubuntu" part, FirefoxOS offers everything you want, and is available on various devices right now:


How does this hardware compare to FirefoxOS' hardware offerings?

This hardware looks like it blows everything else out of the water. So far, Firefox OS hardware offerings have been on the low-end.

This is a bit counter-intuitive, I think, because although Ubuntu's mission is "for the people", they target high-end smartphones instead of low-end smartphones. So in relatively poor countries those Ubuntu phone won't spread that much, while FirefoxOS seems to be spreading there quite fast.

That's a good point, and I'm sure Canonical will do that in the future, too, but then they'll only be able to tout Ubuntu Touch's features and apps, not of the "full Ubuntu". The full Ubuntu needs the kind of hardware the Edge will have to get decent performance when used in PC mode. If they made it low-end, they could only use Ubuntu Touch in there, and that suffers from the same problem as FF OS - no native apps, just web apps.

After they build this "halo" device, they will be able to get some apps for Ubuntu Touch, and then build low-end phones. Ubuntu Edge is for people who want both a smartphone and a "PC", all in one (if you already have an extra monitor).

> suffers from the same problem as FF OS - no native apps, just web apps

In my opinion, this is one of the main features of FirefoxOS: Every app has to build on open (web) standards. No vendor lock-in, no trying to impose proprietary native APIs on the app developers.

The market would be a lot more efficient of all smartphone OS were forced to push their great features by improving and extending open standards instead of locking all interesting stuff into their proprietary so-called "native" [1] APIs.

[1] For instance, is WebGL any less "native" than other 3D APIs just because it is accessible from the JavaScript VM instead of say, some Java VM?

> No vendor lock-in, no trying to impose proprietary native APIs on the app developers.

I don't think that it's fair to characterize an OS built on Free Software as "vendor lock-in", or as the Ubuntu Touch API and implementation (which is Free Software) as a "proprietary native API".

I love the Linux Free Software ecosystem. There are multiple vendors (eg. Debian, Red Hat, Suse) and they all support multiple "proprietary native APIs" that happen to all be the same. My Qt application written on Ubuntu will run on Suse, as will my GTK one, as will my wxWidgets one. IMHO the breadth and quality available in distribution repositories far surpasses what is available in (say) Android's app store, or available in HTML5 "apps" today. Sure - there is plenty of bad software there, too. But there's good Free Software available for practically every task. Not so for the current phone app ecosystems.

Ubuntu may be the first to bring this ecosystem to the smartphone, but it doesn't necessarily have to be the only vendor for this ecosystem in the long run.

Ubuntu is bringing the Free Software ecosystem to the smartphone, and it's all under licensing that protects the FSF's four freedoms [edit: I suppose it's not all GPL, but what new code is being written is. That's as close as we can reasonably get, I think]. That's good enough for me. No proprietary APIs or lock-ins here. Even HTML5 apps don't compare, since they are typically not Affero GPL licenced.

Although binary-only proprietary apps will be permitted, AIUI, they are permitted in every other ecosystem as well. But I'll be cheering on the Free Software apps, and Ubuntu's smartphone seems to be the best way for them to become the norm (there are some great Free Software apps available on Android, but they are not the norm).

innovations trickle down to "the people". innovations requires a lot of sunk cost.

elon musk's vision is electric cars for everyone but decided to make the high end car first. Now he is slowing moving to mass market.

I'm salivating over the hardware specs, but you have to consider that 1 year from now they won't seem as spectacular.

From the page I can conclude the hardware is non-existent (although possible). For now it is purely a wishlist of what they 'want' to offer. Hardware is actually also a large part of the development time of a phone and software, like drivers need to be optimized for the experience. Even if they have used development boards or reference designs for the current bring-up, it would still need hardware verification and a lengthy quality assurance process. Especially related to a phone device, this means certification. I wish them a lot of luck... but it would not amaze me if it results in a vaporware project.

any info on getting a shell/root/native code?

One of the things that's interesting about the phone industry is that in general there's no equivalent of the special tech-focused PC platforms. So Ubuntu Edge is a way to unlock both a new software platform (Ubuntu phone) but also to bring forward a set of hardware technologies that won't be in the mainstream for a while.

It's a really high target caused by how expensive these platforms are to manufacture. But if we can get enough interest it will allow us to bring a great new phone to market!

ps I work for Canonical so should be considered a bit biased ;-)

Thanks for doing this campaign! It takes courage to post a goal like that.

I'd much rather give you $600 than pay AT&T and others for the "privilege" of an unlocked phone. I'm happy to have gotten my pledge in and look forward to many exciting updates :)

You're not paying that much for the "privilege" of an unlocked phone, it's more when you pay any less than that you're sharing thew phone cost with AT&T and locking you into the network is their side of the bargain.

>but also to bring forward a set of hardware technologies that won't be in the mainstream for a while.

Can you elaborate on this? I'm not seeing anything on the Indiegogo page that isn't more or less on track to be available in phones next year, except for perhaps the sapphire.

Do you think I'll be able to get one of these phones after the campaign is done? I can't do $630 right now (IndieGogo is debit-immediately, rather than Kickstarter's debit-when-successful).

Canonical is still working with networks and carriers to provide some mid-range as well as high-end smartphones. These will be mass produced and should be cheaper.

The Indiegogo campaign is just a sideline, not the core strategy.

They seem to aim for the high end, but on the other hand it seems still difficult to provide all-around desktop platform without Intel/AMD instruction set.

But if it is ARM and it still works, then it would still be a nice office platform.

Keep on mind alot of this enthusiastic userbase is in the third world or too young to afford it.

i have to wonder how many ubuntu users are using ubuntu simply for the cost of owning it ($0). If that group is high, which i think it is, it may imply that a lot of those same users, might not want to put money into a project. Speculation.

Do you have any basis for thinking that? I ask because my perception is that the cost of OS is effectively zero for almost all computer users: Windows or Mac OS comes free* with the computer.

* Free and bundled together at a sharply discounted cost (or the cost of R&D in Apple's case) to the manufacturer aren't exactly the same, but that's not apparent to the purchaser.

The cost of OS is zero when acquiring a new computer through a retail outlet, and zero only for Linux users when acquiring computers through donations, salvage, etc.

In my experience donated/salvaged/second hand PCs usually come with an OEM licence (also true for second hand macs).

Perhaps that's different in the US?

And while you theoretically pay for the Windows licence that come with a new machine a) most people aren't aware of that, and b) aren't aware that you can get that money back if don't use it.

(b) because usually you can't. Nor should you be able to...

I believe there are some strong anti-trust arguments for it to be possible to pay for only the OS you want to buy, not the one the manufacturer bundles with your device?

Granted there's still a de-facto monopoly on paid for desktop operating systems for general x86 pcs -- but does that really mean that we should try to keep it that way?

That's not how systems are designed and built. You're not paying for the OS, you're buying an integrated product that wouldn't exist unless it was designed and manufactured for Windows.

Wouldn't a lot of people just acquire some pirated version of a Windows OS?

I think your speculation is quite wrong. Linux users are typically the highest payers for games, on average.

On every[0] Humble Bundle so far, the highest average donations come from Linux users.

On some, they've even donated the same amount or more in total dollars compared to OS X users - ie, Linux users have been more profitable even though they have a much smaller market share.

In short, Linux users are very profitable (per-user).

[0] I can't confirm that it's 100%, but it's been every Humble Bundle I've participated in (a lot), which I think is a large enough sample size for the purposes of this statement.

I think this is partly caused by the lack of offering. For instance: I'm throwing a lot of money at Steam and Valve for the games that are available there because it is one of the very few vendors that has native games for my platform.

I noticed that too and have always wondered why.

Maybe the lack of games make Linux users appreciate it more?

When you use a lot of FOSS, I think (at least for myself) I tend to pick my spots to get closed-source, for-cost software. If it'll run well on my platform, and I like the organization developing it, it feels more like... monetary collaboration, say, than simply buying another thing. If you're used to buying all your software, paying the minimum might look like just the (perfectly reasonable) cheapest way to get it?

Not to suggest that there actually IS any difference between the two groups when they pay - I just feel like more a good-deed-doing partner when I voluntarily pay more for something like humble bundle, that's all. It's silly and false, but it's definitely a feeling.

Or maybe it's because Linux users tend to be software developers, who are mostly quite well off due to the industry right now.

Or developers appreciate the effort it takes to program something, and want to break away from the 99c per app approach and want to make a more fair payment?

That and the fact that a lot of people want Linux to succeed as a desktop platform.

I pay for bundles I don't even play, just to get the word out that there is a market, and I want more games in it.

My gut feeling is that someone running Linux as their desktop OS has had to opt in; this means that the pool of potential desktop Linux game purchasers is more likely to be made up of people who are motivated by Linux itself; and that these people are thus more likely to be people who are invested in the success of Linux as an environment.

I'm not au courant with Linux in any of its various forms, so my assumptions above could be wildly wrong, of course.

> ... these people are thus more likely to be people who are invested in the success of Linux as an environment.

I think that you are correct -- at least in part.

I have zero desire to play games but I have purchased many of the Humble Bundles, for example, simply to "support the cause" and encourage other vendors to also consider Linux as a viable platform. I usually give away whatever it is that I've bought.

Way I look at it, there's fewer commercial games on the platform, so users are more grateful and focused on buying those games.

A single, idealistic phone like this will allow those users to focus and buy it - in much the same way as the games.

A man in a desert will also pay a lot more for a glass of water.

Your comment isn't really as relevant as you think it is. It would suggest Linux would be a highly lucrative platform to target for games, however the more normal it becomes to port games to Linux the less likely people would be to pay that price. This would happen much faster than you would think too.

If you are in a country, where people can't afford MS products, then they usually don't give two damns about legal issues(because there are none). All hail the pirates, because pirating is the norm.

Source: From country where pirated windows used to be norm. Still is in ethical standpoint. Only OS bundled with computers has changed that.

I don't use Ubuntu because I'm cheap, I use it because it's the best tool for the job. I think in general Ubuntu users are going to be developers(read have expendable income to spend on gadgets). I think making a play for the high end is the smart move, create a device everyone wants and aspires to own and they will sell themselves. Also if your main market is developers(as I'm assuming it is for the Edge) then you need to blow them away with a beautifully designed high end device to get them to buy it and then start developing the app ecosystem.

Find how many Steam subscribers are running Ubuntu and buying games, and subtract that number from the total estimated Ubuntu users.

Count me in the 'buys games' lot.

Ubuntu is a very reasonable average joe OS. It is actually really crappy for gaming - when I was using Ubuntu at the Unity switch around 10.04, there were tons of absurd full screen and tearing bugs in games. Even now that most of that is fixed, Unity/compiz is still vastly outperformed by everything else when running full screen opengl apps. On Gnome / KDE I never encountered those.

10.04 was a virtual lifetime ago.

I just played Euro Truck Simulator 2 in Ubuntu 13.04 this morning. With the latest update it runs very nice. Full screen, no tearing. It has less FPS than in Windows, but that's expected for this particular game. Using an empty Openbox desktop to run it made no difference, the performance issues are not because Unity, but because of the game engine. I'm only working in moving my savegame from Windows to Ubuntu.

On the other hand, Portal and Half Life 2 run PERFECT in Ubuntu. Just as fast and pretty if not faster than in Windows 7. I'm waiting for Portal 2, as that's one game I have not managed to finish in any platform yet. They also support virtual desktops, so I can ctrl-alt-arrow them away in an instant if my GF needs something from me.

I'd encourage you to try it again. I'm running Ubuntu 12.04 on my Dell XPS 13 (Sputnik Edition of course) - and I have no problems with playing Steam games.

I havn't really had any problems playing any game that works on *NIX so far - not that there's all that many.. but still.

If prior form is anything to go by they're about to break it all again with the Mir switch.

I switched to Arch a long while ago. I also prefer the KDE app suite, systemd, and pacman. I still like where Ubuntu is going, but KDE just has feature density I like. I just put relatives on Opensuse because tumbleweed is really solid.

I value that Canonical can bring people to *nix, but I like my customization and a lot of the magic that KDE can pull off. Also, I love writing QML + C++, though with Ubuntu transitioning to be qt focused I could get that anywhere.

I hope this means, more than anything, the year of qt is 2014, because I'd really like to get employed working in qml / qt projects.

I upvoted this because I think it's an interesting experiment. Attempting to raise $1M+ every day for a month, though, I think is insanely ambitious. Asking people for $830 for a device that they won't get for a year is asking a lot, particularly since the specs aren't worlds away from current phones (two years time, and probably $500 would get you a device with those specs, unlocked).

Worse, I just don't even get the use case. If I have to dock it with stuff to make it work, that means I need some kind of installation. Spending more money just so I can carry my PC around instead of having at home on a desk - hm, really not sure about that. People who use their mobile as a primary device tend not to have any sort of desktop, and I don't really get the impression they miss it that much.

I'm wondering if the ambitious goal of $32M is part of their strategy. Given that a higher goal is less likely to be met, I (and others who might consider backing) may be willing to adjust our risk function for the $600-800 such that we are more likely to back the project. Assuming that after 30 days only $20M is raised, then the outcome is as follows:

1: Nobody is actually charged for supporting the project

2: Other interested parties (phone manufacturers and carriers) will see that there is demand for a phone that doesn't even exist yet. These interested parties might consider reaching this market to differentiate from the current phone OS leaders.

3: Canonical still gets to see their OS in smartphones.

Maybe I'm reaching at straws. I do believe them when they say that manufacturing at scale is expensive.

I would have backed based on this theory if it was a Kickstarter project. Kickstarter uses Amazon and doesn't charge until the end of the drive. Indiegogo uses Paypal, and charges immediately, giving a refund if the drive fails. While both of these differences aren't quite showstoppers, they're enough that I didn't pull the trigger on something that seems highly unlikely to succeed. I wouldn't mind paying $600 for this thing if it actually happened, but I would mind having $600 sitting around in my rarely used paypal account.

You could withdraw the $600...

I do appreciate you pointing this difference out though, because it does mean that folks will have $600 (or $830) tied up in this from day 1 and not from day 31.

One possible problem with withdraw later is that you're subjected to 2.5% conversion fee if you're not withdraw to US bank account. In the end some international user will need to pay PayPal about $15 to get refund.

So let's say this campaign comes close but doesn't reach its goal. Someone is then on the hook for close to a million dollars in credit card charges. It doesn't appear to be the individual. But the FAQ is deeply unclear as to whether it is Indiegogo or Canonical who gets to pay these fees. Anyone know?

In my experience, refunds on PayPal go back to your credit card. Am I wrong about this?

From https://www.paypal.com/webapps/helpcenter/article/?articleID...:

"If you paid with your debit card or credit card, your payment is refunded to that card."

I've had the opposite experience, which is why I'm bringing up this issue. However, my refund was processed as a payment to me rather than a refund, so it's quite possible that your experience is the more typical one.

If you use a credit or debit card, yes. PayPal, however, does everything possible to (get you to) use ACH transfer from your bank account instead. In that case, I believe that you would end up with $600/$850 sitting in your PayPal account and withdrawing can be a PITA in some cases.

Yeah, it's quite possible they realise how unlikely the target is, and it could just be a way of attempting to demonstrate the market (given $830 is likely at one end of the bell-curve, it's a potentially interesting data point).

I find it a bit baffling. I refuse to believe Canonical want to enter the hardware market, but maybe there is a Nexus-like role for this hardware in terms of getting the ODMs to up their game. But, as a way of testing the market, I don't understand it. The FirefoxOS approach is much more appropriate, tbh, and if anything they need volume (which is going to come from the lower end of the market) not quality.

> I refuse to believe Canonical want to enter the hardware market

I don't know, from all the design hints Canonical's been dropping in the last few years, it seems like they really are trying to place themselves as direct competitors to apple, however naive/overambitious that may sound. So a play for hardware wouldn't surprise me that much. I think this stunt would make much less sense if it were purely to advance an android/firefox-style mobile os strategy.

In the video Mark says that they're not making it for consumers and saying that they want other companies to do it and they will show them kind of thing.

It doesn't sound to inspiring in the long term though.

> they want other companies to do it and they will show them

Isn't that what the iphone inadvertently did anyway though? If Edge succeeds, the logical consequence would be that other manufacturers would start to pay attention in one form or another, Canonical just seems to be upfront about the fact and is trying to presumably leverage it somehow.

Apple's strategy is based around ios exclusivity on a limited set of 'high-end' devices though, so it's hard to predict what exactly Canonical is planning for after the Edge succeeds/fails. I'm fairly certain Shuttleworth is heavily inspired by the Apple playbook, but their hints at android-like distribution are admittedly somewhat confusing. It's almost like they want to do both modes of attack, but I'm not sure how that would work (nor how competing directly against android would succeed either for that matter). Only time will tell.

Personally, I find the sheer fact that they're actually Open and trying something new to be quite inspiring on it's own. Long-term? That's anyone's guess, but I wouldn't exactly bet against them at this point, that's for sure.

I also thought Light Table was insanely over-ambitious for a 1-man software project and it got funded.

Maybe Ubuntu can pull this off.

If I had not very recently bought a high end smartphone I'd chip in. I might chip in anyway.

Manufacturing is expensive.

The vast majority of the $32M goes simply to manufacturing. The remainder covers taxes, fees, shipping, certification, and returns.

It does not cover the cost of the development team's time.

Money isn't static, and the interest isn't negligible.

Assuming you can get 1 % interest per month on the 32,000,000 before paying it out, that is still 320k. They can hold it for 2-3 months and pay their developers easily.

You can't get 1% interest risk free in a high-interest market, let alone the current one.

If you try really hard you can get 1% a year without taking on risk.

And you can't have any risk if you are going to be manufacturing phones with that money (sorry we don't have enough phones, we bet on Apple and their stock went down 20%).

US Government Treasury bonds have a 3.5% annual interest rate. I'm pretty sure that buying them does not require trying hard.

The grandparent was talking about 1% per month, though. That would equate to (with compounding) a 12.5% annual interest rate, which no remotely safe financial instrument is paying.

What bond has that high of an interest rate? I am seeing 0.3% annual rates for US bonds right now. (And that is for 2 year bonds, not very good for 1-3 month lags)

Even if you only need the money for a year, there is no reason you can't buy 30 year bonds and sell them later. Short term treasury bonds get a much lower price because they are dominated by buyers that are obligated to buy them for some reason (they've even had negative interest rates in the past).

> there is no reason you can't buy 30 year bonds and sell them later.

Except, there are no guarantees the price you get on the sale of those bonds will be the same as the price you initially payed.

The possibilities are you might get your money back, you might make money or you might lose money on that sale.

Edit: In fact as can be seen by the graph below the yield on 30 Year T-Bonds is going up, indicating the price of the bond is falling (as the price moves inversly to the yield).


NOTE: See the 6m curve from link above

No, short term bonds get lower yield because they carry much less interest rate risk. There's no free lunch.

That cannot explain a negative interest rate.

That's just an indication of their safety. Short-term U.S. Treasuries are being used as a safe bank account by a number of people with money to park who don't trust regular banks, and don't want to expose themselves to the interest-rate risk that long-term bonds bring. This raises demand and pushes down interest rates, sometimes even into the negative range.

If you're an American with, say, $75k to park, there's no reason to put it in a treasury at negative interest, of course: you can just put it in an FDIC-insured bank account. But if you're a Cypriot with $50m to park, buying treasuries looks attractive relative to Eurobonds or Cypriot banks, and continues to look attractive even if prices rise to the point where the interest rate is moderately negative.

But in neither case should you buy a 30-year bond for short-term cash parking, unless you are either hedged against the interest-rate risk, or willing to expose yourself to a bet on the direction interest rates will move. If they move the wrong way, your $100k might be worth $90k next year, which will completely wipe out your 3.5% interest and more.

> That cannot explain a negative interest rate.

Those were not bonds, but rather Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS) which are tied to CPI.

The fixed payment on five-year TIPS, known as the real yield, has been pushed below zero because the rise in the CPI is greater than the yield on regular five-year U.S. notes


Why they were negative is because they are tied to CPI and the CPI was higher than the interest on similar short term bonds.

So provided the CPI continues to rise, these TPS securities (which are tied to CPI) will end up paying more return than similar short term bonds.

In other words the market was betting the CPI would continue to rise while short term interest rates would remain low.

30-year bonds do, but they are not risk-free unless you hold them to maturity.

There aren't much in the way of specs here. The screen will likely be 1024x768 or similar, seeing as how they say that they are shooting for around 300ppi in a 4.5in screen. The battery technology that they say they want is unproven, produced only in sample quantities, and has issues with the electrolyte expanding to 4x it's size (which they say will be fixed via carbon nanotubes, the latest 'magic pixie dust'). I am pretty sure they will have an announcement later on saying that they had to switch battery technologies in order to source what they need. For $800 it's quite expensive. I imagine they could easily just buy a bunch Galaxy S4s and offer that with Ubuntu as an option... that way they wouldn't have to deal with certification and all that jazz. I'd be happy to be proven wrong, but seriously people need to think about this before just handing out their money. My bet is one year from now if you had given them your money, there will be better phones out that make this one seem like a joke. Compare what they are offering to the Galaxy S4, the S4 will definitely have a better screen, it's running at 1.9ghz (will 2.1 or whatever is the fastest make much of a difference? probably not). A better battery may be great, but the S4 has great battery life, which will last almost all day, good enough for most people. I'd be surprised if I don't see batteries explode on this device if they do manage to ship with the new technology (and expensive) battery. The ram may be the one reason to purchase the device, but it would be a lot less expensive just to ask any of the vendors on Alibaba to up the ram to 4gb (as long as you are ordering in large quantities).

Here are the specs from the page -- were they added subsequently?

    Dual boot Ubuntu mobile OS and Android
    Fully integrated Ubuntu desktop PC when docked
    Fastest multi-core CPU, 4GB RAM, 128GB storage
    4.5in 1,280 x 720 HD sapphire crystal display
    8mp low-light rear camera, 2mp front camera
    Dual-LTE, dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4, NFC
    GPS, accelerometer, gyro, proximity sensor, compass, barometer
    Stereo speakers with HD audio, dual-mic recording, Active Noise Cancellation
    MHL connector, 3.5mm jack
    Silicon-anode Li-Ion battery
    64 x 9 x 124mm

I wonder which will happen first, Google supporting BT4/LE on the phones that already have this built-in, or Canonical getting a phone built from scratch and having BT LE support?

300ppi at 4.5in would probably be 720p - that's what the First and M4/One mini have at 4.3 in for something like 330 ppi. That would be m y guess anyway.

I'm more concerned with the promise of 4GB ram and 128GB storage. That's going to be very expensive. The highest end phones today cost more and half half or less of that. (I know, things get cheaper, but this isn't orders of 20 million, it's orders of 20,000)

Not only the ram. The 'sapphire screen' and battery are probably going to be the most expensive pieces of the system. I don't think anyone is complaining that their gorilla glass screen is not durable enough. The highest end phones have less ram most likely because of battery life issues. That ram has to be refreshed, and more of it means more drain on the battery. Not to mention that in android phones, they try to fill up the ram as much as possible to avoid accessing the flash storage after booting since that also drains the battery. The consequence may be longer boot times, if Ubuntu does this also.

128gb of flash storage is like $150 retail, probably less in bulk. 4gb RAM is not expensive, yeah it's integrated, but the reason why device manufacturers hold back is they're penny pinchers who are looking to maximise profit, and they're also running mobile OS'es that don't need 4gb.

Finally, a phone that beats the storage I had in my iRiver H340 (with the extremely expensive 80GB Toshiba mini hard drive)

The first paragraph explains it.

let me quote: "In the car industry, Formula 1 provides a commercial testbed for cutting-edge technologies. The Ubuntu Edge project aims to do the same for the mobile phone industry -- to provide a low-volume, high-technology platform, crowdfunded by enthusiasts and mobile computing professionals. A pioneering project that accelerates the adoption of new technologies and drives them down into the mainstream."

It is not for you. If you want good phone, there are plenty out there to choose from.

formula 1 car is impossible to use in everyday life. It has really specific place where it excels. Edge is probably medicore phone and medicore pc, but it is probably really good at being both at the same time.

It is wrong approach to compare it to mobile users.

Edit: quote from comment section: "It's a premier, demonstration platform, not a mass market device." -achiang

It's an interesting project (not for me, personally, but hey, let a hundred flowers bloom and all that), but I think that they're overestimating the state of phone hardware commoditization, if they expect that they can pick and choose parts and hit their spec targets in less than a year. That seems insanely ambitious to me.

They've reached around $3.2m in their first day, so they're on track, though probably donations will slow down from now on till it nears the end. The price is pretty high, and this is not a mass market device in its current form - it's an interesting strategy to target the high end. Perhaps they see Apple as floundering in years to come, and want to take that slice of the market and work down?

It's interesting that you talk about some kind of installation. Everyone with a desktop PC already has such an installation, and many people with laptops have one too - a screen and keyboard for when they're at home, and a laptop which plugs in there, or can be separated and used independently. Works for me.

So I imagine the target market here is people who use laptops with a screen at home and would be happy with even more convenience and a smaller device to carry around. This probably isn't a realistic convergence device as it is so ambitious, at present it's more dream than reality, but one day we might all work this way.

I find it more attractive to have a hard local store of my data than the alternative of trusting cloud providers with all my data and working from thin clients.

They should try to get some carriers to put some money on that. They could buy hundreds or thousands at a time, if they want more diversity in their offering.

One of the reasons they went with IndieGoGo vs KickStarter is probably that they know they may not reach $32M. So they'll take what they can (IndieGogo gives you what you make, vs kickstarter that you need to make more then you request in order to get it) and do what they can.

As far as I am concerned they may have just typed in a random number in the millions as people like goals.

It is a Fixed Funding project so if they don't gather the entire sum it won't get funded.

While this is possible with IndieGoGo, they selected to only receive funds if the project is fully funded. This is detailed under the "Contribute now" button.

Hrm... you're right. I'm wondering why they would do that? Does it really take $32M to create a new phone for mass market?

at least. And it is "one run only" phone.

This is for selling the whole production series.

It is only around 40 000 phones. Most phones sell at least in millions.

If 40,000 people are willing to fund the initial production going mainstream would be easy. I believe in the video they even said that if enough people were interested they could get more backing.

I think video said if this thing succeeds, then there might be similar future projects. If not, there wont be next edge or similar projects.

"The Ubuntu Edge is an exclusive production run, available only through Indiegogo"

But there is no going mainstream, it is the whole point. This is not the mainstream pc/mobile. Good quote from comment section:

"It's a premier, demonstration platform, not a mass market device." -achiang

I think what they are doing is awesome and comparison with formula 1 is pretty spot on. They are trying to build mobile with new approach, build it as PC.

Except it's a horrible comparison, because an F1 car is orders of magnitude higher in performance than an everyday car. The Edge on the other hand, has a lower resolution screen than the Galaxy S4, a consumer device.

They claim the performance will be amazing, yet don't even specify which CPU/SoC they will be using (only claiming it will be a quad, also available in the Galaxy series).

128gb of storage? Big deal. My Galaxy S3 with a 64gb SD card has that much too.

Cool phone, and I love the smartphone/PC convergence they are striving for - but comparing it to the engineering marvel of an F1 car is a little outlandish.

I do understand why you think this comparison is off, but

if Edge would have magnitudes of better performace(and I mean magnitudes) they would have to develop one for themselvs(meaning cpu/soc, they are already developing their soft). No crowdfunding will ever cover that. So it is choice between reality and dream.

Lower resolution was explained here:

"We also believe the race for ever higher resolution has become a distraction. Beyond 300ppi you’re adding overhead rather than improving display clarity. We think colour, brightness and dynamic range are now the edge of invention so we’ll choose a display for its balance of resolution, dynamic range and colour accuracy."

I think, and this is just an idea that: they can't announce unannounced cpu/soc or they or they don't know(that would be bad)

your s3 has 64gb sd. They are talking about onboard storage. At the moment biggest onboard is 64gb, there are around 8 highest end phones that have that. This is probably the easiest thing to up if memory prices and size goes down. First 128gb phones should come out around the same time when Edge. Then you will have 128gb onboard+whatever sd you buy extra.

Why am I protective over this thing? Because I am the one who they are making this thing for. I like playing with tech and I would see the benefit for using this portable computer. .. altough, at the moment it is out of my budget.

EDIT: This does not mean it is all perfect project. There are already some unanswered legitimate questions in comment section.

I agree - and this is what dissuades me from buying one. While the industrial design is indeed cool I'm not convinced that faster phones won't be available at the time of launch; this product has a very significant number of engineering challenges ahead of it, not the least of which is software.

If there is a 2nd- or 3rd-gen Edge I will be very interested, but today's state-of-the-art ARM quad is not enough for the tasks I usually run on my laptop. If it can't replace my laptop, then contributing to this project is just throwing $600 (or $830!) sight-unseen into a development black hole that could be months late.

In these sorts of situations contributors are almost never reimbursed for delays. By the time this launches there will be yet another generation of Intel chips, ARM chips, and flagship Android/iPhone devices. It just doesn't make economic sense.

I appreciate what they are trying to do and I don't know if there's a better way. But it's quite a risk to shell out that much for a toy that may not really be that useful in this iteration.

A little hyperbole never hurt anybody. But they are off by at least one order of magnitude in terms of cost if they're thinking of doing really new things with a mobile device.

Actually, upon reflection, the comparison to F1 is completely spurious. They're not talking about doing any new hardware development; instead, they're looking at slapping commodity hardware in a box. That's doomed.

Your S3 also can't load apps off that storage because of design decisions made by Google.

The phone is not produced for mass market. I think he said that right at the beginning of the presentation and repeated it along the line

Pretty ambitious. Presumably they are not going to build the phone, they will do like Google and Apple and Microsoft did and find someone who is already building phones, to build them a bespoke phone. One then wonders how many units you have to commit to buying for LG to spin a variant of the Nexus 4 for you. Certainly its more than 100K phones, which gets you into the 'best' price for components (some vendors of phone parts (like some of the flash chips) won't talk to you unless you order 100K pieces).

Clearly there is a value proposition to having knowledge about all the bits in the phone, but as I discovered with the Android phones, working at Google, there are some bits which are protected in a variety of ways (basically most of the radios in phones these days are all software and that blob (the stuff that makes the radio 'work') is strictly licensed. It was, for me at least, an unexpected additional cost for the radio stuff. (I imagine that business model started with soft modems where the line access chips were $1 and the code to turn them into a 56Kbit modem was another $9 each).

Regardless of outcome, this will join a number of attempts at making a Linux phone. I wonder if anyone has collected all of the attempts into a single space.

From nearly every perspective, this seems like a no brainer.

1. The hardware they talked about would be better than anything out there now, most likely better than anything in 2014.

2. They mentioned dual boot. If you don't like Ubuntu, you can put on Android and have a better phone than anything out in the next year.

3. You'll get the first Ubuntu production phone.

For $600 (today) or $830 (not today?) this is a freakin' no brainer.

I disagree with (1)... that will probably be average hardware for 2014 (for high end devices because lets face it, all high end devices have roughly the same specs).

You make a lot of assumptions with (2) as well. Given Canonical has 0 experience in putting out HW I wouldn't assume a top notch product since details like build quality and materials are important.

(3) would be a negative for me... you would get the slowest, least power efficient, and most app-baron experience.

I agree it's a no brainer though... PASS! $830 is way too much for me to beta test their product for them.

You think 4 gigs of ram, sapphire display and 128gb ssd are going to be the norm in 2014? Not very likely. That would be just about double the Samsung S4 right now. I don't think it is very likely for 2014. 2015, maybe though.

And I don't think Canonical is going to build the phone but work with someone to do it.

> (3) would be a negative for me... you would get the slowest, least power efficient, and most app-baron experience.

Do you have any data to back that up?

And don't forget that Android had very few apps when first launched. Very few. At least an Ubuntu phone will be able to run all the standard Ubuntu apps, and in converged mode, you'll get all the desktop apps as well, which is awesome.

The S4 has a 1080p screen (better than the edge) a Quad (comparable to the edge) and with SD cards, can be expanded to 128gb of storage on the cheap.

Not to mention the app selection for Android is unbeatable. Sure it didn't have many apps in the early days, but because it was one of the first to market, it will retain this lead. Look at HP's touchpad, BB10, and Windows Phone - they've had years to catch up and have failed.

The edge is a niche device and has it's place, but I'd say should be avoided by the average user.

For $305 the Nexus 4 is the no-brainer.

I have excellent vision, and I can't see the pixels on the 720p Nexus 4, nevermind the S4. I'm so sick of people in this thread claiming the S4 pentile 1080p S4 is better than a 720p display. When you double the resolution, you quadruple the number of pixels that must be rendered. This means that given the same CPU, your 1080p phone is going to be 50% slower in games and draw more battery power.

Give me longer battery life and better gaming performance over a meaningless spec. sheet number.

I tried to use android by buying a galaxy note before ICS and OpenGL rendering - it was awful. The same internals as the S2 with three times the pixels! I should have waited for the S3 for my experiment.

The Nexua 4 is a no brainer? The lack of MicroSD expansion says otherwise.

The battery is also mediocre, at least with stock Android.

it has 16 GB of memory max and no sd card (in comparison I'm not too upset with my 64gb phone not having an sd slot)

You don't need data to know that the initial product will be the least optimized (in terms of speed/power) and fewest apps. I was speaking mostly in the domain of Ubuntu phones, since the experience will likely improve as they develop the product more, however I would be very surprised if Canonical manages to be faster and more efficient than either iOS or high end android devices at launch.

I'm not saying they there isn't potential, I just don't have as much faith in Canonical as you seem to.

If the hardware is open I expect you would be able to put the Firefox mobile OS on there as well.

Maybe you will be able to dual-boot with Firefox mobile OS as well.

all this is just words on paper right now- a competent marketing team can make any product sound amazing/indispensible. tack on the standard kickstarter/indiegogo delays, and this feels like as far from a no brainer as can be.

i don't see how you could trust any company, let alone a company making their first phone, with $600/$830 before seeing and playing with the software OR the hardware.

I love crowd funding, and this seems like a great project. But please, before you pledge money, remember one thing:

This is not a pre-order: nothing guarantees that you will ever get anything for the money you've put in.

By pledging money, you become an underprivileged investor. Sometimes, you'll get your money's worth. Sometimes, you'll loose that money. If that's OK by you, then great. If you want a stronger guarantee of getting what you pay for, then this is not the platform to use.

It's worth noting that you don't lose your money if the funding fails - it will get refunded to you.

I think they're referring to the case where the funding succeeds. As a non-proud Esquiso owner (who doesn't regret the gamble), I can testify that hardware is hard.

That said, my money's on these guys to pull it off. My only concern is quality control and support/maintenance.

That said, LOL!

I agree. I wish they'd added a "who is our ideal backer" section to the page, to help people really decide if they're up to the risks of backing this.

Nice suggestion. I'll bring it up with the team.

Off the cuff though, I'd say the ideal backer is someone excited about open platforms that push the boundary of what we think of computing today.

Arjan and team[1] proved that a 5-second boot on a laptop is a qualitatively different device. When your laptop boots in 5 seconds, you use it differently than one that boots in 10s or 30s. It becomes more device-ish and less computer-ish.

Analogously, I'd say that a single device that has a touch interface for mobility and a keyboard/mouse for desktop productivity is a new category of computing, and user software will need to adapt to the new possibilities opened up by the innovation we're doing in the foundational plumbing layers.

Looking at computing around us today, my observation is that we're asymptotically trying to achieve this vision by nibbling away at the branches, but not attacking the root.

exhibit a) iPad + bluetooth keyboard. lighter and more portable than a laptop but no one uses it as a phone so you still need 2 devices.

exhibit b) Samsung Galaxy Note, the phablet category. I've seen lots of people with these in Korea, but not so much in the States. Actually, walking around the Mission in SF, I've seen more Google Glass than people using Notes. Not sure what to make of that anecdata, but I think phablets are just too large. I use Strava on my phone when I run; I sure wouldn't want to strap on a Note.

exhibit c) Dropbox, one view of your files everywhere. This sidesteps the device problem, but the paradigm is still 'sync'. I'd prefer to just 'have' (and use the cloud for 'backup' or 'extend'). Plus, editing office docs or writing code on today's mobile devices is still going to be painful.

exhibit d) dumb/feature phones; OLPC. The bottom several billion people in the world don't have access to traditional computers[2], but they do have feature phones today. It's not unimaginable to think that they could just skip laptops and go straight to smartphones. It would be nice if these smartphones were enabled to provide a "productivity personality". Teaching a new generation of programmers will be a lot easier if they had keyboards and mice.

Maybe there will never be a one-size-fits-everyone-all-of-the-time device, but to me, the industry trends are pretty clear and one-size-fits-a-hell-of-a-lot is pretty darn good.

If those ideas excite you, then you are the ideal backer for Ubuntu Edge.

/ac, speaking only for myself and not Canonical

1: http://lwn.net/Articles/299483/

2: pre-emptively agree that the 'bottom billion' don't have easy access to enough calories or clean water either, but I don't subscribe to solving those problems in serial

This has been a dream of mine for several years now, and I believe Ubuntu (with Touch coming around) is currently the OS best suited for this task. However I do have some concerns which still go unanswered. Until then, I'm holding back my pledge.

1: I realize this is their first attempt at this, but if this phone doesn't support 2+ monitors, then this simply won't work as a desktop replacement. HDMI-output is nothing new. Who still uses a single monitor on their desktop?

2: I didn't find any mention of docks. I'd be interested to see if there would be any future plans to create different types of docks. I.e. tablet dock with extended battery life (like the Asus PadFone), desktop dock with 2+ 1080p+ monitor output. Preferably with the docks allowing USB connections, so that we are not stuck with buying new gear all around. Maybe even a laptop style dock?

3: Context awareness. Not sure if this is already addressed, but it'd be nice if when I docked it at work, I'd have the option of continuing where I left off yesterday. Achievable through profiles combined with some NFC cleverness? Personally, I can think of a few contexts I'd set up myself: desktop@work, desktop@home, laptop, tablet, HTPC, nightstand, car... and of course, phone.

4: Waterproof. If I'm going to walk around with my personal computer in my pocket, it'd be nice if a splash of water didn't kill it.

IF it supports wireless game controllers as well (even when docked), theres no reason this couldnt just replace an 'ouya' style device when you want to use the lounge room as well.

Does anyone really still want a phone you can plug into a monitor? This would have been a dream product back before broadband and wifi became ubiquitous, and before extra PCs became so cheap.

Nowadays, it seems like a much better design is to have multiple devices with different form factors that can access shared data via a cloud.

(unless this product is meant as an NSA-proof system, but I don't see that it makes a very convincing product for that use case either...)

Oh, absolutely. I'd love to have a phone that I can use as a phone, insert into a "laptop dock" (like what the motorola atrix had) and use as a laptop, and insert into a more traditional docking station (to which I've attached a large monitor, ethernet, etc) so I can use it as a desktop.

I'd much prefer to have a single trusted device than spread my digital life across "a cloud".

Exactly. Even with most of my stuff in the Google cloud, the cognitive overhead of going from my Note 2 to my Nexus 7 to my "real" laptop and (recently) to my Chromebook is annoying. I'd much rather have one device set up with all my stuff that automagically turns into the form factor I want, when I want it.

I don't know much about it but plan 9 had alot of interesting innovations in this field. I think the idea of it was to build a "UNIX out of a lot of little systems, not a system out of a lot of little UNIXes"

Old idea that has never taken off, and is probably less likely now that chips are really cheap. This graphic shows MCC’s Modular PC idea http://jkontherun.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/solutions_hq.j...

IBM's MetaPad was a similar idea.

Today, the Asus PadFone probably comes closest.

Yeah, the PadFone is quite attractive. If only they'd kept the Transformer-style keyboard dock from the original...

Tried it for a while but Android software is pretty awful on a 10in or larger screen. For the size/weight, you get much more power with Windows 7/8 (pus AirDroid and Dropbox etc).

yes, of course I want that, for the reason that accessing shared data via a cloud is ludicrously slow, unreliable, fraught with security concerns, and doesn't bring application state with it.

I "work around" application state to a great extent with Xmarks (lets me open remote tabs) and screen, but it's a kludge compared to always having my main computing device in my pocket, ready to connect to any screen and keyboard to just keep working. Imagine hotels offering HDMI input to TV's + a keyboard so I don't have to use my "small" 17" laptop screen. Or internet cafees where I can "bring my own machine" with all my own applications and data.

I don't see how multiple devices is a "much better design" when we're always carrying one device around with us anyway. It's incredibly wasteful. Devices augmenting it with additional functionality, sure.

The only things holding back the smartphone as "the one" main computing device for most people is performance and capacity. Of course there will always be a need for more powerful machines for some niches, an there'll always be a need for e.g. laptop shells (and for "real" laptops too).

But for an increasing number of users, the power of a smartphone is rapidly exceeding what they need from a laptop or desktop computer, and then it becomes increasingly appealing to springing for a higher capacity smartphone if it can double as our main computer "just" with the addition of a "laptop shell" or screen + keyboard.

Keep in mind the PC desktop and laptop market has stagnated - average prices are low because the typical non-Mac PC user opts for low end models because they no longer see a need for the performance bump of the higher end models.

The performance a typical PC user wants, and the performance possible with mobile technology will soon intersect.

The cloud is cool but your putting your data, and for many people that means their livelyhoods in the hands of strangers.

Personal Cloud is a better option.

I personally would be more than happy to own a single device that I could take with me and still know I had all the computing power I needed, without the bulk of a desktop or even a small laptop.

Monitor and keyboard at home, one at the office, phone in my pocket all backed up and synced in my personal private cloud.

Oh, absolutely. I want to carry my data around with me, and access it via whatever the best interface at the moment is -- when I'm driving, when I'm walking around, when I'm at my desk. This phone isn't for me, but I can definitely see the appeal.

Instead ask: Since everyone's already carrying around a very powerful processor and lots of memory, why should they carry around a second processor and memory just to work on a large screen?

I'd love that. The biggest problem for me is that I have a number of monitors and laptops that don't support HDMI. If there was a sub $10 adapter I could get for VGA->HDMI<-VGA then it would be a perfect world.

Luckily this is still a year in the future. It is good amount of time for a)sub $10 adapter to appear b)you might change your hardware for unrelated purpouse c)you might change your hardware for this purpouse over the course of the year for monitors that support vga+hdmi(or DVI+cheap adapter)

>The biggest problem for me is that I have a number of monitors and laptops that don't support HDMI

That's not a problem for anybody else. It's practically a non-issue.

Uh, no.


Those are the monitors HP aims at the enterprise. A lot of them have VGA only, and none of them have HDMI.

So in my organization, we have thousands of monitors that would require an adapter at minimum and maybe a couple dozen floating around that were special ordered one-offs that might have HDMI built-in.

Yea, what kind of display made since 2005 doesn't support hdmi (note: dvi -> hdmi is really easy and readily available)? Analog video died in 2001, and only persists in corporate America, and it is so horribly outdated broken and crappy I can't fathom wasting development effort to get a vga port or adapter working.

It's an idea that might be a little ahead of its time yet, but I think the potential is there for tomorrow's phones to drive every aspect of our digital lives.

The little geek in me that wants to live in the Jetsons' future is going to be pretty disappointed if, 5+ years from now, I'm not unplugging my phone from a dock at home and plugging it in to one at work to meet all my computing needs.

Yes. I will be very happy to carry not only my data (as I do now) but my whole computer in my pocket, plug it into a keyboard and monitor at home and at work, and use the built-in screen (and perhaps a foldable bluetooth keyboard) elsewhere.

I know about the cloud. I distrust the cloud. The cloud is not for me.

A phone, or better still a tablet, on which I could run Ubuntu dual-screen would be a winner with me. I could have a light tablet for meetings and document-creation and a portable development environment with a portable external monitor.

If Adobe were to put creative suite or there were a real viable alternative to it, Id use this phone as my main web dev machine.

You can already do that: HDMI output, Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

But that doesn't let you run "desktop" software (e.g. LibreOffice, Inkscape/GIMP, a browser with proper keyboard shortcuts, a development environment (!) -- still a much different ball game than mobile apps.

A bit late to the party on this post -

I think the next shift we see in mobile will be anointing the phone as the arbiter of identity vs the current situation in which our desktop / laptop OS user loosely holds the title.

I've previously expressed affinity for a future in which a device (smartphone) becomes a wallet for saving state, identity, data & applications all served by an OS that adapts based on operating environments while maintaining familiar UI/UX. This is the closest implementation I've yet to see (smart phone driving extensions and adapting to its environment by allowing full desktop OS), and I hope funding comes through just so we can inch a bit closer to making this reality.

Dropbox / cloud storage / iCloud have taken great strides in reducing the friction involved in types of device to device transitions, but we're still not truly mobile, and I'm not convinced they're the solution as opposed to being supplementary. Saving state, using your phone as identity, and carrying your data & applications with you is, what I believe, the next iteration of mobile.

Whether this information transfer is accomplished by associating devices together via the lan, a physical connection, or what have you, I feel there needs to be a physical badge component in transferring identity, and the smartphone may be it. A two factor auth of sorts for your digital self between your smartphone and a 'dumber' device.

Consider the possibilities in cars; no more fighting that quirky car UI to get directions or search through a music library. Parental controls ensuring new drivers don't drive at extreme speeds or attempt to text while driving. Abolishing keys. All possible when you have a portable device equipped with identity attributes working in conjunction with other devices and their input extensions.

28.8mm to go!



Sorry but I don't want any electronical mobile devices as my physical identity badge which includes my whole life. The dangers of that far outweigh the conviniences. You just wouldn't be able to stay anonymous anymore and everything about you would be up for grab by the government or some hackers. Also just imagine when your phone gets stolen. Your whole life in the hands of a stranger.

Unfortunately, this is already the case. For instance, your mac address is a pretty good identifier probing AP's periodically wherever you go, 99% of smartphone owners aren't even aware, let alone know to turn off WiFi if they don't want to be tracked.. If my phone fell into the wrong hands today, my whole life IS at their disposal.

With education and advancement of proper security measures I believe these concerns can be mitigated and benefits would outweigh the risks. Transferring information is still too cumbersome, in order for us to progress, this is going to have to become a reality at some point.

I think that the smartphone will eventually evolve into a (hopefully optional) implant.

Those who don't like this may choose not to carry one (by leaving it at home, for example), or have multiple ones (or multiple VMs).

If the Ubuntu Edge reaches its goal of $32,000,000, Indiegogo makes $1,280,000 off it.

I wonder why they wouldn't just set up their own crowdfunding page for this project. Surely the effort would be worth $1,280,000.

People are more likely to contribute if it's on a platform they trust and recognize.

Maybe they got a special deal.

I wouldn't be surprised if Indiegogo offered Canonical incentives to use their platform, and I wouldn't be surprised if those incentives include a significant reduction in fees.

For the next 30 days, the Indiegogo brand will be mentioned nearly every time Ubuntu Edge is discussed. That publicity alone is worth something.

But if this campaign somehow succeeds, Indiegogo will receive more than just another dose of (outrageously positive) publicity—they'll be forever known as the platform used to launched Ubuntu Edge.

Wow. Does this include PayPal's cut?

PayPal takes 2,9 to 3,9% plus a base transaction fee[0], so their share of the pie would be at least $928000.

[0] https://www.paypal.com/webapps/mpp/paypal-fees

Yes, but once you reach a certain tier per month (which indiegogo would have reached by now) this goes down to around 1.1%.

"We'll replace glass with sapphire crystal. A material so hard, you'll need diamonds in your pocket to leave a scratch"

I got a laugh from this because the back of my iPhone 4 had a few big scratches in it literally from carrying diamonds in my pocket (My company sells lab-grown diamonds).

I really really hope I'm wrong (because I really believe in Ubuntu's vision), but what I'm gathering from this is that Canonical really has no idea how to make money.

I'm gathering that the handset makers and carriers and VCs laughed them out of the office, so they had to go this route.

I would have expected to read something like, the phone is an enhanced version of x/y/z with these features, we got a great deal from (manufacturer), but we need 50,000 pre-orders to proceed.

> I'm gathering that the handset makers and carriers and VCs laughed them out of the office, so they had to go this route.

From the FAQ:

"If we don’t reach our target then we will focus only on commercially available handsets and there will not be an Ubuntu Edge."

I don't think this supports your assumption.

I think it means they'll do Cyanogenmod style distribution instead of partnering with a handset maker/carrier.

I think you need to watch the video. It definitely sounds like they've had talks with manufacturers and been heavily criticized for believing that the industry is ready for this kind of convergent device. As Mark said, manufacturers need proof of this proposition.

It sounds to me like Mark has said, "Fine then, we'll go to our fans with the ideal device and see if the market responds. If they do, we're right and you can help us make these. If they don't, we're wrong and you can help us make more realistic devices."

Sounds like another way of saying what I did, no?

I hope it works and it's awesome.

Just can't help thinking the pitch is a little half-assed, for an Ubuntu. The crowdfunding model is for little guys who are doing amazing things and can't get investment and distribution. It's a sign of weakness when an established player can't get those things. Ubuntu was featured by Dell but isn't anymore. Meanwhile Chromebook seems to have found a niche. You have to keep the users and OEMs on board and execute the stuff that's in your wheelhouse.

In fairness, on the scale of phone vendors, Canonical is a little guy, not an established player.

Ubuntu Edge is orthogonal to existing commercial discussions with OEMs and operators.

It's a premier, demonstration platform, not a mass market device.

oh, it's orthogonal. so it's got that going for it, which is nice.

I guess they just didn't find investors. Jolla managed to do it because they have expertise and accumulated knowledge in the field. Canonical don't have that.

Wrong guess I'm afraid. We (Canonical) haven't announced any hardware or network partners for a general market launch.

Ubuntu Edge isn't aimed at the mass market. It's a special limited edition hardware platform which accelerates lots of interesting hardware technology combined with the Ubuntu phone. So it's designed for developers or technology enthusiasts who really value cutting edge innovation.

Then it's not so surprising, that going with extra high end non common device before releasing one available for common users didn't attract investors. It looks very risky.

Canonical had to start with practical and common device, before going into super experimental one. And with resources from the first, go for more experiments.

Any idea how Firefox OS was able to do it? Maybe because Mozilla is more established as a corporation in addition to being a nonprofit?

I didn't follow Mozilla closely on this, but I'm not sure if they design their own hardware. As far as I know they are using existing one from partners (correct me if I'm wrong). I.e. they took a few shortcuts to make things easier for them.

You're mixing up the objective of putting Ubuntu onto a mass-market phone with a special platform aimed at developers and technology enthusiasts. We (Canonical) have extensive experience working with major technology companies in the PC market. But, Ubuntu Edge isn't aimed at that area - it's about getting great technology into the hands of power-users and developers as early as possible.

+1. I'd rephrase it - they are newcomers with no experience in the filed of making hardware.

I would like to like this, but there are some red flags: It seems like they are engineering their own high-end hardware. Are there really no off-the-shelf platforms for this? No ODMs from which they could order 10k units, including the GPU driver license?

Supposing they could get 10k units for $500 each, that means they could ask for $1M or $2m and be far more certain of hitting their goal. Why not do that?

It seems as if they are trying to fund development of Ubuntu for phones on the back of this hardware project. Or, unlike Jolla and Tizen and Firefox OS they lack launch partners, so they are doing a "Microsoft Surface." Maybe the $900M write-down of Surface hardware made them think $32M is a doddle.

Ubuntu should run nicely on Surface RT hardware... They could make an offer.

This was my thinking. The whole time through that video I was wondering why they don't just buy a couple thousand Nexus 4s to load up with their custom build and re-sell. If they're planning to put Ubuntu on other manufacturers hardware, the official Google supported phone sounds like a pretty good place to start, and the speed at which those phones sell would be a great way to test the interest in their new platform. Hell, I'd buy it even at a $100 markup ($400), I'd buy it with little hesitation just to get some hands on time with the OS.

Impulse buying a $600 handset that won't arrive for a year (if they hit deadlines, which doesn't happen), is asking for far too much trust.

Putting it on Surface RT hardware would be a dream. I don't like Unity for my desktop, but if I was looking for a 10" tablet I'd be all over it.

Reselling someone else's developer phone from last year isn't exactly the marketing message we're going for. Edge is meant to be a premium product, not just another "me too".

Unrelated: if you simply want to test drive Ubuntu for Phones, it's already been ported to 40+ platforms.

I think everyone understands what Canonical is trying to do. They just question whether it's a good idea. It's very difficult to make the best phone on the first try. It adds a lot of project risk to Ubuntu for mobile devices to try.

On top of that, if you don't have OEM launch partners for phones, maybe you shouldn't be doing phones. If the carriers really want you, they will make the channel commitments that the OEMs need to green-light a phone.

All that I can find at the moment is a "developer preview" which I tried on my Nexus 7 not long ago and found it to be definitely not ready for prime time. Presumably, you would be releasing a consumer ready version of the OS with these Nexus 4s (or whatever phone from a proven manufacturer). I'm reluctant to flash a "developer preview" on my every day phone.

> if you simply want to test drive Ubuntu for Phones, it's already been ported to 40+ platforms

Isn't it just for OEMs? Or am I missing something?

> Are there really no off-the-shelf platforms for this?

From what I gather, it seems the entire purpose of this 'edge' project is a hardware one, not a software one. They're trying to gather the 'latest and greatest' hardware and make a phone out of it, which would by definition, not be found in an existing handset. I'm sure they'll try to push for their mobile os regardless of whether this fails or not, as it seems almost orthogonal to their mobile os efforts. Once they evaluate how feasible this 'cutting edge' handset idea is, I'm sure they'll continue to find devices to slap ubuntu touch on. But if they've had this 'premium phone' idea kicking around for a while, why not? This isn't an either/or scenario.

It will be interesting to find out how many real hardware people have had input on this. As an example, the battery is going to be "silicon-anode" - I didn't even know that was a thing, and Google only turns up weeks/months old articles on how researchers are trying to make them out of rice. Yet they're going to stick it in a phone.

If each hardware choice has been made like that, there's a huge risk with the project. If the battery doesn't come up to snuff mAh-wise, how long will that 4G RAM / beautiful screen / 128Gb SSD actually last day-to-day, including phone calls?

There doesn't really seem to be much information about the people doing the hardware, and why they think they can stuff so much new stuff into a small package in the space of a few months.

There appears to be a company working on silicon-anode batteries: http://www.nexeon.co.uk/about/an-introduction-to-nexeon/

They claim to have a prototype factory producing 500 phones worth of battery material per day. Not the scale Samsung needs but enough for a one off phone run.

Also, is the battery removable? I won't be getting one (married to Verizon at this point) but a non-removable battery would be a second deal breaker for me.

Also because they want a phone that is also suitable to be someones main computing device. So if they can get smartphone hardware makers a reason to push into higher spec'ed devices by demonstrating a market and providing a blueprint, that'd be a big win for them as it creates a bigger need for Ubuntu vs. "just" Android or alternatives.

I think this is a preview of things to come on other mobile OSs in the same way the openMoko open source phone was a harbinger of the first iPhone.

This Ubuntu prototype phone shows that the technology is ready for good phone/desktop integration. You can be sure Google and Apple are working on their own version of this and probably doing it with much more resources. Microsoft's attempt at convergence was premature and resulted in two OSs that superficially look the same but aren't really integrated.

I do think Ubuntu has much more chances of succeeding than openMoko ever had.

This indiegogo approach is a smart and bold strategy that could bring higher level of development resources than open source projects are usually able to get. Open source is good for getting a great community and great ideas together but often the thin margins and low barrier for competitors means we don't get the level of investment necessary to bring the polish, documentation and support necessary for mass appeal. A kickstarter/indiegogo approach could help with this under-investment issue.

Will it be enough? As a longtime Ubuntu desktop user, I can only hope.

Wow, lot of marketing speech from a platform targeted for geeks.

BTW: sapphire crystal is extremely heavy and shatter-prone compared to GG3, for example. There's a reason Corning makes so much money.

I don't get the impression that Ubuntu is targeted for geeks, that non-geek marketing speech has been there for a long time.

I want this. I already pay an Ubuntu premium for System76 computers. Anyone who has the Dell dev edition does the same.

But, Canonical, can you please extend the $600 price point for at least a month? This sudden 24 hour sale is too much of an impulse buy.

No kidding. It's always so tempting to jump in on these sort of "founder" things early, but $600 is not small change...

I bought it. If nothing this is the kind of innovation which makes me excited for computing and I want to support that.

Best case the phone will arrive just in time to replace my Nexus4. Common case I get a refund. Worst case the thing is a dud, either poor build quality or under-performance.

From a high level Canonical has taken the right decisions to avoid the worst case. Being a high end device there is plenty of margin for a good case. The System on Chip is off the shelf so perforamnce only depends on the software. If Ubuntu is too heavy for mobiles then I can revert to android. The high fund threashhold means the phone will have the volume for factory production.

Before my Nexus 4 I had a N900. The N900 was the closest thing yet to a linux computer in your pocket. I loved it, you could tell engineers developed the N900 as a phone for engineers by engineers. This Ubuntu Edge looks like a true spiritual successor.

Note that the entire campaign is about a month - 31 days to go. The $600 price has got to be an impulse one and get media attention right now.

As a successful crowdfunder myself, I almost cringed when I saw how many "rules" this campaign was breaking. Extremely high fundraising goal, long video, and almost no compelling reward options for people who love the idea but don't have $600 to spend. However, I think they've done at excellent job of understanding their target market. They know that early adopter/open source community relishes cutting edge hardware and a chance at becoming a consumer test group for the next step in mobile computing.

Additionally, they explain their thought processes around how they will choose the display and camera specs, which is much more powerful than explaining what the specs will be. I truly feel like I am funding an intelligent group of decision makers rather than a large scale manufacturing process.

I can't wait to see the results of the campaign and to hopefully have one of these phones in my hand!

I love the idea, but I simply do not see how they can make it work at this scale. Based on the numbers they will be ordering around 40,000 units. Can you really buy custom made components in small quantities and expect to get acceptable prices?

The only way I can see this working is if they partnered with a company who will be making this phone anyway, basically a phone that looks almost exactly like Ubuntu Edge. So basically they would start with maybe a $200 (to make) top of the line smartphone from one of the big manufacturers, and then spend $600 upgrading it with sapphire lens, fastest ARM CPU, 4GB ram and all the SSD memory. Here is the thing, I can see this working, because they can sell these phones at cost, or below cost, as an investment into the ecosystem. So, this might actually be a $800 phone that costs $800-900 to make.

However, I am worried about some of the unproven components like the sapphire lens and silicon-anode batteries. Can they find suppliers, and can they make it work in the phone. And will they have to recall all 40k of those phone when the battery expends to 4x the size or blows?

The problem to liking it with Formula 1 is, in F1, the engines, the cars, and all the other components are blown all the time, and then get rebuilt, tested, refined, and tested some more, by people who know what they are doing, not consumers.

I like the ambitious project, I just feel like they really need about 4x the budget or more to pull this of.

"If we don’t reach our target then we will focus only on commercially available handsets and there will not be an Ubuntu Edge."

That makes so much more sense to me that I'm having a hard time understanding why Canonical would even attempt to design and manufacture their own handset.

For the same reason Microsoft made the Surface and Google has the Nexus devices. "This is how it's done" sets a very strong precedence for OEMs to follow. Canonical can set the bar high right off the bat to avoid being like the first few years of Android phones.

> For the same reason Microsoft made the Surface and Google has the Nexus devices.

The Nexus handsets are basically third party handsets with some input from Google, but primarily engineered and built by the hardware partner (LG, Samsung, etc). It's not really comparable.

Microsoft do engineer and build the Surface themselves, but last time I checked they just took a $900 million loss on it. Hardly great stuff.

You've got to remember that Canonical have openly said that they wish to be the open source version of Apple - and to even exceed them, if possible. So when this philosophy collides with the practical approach of the Nexus series then you have this device.

And this is going to be a shitload of cheap PR.

Currently they are at $3.2M which is only 10% of their target. Yet the $600 level is sold out. If they had removed the cap on $600 orders, I could see this getting funded. But not if they expect the bulk of their money to come in at the $830 level.

I am not the right person for this, I guess.

I constantly break my phones by smashing them (by mistake) into various solid things or water, so I never buy any phone more expensive than 200 dollars. I really won't buy a phone for 830 dollars.

sapphire screen. I am in love with the idea of a sapphire screen. It's the same material as higher end watches, and those don't get scratches. I wonder how that affects its strength under dropping.

The hardness doesn't mean that it won't break or crack. The only difference is that in low-impact situations it won't scratch as easily.

I wonder how it'll handle high impact situations, then, like being dropped.

Given the novel shape, I imagine there won't be very many cases released for it...

I'm kind of torn about this. While I would like to see more diversity in the phone world, I wish that the focus this time was more on the open hardware and specifications. If Ubuntu is pushing this phone tied to the Ubuntu OS, they're really not that much different than what Apple and MS are doing with their mobile devices.

I'm assuming and hoping that if this launches, the hardware and software will be open enough for people to start making their own OSes. It's just unfortunate, and I feel in a way backwards thinking, to make this Kickstarter with such a huge funding goal and not have the focus be on why it's important and why it stands apart - which is I believe the open standards for hardware and software.

I'm just not a big fan of Ubuntu as an OS, and I'd love to have a phone that was so open that I had as many options in distros as I do on the desktop. I'd much rather see a Kickstarter for a completely open hardware phone that encouraged people to be creative with both the hardware and the software, which I don't think this project is going to promote other than an afterthought.

Canonical really seems to believe in the convergence of multiple computing platforms. They've staked a lot on it and ticked off a lot of people in the process. I don't know if it'll succeed, but I sure love seeing them try with such gusto. Succeed or fail, this sort of choice and innovation (not to mention debate)is what makes the FOSS community so interesting.

The 4.5" 1280x720 screen kills it.

It needs to have at least 5" 1920x1080 to display 1080p content without destroying information and to match or exceed the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 (and S5 since they ship in 2014).

And preferably non-Pentile AMOLED.

And also removable battery and one or more SD/micro-SD slots.

It's a pity since everything else seems great.

Wow, I expected better from people on HN. I suppose you are also one of those smug people with a 20 megapixel point and shoot who thinks it takes better pictures than my 12MP DSLR. Well I have news for you buddy. It doesn't and your 1080p pentile S4 looks no better playing movies than the Nexus 4, when held at a comfortable distance. In our house we have both a N4 and S4, and I'll take the N4 any time.

I'm no Ubuntu fan boy, but on this point, Shuttleworth is absolutely correct. 1080p buys you nothing, but costs valuable battery life and requires a much more powerful GPU to get the same performance.

Yes Mark has the right approach here, the colour rendition/accuracy of the iPhone 5 really makes it the best looking display I've seen. And I can't see the pixels - no need for higher res than that.

The price for one of the phones doesn't seem all that outrageous, I know if you wanted to buy a Samsung Galaxy S4 it's like $700 without a contract.

Being a college student I currently can't afford it, but I up voted and hope it works out. In the future I would love to buy a phone like this, it looks awesome.

I know this may seem silly, but just reading this little copy below the 'Contribute Now' button...made me chuckle:

This campaign will only receive funds if at least $32,000,000 is raised by Wed 21 Aug 11:59PM PT.

Oh...just $32M. Even though I read the $32,000,000 above and as of this posting they have already raised $3.2M, I am accustomed to seeing "this campaign will only receive funds if at least $50,000" or some other reasonable figure is there. Almost feels like an April's Fools.

Alas...I hope they achieve it - if nothing else for the history they will create....and the shockwaves it will send through the VC community.

Every time a crowd-sourced project passes some psychological barrier - say $1M, $2M, $5M, $10M it makes people perk up.

If they pass $2^5M....that will send shockwaves.

I think this is excellent marketing, if they get funded, they will prove that there is a market for this and it will make news for being the biggest crowd funded campaign ever. It will be all over the news and even people who have never heard of ubuntu will take a notice.

Is it going to use normal glibc EGL drivers for GPU, or it will use bionic ones with libhybris?

bionic with libhybris

Not exciting then. More interesting would be to crowdfund glibc drivers.

Maybe [1], but then Canonical is aiming at getting Ubuntu into as many phones as possible, and it working with the Android stack is helping in achieving this goal.

[1] On the other hand what would be a benefit of investing into getting drivers work with glibc, other than running your classic Linux distribution?

On the other hand what would be a benefit of investing into getting drivers work with glibc

To run without any translation layers and bionic quirks. That's the main benefit. When the system is using glibc (like Sailfish and Ubuntu do), and drivers aren't, the only way is to translate it like libhybris does. It's a crutch at best and not ideal. It can perform well, but it's still not direct.

What are the practical drawbacks of using libhybris? Have there been some benchmarks done yet?

I guess Jolla engineers would know the most, since they are primarily developing it:

* http://mer-project.blogspot.se/2013/04/wayland-utilizing-and...

* http://mer-project.blogspot.se/2013/05/wayland-utilizing-and...

But I didn't see any comparative benchmarks published so far. Translation cost might be not critical (i.e. tolerable), but it's still a cost and native approach should be always better.

So, ten people each putting in $100K? Because I think that's how many people care about this issue.

If people care about mobile Linux, they care about this issue (it's the worst issue in the industry). If people don't care, they wouldn't care about this device either. There are tons of Android clones already for them to use.

What would be so bad about rebuilding Ubuntu on top of Bionic, so there's only one libc, the one required by the GPU drivers, and the lighter one to boot? If Bionic is good enough for FIrefox and Chrome on Android, then surely it's good enough for anything on a mobile device.

Lot's of stuff - talk to Collabora developers who attempted to rebuild some common Linux middleware atop of bionic. It's very difficult, painful and upstream bionic has no interest to cooperate to help this process. So I conclude that it's a pointless time wasting. Mobile Linuxes should continue to use glibc and working on getting the drivers. Libhybris is a good tool that helps deployment until normal drivers will become more common. TL;DR - bionic is not good enough to replace glibc.

I have not been this enthusiastic about a product since the introduction of the iPhone, iPad or Google Maps and I'm not even a Linux-fanboy.

I love how they are pursuing convergence of desktop and mobile, I haven't seen anyone try this successfully yet.

How does this compare to Mozilla's Firefox OS? Are both phones similarly "open source" in terms of hardware and software?

>We also believe the race for ever higher resolution has become a distraction. Beyond 300ppi you’re adding overhead rather than improving display clarity.

This isn't completely true, higher PPI improves readability (and looks) of the text that's written using more complex characters like Chinese Hanzi or Japanese Kanji even beyond that line at smaller distances. Here's an image that illustrates this:


Not to mention it's useful for displaying 1080p without losing information.

I don't read Chinese on my phone, but I do care about gaming and battery life. In both those cases, an equivalent 720p phone will outperform a 1080p phone. Shuttleworth is making the right trade-off in this case.

I really like the idea of an Ubuntu phone, but the desktop thing is just weird.

I really can't see a use-case for it.

Aside from a drastic increase in the chances of dropping my entire computing resources in a toilet, or leaving them in a pub, usable desktops can be had for around £200.

And you still need a desk at home with a monitor, keyboard and mouse. At a time when people have largely ditched that idea in favour of a laptop or tablet form-factor.

The fact that it's on Indiegogo suggests they've tried to get commercial investors and failed because it's unmarketable, which is frustrating because I think a straight Ubuntu phone could really make an impact.

I have an use-case, but I doubt it's very widespread: I always carry my DSLR around, and wouldn't mind a few extra pounds in the bag.. so instead of a phone, I'd rather see a small brick; not even meant to be held to your face ever, but used with a headset, and with plenty of USB ports on it.

I mean sure, phones will get as fast as desktops are today, but then a bigger computer will still be faster, and I would still have to do any heavy lifting on the desktop.

I don't do video myself, but even "just" processing photos and using Renoise requires more resources than I think even this thing can offer; basically, I have songs I can't work on unless the machine is at least as fast as my current desktop. The same would apply for doing stuff with WebGL: it doesn't have to be a gamer GPU, but it can't be a phone either. For me, that at best does for consuming, but not for creating. Especially since creating becomes more fun when it's more fluid, the minimum requirements don't cut it and more is better.

Even a mouse I have to lug around, and a foldable full keyboard, sound better than a laptop keyboard to me - I can't stand touchpads, or keys with 50 functions on them to save space. I could even get used to running around with a backpack if it meant I could have a real keyboard. And of course there's always internet cafes, which I would expect to offer a working spaces where you use your own computer, if stuff like this became reality.

A phone that docks as a desktop Ubuntu would be perfect for my use case.

I use desktop computer (Mac Mini) in three locations, and I have bought spare keyboards, dual monitors and mice for all of these. My phone is already more powerful than the desktop. But even when I had a laptop, I never used it on the move - always plugging into docks with monitors and full-size keyboards.

It would be very convenient to have a single computer to set up and carry with me in a pocket, instead of having to either sync work and settings via "the cloud" all the time, or carry a backpack for the mini.

Is it realistic to deliver the phone at this time frame, given the vagueness of the specs? My only crowdfunding experience (Pebble) was not pleasant in it's long delays, and they gave the impression of being closer to production than Ubuntu Edge. Also, what previous experience does Ubuntu have of hardware design and manufacturing. I also realize that they can source this, like from Taiwan as they mention, but they still need to be significantly involved.

My prediction is that backing will slow considerably now when the lower backing price point has closed.

The missing bit that stands out is the processor. They seem to have all of the peripheral hardware fairly well specified, but the power consumption and final dimensions, etc. are strongly dependent on the processor they choose.

I thought about backing this myself, but then I remembered that it's our propensity as developers to get the best hardware for ourselves that leads to resource-hungry software, which means a poor experience for the less fortunate of our users. In that light, it seems to me that a super-high-end phone like this, particularly one aimed at developers, is obscene. So I won't be buying one of these. Indeed, I'm thinking of deliberately buying a low-end Android phone whenever I eventually decide to switch from my iPhone 4.

I have a low end Android phone (Galaxy Ace) and it's painfully slow to use. It won't even keep up with me typing in the Messages app, let alone browsing the web or using any apps.

So much so that all I use my phone for (besides the occasional call) is to enable wireless tethering and use my iPod Touch as my primary device instead.

I own a low-powered Android phone and iPhone 3GS for testing, but my normal phone is an IP5. Old phones can be had very cheaply on Craigslist or Ebay. You don't have to make your everyday phone use a nightmare.

"For a phone to run a full desktop OS, it must have the raw power of a PC. We’ll choose the fastest available multi-core processor, at least 4GB of RAM and a massive 128GB of storage"

I would love to be wrong but I'm not buying the promise of a (real world functioning) PC on a phone. ARM based chips are 1 order of magnitude slower than a desktop x86 counterpart, currently there is no such processor to perform as desktop. Maybe they are going the intel road, anyway the indiegogo pitch sounds more like wishful thinking than a real plan.

My team dogfoods Ubuntu for Android every single day on the Nexus 4, and I'll say that it's performant enough to be a daily driver as a desktop replacement.

Edge has 4GB of RAM planned, and will run even better than the N4.

hows the camera for you? I use the n4 with android and the camera digital blur / tearing is pretty annoying. did you get around that or not use the camera much?

Ubuntu for Android is our convergence product: http://www.ubuntu.com/phone/ubuntu-for-android

So we still use the Android software to drive the camera.

As a photographer though, I have to say that I don't exactly hate the N4 camera. Built-in HDR is kinda nice, and has saved many shots for me.

Is this available somewhere public?

Sorry, it is not public yet.

Macbook Airs aren't as powerful as desktop Mac Pros, but they offer a great convenience to the owners. It's "good enough" for most things. I see the Ubuntu Edge as a similar device.

> full desktop OS

Maemo (full-fledged Debian-based mobile distro, now dead, thanks Elop) user here.

Is Ubuntu Phone really running a full-fledged desktop-as-we-know-it GNU/Linux-derived distro? Because, after I heard about bionic+libhybris stuff and some chroot kludges I start highly doubt it. It's as "Ubuntu desktop" as chrooted Ubuntu install on Android, except for more optimized (compared to VNC-to-localhost, huh) video pipeline.

My perception is that it's neither typical-GNU neither Android but something partially (in)compatible to both.

Would be really nice if I'm wrong on this matter.

Your "wrong", but only b/c the container flip happened recently. They had the Android chroot thing to get going quickly, from what I can gather.


Ubuntu Touch is fully Ubuntu and can take advantage of all that goodness.

Interesting that 27 people have opted to pay the $830 today, rather than the $600 that they could have paid.

I feel kind of bad for them. They really should convert these people with poor reading skills to the $600 price.

Why do you think they have poor reading skills? Perhaps they wanted to throw in a little extra, but not the next tier up at $10,000.

Remember, you can donate at any level you want. If someone donated $1000, they would probably chose the $830 option to give more people a chance to get the $600 option.

Remember, you shouldn't think of Kickstarter or Indiegogo projects as a pre-order. It's a donation to a project that you think is worthy; where you may get a substantial reward if that project goes well.

The Edge is trying to solve a problem in hardware which is best left to software.

The problem: when you move between your devices, your apps look and act different, and they don't auto resume your state. But that's just because the software isn't mature yet. Eventually you will be able to compose a draft in Gmail online, unfinished, and the Gmail app on your smartphone will open to the draft automatically, and cloud apps will work the same everywhere--on the phone, on the desktop, and on the web.

And even if the apps are not completely identical, they will be good enough: I can switch from driving my car to a rental car without any issue; the interfaces to a car are fundamentally similar across all cars. So too with apps on various devices. It's just not a big deal. This is actually good for the Edge as most desktop displays do not support touch (and wouldn't work well if they did) so you'll still be shifting between touch and mouse, or touch and keyboard.

Solving this problem in hardware is sub-optimal: you'll always be fiddling around with monitor, keyboard, and mouse cables; your CPU, GPU, and RAM is limited; and your Internet connection will be slower from the phone than it would be had you plugged in to your 100Mbps+ cable connection from your cheap Ubuntu or Mac desktop.

"Although our core business is software for PCs and the cloud, we know the phone industry pretty well too."

"We’ve scoured the research labs of the biggest companies and most exciting startups for the latest and greatest mobile technologies to specify the first-generation Edge."

Do the people involved actually have hardware experience? That's not clear to me, and the second passage gives the impression of treating a phone as a collection of parts.

32 mil is a pretty risky first project…

Yes, we have collective centuries of hardware experience.

No, we do not think a phone is a collection of parts.

Good to hear!

I imagine they'll contract out the manufacture - they'll be collaborating with a manufacturer who makes phones presumably - they say the manufacturer is in Taiwan, but don't specify who.

The features they list are pretty standard on a high-end smartphone for next year, though perhaps not usually seen together.

It would be great if it came straight with the 64-bit ARMv8 architecture (a quad core Cortex A57 chip, I suppose), although that would mean being released in 2nd half of 2014, but they should probably wait until they can put Ubuntu 14.10 (Mir-only) or at least Ubuntu 14.04 LTS anyway. Coming with stock Android 5.0 or 5.1 would be great, too.

Why no 802.11ac Wi-Fi though? By then pretty much all high-end devices should have it (HTC One and Galaxy S4 already have it).

> at least 4GB of RAM

This seems... odd, or the 'at least' bit does. The first 64bit ARM chips are due late next year, and will be very much server-targeted.

You're thinking AMD?

Current ARM processors already support up to 1TB of RAM via something called "Large Physical Address Extension".

Eek, yes, forgot about that. PAE comes back from the grave, to annoy people!

Am I missing something? How is this phone any different from say Google Nexus 4, or Samsung Galaxy S4? E.g. Google Nexus 4 has almost the same specs other than RAM, Storage and Dual LTE. But it is only for $300.

More specifically, how does the Formula 1 analogy fit in? This phone is priced about the same as iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and has almost the same specs.

You consider double the RAM, double the storage space, the fastest CPU available by HW sign-off, sapphire crystal and full metal uni-body to be 'almost the same specs'?

I must admit, I do like the look of this phone and I've followed Canonical for years now - but please, lets be realistic on both sides here - these specs are not 'almost the same'. They're not even close.

It isn't. The F1 analogy is horrible IMO.

This thread is full of fanboys.

What's cool is that it will be the first available device where users can test an Ubuntu smartphone that can be used as an Ubuntu PC when docked. They've been showing this off for years but as far as I know it hasn't hit any actual devices.

This is the opposite of what I want.

What I want is a hub device along the lines of a Huawei Mifi device that will share a 4g connection with numerous other devices using a low power hardware and software stack, perhaps the latest Bluetooth.

Then I want my phone to be less powerful, to run most apps on the cloud and generally do little more than render things prettily.

I want camera lenses, display surfaces, input devices (keyboard, pen/stylus, augmented reality glasses, headsets, etc) to all mesh together, sharing bandwidth for intra-device communication... and ultimately all using the hub for communication.

I no longer want large and ever more powerful and feature rich phones or computers, I want to smash things up and have a choice of small bits that each do one thing very well.

Basically Star Trek communication device and then a lot of peripherals.

This is what the market will produce, eventually, after it has tried everything else, but especially everything that acts to lock consumers into long-term deals with the 2.5 remaining wireless carriers.

(Actually if this constellation of devices is mesh-like enough in architecture, the 4g modem won't be particularly special either: you'll keep it in your pocket, never look at it, and it will only be used [automatically, seamlessly] when wifi or its successors aren't available.)

This was a strange post for me... just in the voting history.

It was upvoted like crazy, then downvoted like crazy, then upvoted again, and downvoted again.

It's come out very neutral, barely +1 or 0 now, but at the same time it's the most downvoted post I've ever made.

What is so objectionable about the post that merited the quantity of downvotes? And were the upvotes because other people agreed with the idea and also want this?

How about a Bug Block from http://buglabs.net/ and a pile of Zigbee sensors from http://www.zigbeesensors.co.uk/

Reached 100+ K in an hour!!!

They have to average $42K an hour for the next month for this to work. That realistically means they need to pull in a few million in the first few days.

At the moment, they're averaging $53K every 15 minutes. I know it's the initial rush, but it does look promising.

I wonder how many of us are going to watch the site for a few days, track the average hourly funding rate, then decide if we want to commit based on the likelihood of the round being successful? Sort of Victor Vroom outcome motivation.

Why do we do that? if you are interested commit, if the project fails you get the money back for sure.

That may or may not be true. Indiegogo (unlike Kickstarter) offers a flexible funding option which lets fundraises keep what they raise, regardless of whether or not they meet their goal.

[EDIT] - Never mind, just saw the fixed funding underneath the fundraising target :)

~400+ K in 2 hours. The start is definitely good, we'll have to see if they keep it up.

In just 4 hours, it is at $703,945. Already the 9th most funded project on Indiegogo.


To start with, I was skeptical. 32mil? But, I watched the video, and realised that Ubuntu are trying to achieve what I've always dreamed of and asked for: an enthusiasts phone at the cutting edge.

I've backed it. I hope that this is the future of mass produced electronics.

I don't know how viable a crowd-funding campain can be for a smartphone.

1 year until delivery seems fair for the makers, but unfortunately the competition will during this time release new devices with better specs.

Looks cool though. Reminds me physically of the Motorola DROID RAZR.

Fairphone hit their target; they haven't shipped yet but it looks good. http://www.fairphone.com

Props for mentioning Fairphone! I can't wait to get mine in October.

Ubuntu Edge does look good though, mostly because it should be a viable hybrid Mobile/Desktop replacement. While I won't be supporting it, I do hope it goes ahead.

Is it just me, or does it seem like Canonical is taking all of their design cues from Microsoft at this point? Ubuntu's mobile OS uses all the same kind of edge swipes that Windows 8 uses and this phone looks like a small Surface.

At this point, everyone in the mobile OS, whether it be Android, iOS or Windows Phone is "inspiring" something from one another. I am just glad there are new competitions in the mobile space along with the fact that they are encouraging HTML5 apps.

If you've been following the phone industry for a while you'll realise this isn't all design cues from Microsoft. You'll find a lot more in common with Nokia's N9 than WP8.

Wait a second ... 32 millions ...rings a bell. Isn't that current Canonical debt ?

"they may still be $7millionGBP from being insolvent" source: http://www.linuxadvocates.com/2013/05/is-canonical-ltd-finan...


I wouldn't advise using that guy as a source of reliable information.

For far more balanced views that aren't pro-Ubuntu (necessarily) it would be more advisable to visit a site like The Var Guy.

Neither would I recommend taking my comment too seriously. I was half-joking ;-)

Yeah, I was referring to parent comments link to LinuxAdvocates. =)

Using crowdfunding wastes a huge part of the raised money on taxes. It looks like a sign of Canonical not being able to find investors. Jolla for example did, and I take it as a sign of maturity and expertise in the field.

Seriously, how exactly does crowdfunding 'waste' more money than buying something - you have to pay taxes of everything you buy anyway. You can at best argue that it's a 'waste' if we don't hit the target and no phone is produced.

The reality is that the Phone industry isn't incentivised to build products like Ubuntu Edge. It's a limited run, high-end product rather than mass-volume. In that context coming up with interesting ideas and then testing whether there's interest with crowdfunding is completely appropriate.

ps I work for Canonical so obviously I'm biased.

Seriously, how exactly does crowdfunding 'waste' more money than buying something - you have to pay taxes of everything you buy anyway.

Unless I misunderstood something, crowdfunding (in current form) has low effective outcome, since it's taxed as presales (which axes the raised funds significantly). I think it's a bit weird, since in essence this is fundraising, and not presales, but this how it works for some reason. Investment doesn't work the same way, and the input can be used for the intended purpose much more effectively.

Canonical, put Intel in this thing. 22nm Silvermont or 14nm silvermont will make this thing a beauty to behold. Reach out to your contacts within intel, because that will offer the performance you are looking for!

32 million dollars? 830$ for a device, when high end MTK based phones cost max 300 (Zopo, THL, etc.) on the European market, and less than that in China?

They haven't got a clue... Why don't they start making working ROMs for existing phones. If they targeted a few existing high end phones and the ubiquitous and cheap MT6589 models (quad core, many with full HD screens) they might have a better chance of starting to spread their OS and intriguing users and developers.

High end and Mediatek are a contradiction. They're probably looking at something like a Snapdradon 900.

I would have preordered it if it had a physical QWERTY keyboard.

Am I the only one not using paypal for large purchases? I came home just to verify my paypal account (required for purchases over $500 and needs a check to get the routing info), but it takes 2-3 days to complete the process. I would love to support this project, but it doesn't look the logistics of it are going to work out for me. edit: Just got off the phone and my account was actually restricted for some reason. I'm in for one at the $600 rate.

I didn't have a paypal account before last night. After signing up I found the payment gateway quite broken (paypal have sent me several emails now saying i have successfully added a card ending in 0000). So now I have £800 floating around somewhere in cyberspace, accounts on two websites that I don't care to give any business to and most key to the issue; no pledge to this project.

Screw Paypal!

It sounds like it will only be available to people who support the crowdfunding. I'd love to buy one, but I'm on CDMA at the moment and committing to buying a phone 9 months out seems a bit idiotic, especially when you consider that I'd have to switch service providers before I can even use it. I think I would buy the phone (I love the concept) but its not something I can commit to so far in advance, even if it means missing out entirely.

I love this concept, but I can't help but think:

If apple releases the next iphone with an hdmi compatible connection, that would eliminate the benefit of this, no?

You don't get a full desktop OS (Mac OS X) when you dock the iPhone. I assume that's what you mean, your comment was a little unclear.

I am imagining a layout similar to an ipad, just for a larger monitor. Apple is slowly moving their desktop OS to a mobile-like experience.

I don't think I would like a 30" iphone/ipad interface. Would you?

I don't have an iMac, so I can't say :)

But seriously: IMO, that's where the market is heading.

The iPhone does support HDMI out via an adaptor, and has since the iPhone 4 (though screen mirroring only showed up on the 4S; the 4's video out was just for apps that supported it). Various Android devices do, too.

Any idea does this also ship from UK? That's a big difference for Europeans since else we have to pay for the high import taxes (24% here).

I really think they're overestimating who they perceive their target audience to be. 830USD is more than an unlocked iPhone 5...

I think you'll find that, with due respect, this will kick an iPhone 5's ass around the neighbourhood and back by the time it's released (pending funding success). Not least because it will have better specifications.

Specs don't make the phone. Original iPhone with lousy specs still would kick some modern Android phones asses in smooth-scrolling department.

I admire this effort. However what we need is a fully free phone (Hardware schematics, source code). I am really disturbed about all that network connection, GPS yet so little transparency.

Have you ever seen a movie, where the rogue agent does not take out and destroy the phone, like it is a devil work :P

Any knowledge on hardware schematics, source code, license issues?

Can I assume this won't work on Verizon?

We are not currently planning on supporting CDMA.

There might be some financial sense in backing this, whether you intend to use it or not. If it does not get funded, you get your money back. If it does get funded and made, you'll be an owner of a limited edition run of a beastly phone, whose resale value will probably be significantly higher than its current price.

I love the convergence thing. I've been predicting and hoping that things would get to a point where I could just have one device that I use for home, work, and everything. Canonical is making it happen and I will do anything I can to support it and be a part of it!

Regarding the desktop side....hardware wise we're not there yet but personally i'm convinced that this is the future (maybe in 5-10 years if Intel and AMD keep it up ? ). Single device which will be desktop, phone, game console, ebook reader etc.

Something must be wrong here.) If it such a good idea, then there will be a long queue of big shot investors, like that one before the Apple store.

It seems that Canonical have only good concepts, but not a world-class engineering team (like Google's) to make it real.

Interesting, but we'll need a faster selling rate, any friends? ;) http://movebits.net/2013/07/23/ubuntu-edge-funding-level/

$32 million? Well they mention formula 1, are they bootstrapping a new team maybe?

This is all cool of course. But will it last more than 2 hours on one charge?

I'm so happy Canonical is pushing this innovation. As soon as I heard about their initial attempt in mobile OS on a Atrix, I knew this is where computing had to be going.

That phone's design looks so slick too!

I was just talking about me wanting a mobile device I can call my phone and my laptop at the same breath. Something I can take in my pocket and hook up to a keyboard/monitor setup when needed.

Well that's fucking awesome.

But uhh...doesn't Canonical already have money? :P

There is a limit to how much money one can waste while remaining wealthy.

A few stats for the past hour (0900-1000 EDT, 23JUL):

$18,000 raised, $14,940 from Ubuntu Edge (18 handsets, 83% of total), 8 undisclosed donations

Translates to $432,000/day and $12,960,000 for the next 30 days.

is it possible to download this "Ubuntu for Android" application that they are showcasing in the Software video, running on Nexus 4? Can't find anything about it...

Not according to this:


Sorry, it's not available for public download at this time.

I wonder what 'Fastest multi-core CPU' actually equates to. Has anyone found technical specifications that include a more specific value than 'fastest'?

The fact that they don't provide details probably means that the processor hasn't been announced yet. Presumably it will be faster than a Snapdragon MSM8974. http://www.anandtech.com/show/7082/snapdragon-800-msm8974-pe...

Yesterday, Shuttleworth said the processor hadn't been chosen yet.

I only have one question - battery life? This is the only thing that matters if it becomes a hinderance, and the only thing that doesn't matter if it's not.

We have the same question, they did not mention anything about battery life. I'm not sure about the video, I don't have my sound card installed on my office workstation. If this could last as 5 hrs for an Ubuntu Desktop, I'll buy one.

We assume it will be plugged into AC when in desktop mode.

Dummy question:

"Dual LTE antennas"

Does this also mean double the radiation?

I think this means that the phone is equipped with antennas for different "LTE/4G" frequencies. This makes the phone work with different carriers throughout the world. The second antenna is for compatibility.

It's unlikely that the phone will spend power activating antennas that are not in use given the carrier/geographic standard, so my best guess is this: No. You will not see double the radiation.

(I could be completely wrong here, though. I'm not a cellular engineer by any standard.)

No, it seems double MIMO antenna or something. There already are multiple LTE bands. Qualcomm's S800 will support 20 different ones, and they are planning for 40 in the future.

This actually confused me, too.

I did preorder, now that hopefully it will work on T-mobile network. (Which uses somewhat oddball frequency...)

$600 is a lot to go all-in on a phone that won't hit the market until May 2014. The specs look great, but who knows what will happen in 6-8 months.

They don't even have final specs nailed down, and they're trying to raise $32 million for a production run?

I think that’s why it is called an "experiment".

Except there isn't "experiment" anywhere on that page, it is being billed as a final, nearly-complete product.

the campaign, I meant.

> Forget gorilla glass, we have crystal!

I liked that part

32,000,000... I missed a zero, first few times I read it.

If they make it, I will give a damn about Death Star not getting funded :P

Can I program, build and install app right on this device without the need of another machine(macbook, pc)?

Does the $830 perk include as well the docking station additionally to the phone? Or is it the phone alone?

I ordered one, but there's absolutely no way this is going to crack 10 million, let alone 32.

Can I hook this up to my Verizon account (which I currently still have unlimited data on)?

Man, that guy needs to spend some of his money on a body language coach.

More importantly: 37 people decided they wanted to pay $230 extra?

God's phone

I want to hook this up to an Oculus Rift.

Money well spent that it was.

What a talentless useless bullshit.

So don't buy it :) Better yet, don't waste another moment thinking about it!

Haha oh wow. They're charging hundreds of dollars to add a free OS into a smartphone. And they expect to get 32 million just for the promise. Someone lock these people up before they do some real damage.

I would downvote you if I could. I'm pretty tired of seeing snark like this and thinking how many people get discouraged of trying something new and bold for fear it would be met with an attitude like yours. Piss off.

Except it's not "new and bold", it's literally Ubuntu on a smartphone for far above the market price. Add some marketing buzzwords about how it will revolutionize computing and people start seeing clothes on the emperor.

I don't know if they'll pull off the desktop integration, but meanwhile can you recommend a phone I can put into a dock and work on as a desktop PC. That seems pretty new and bold to me.

In February, i-mate announced a Windows 8 Phone (not Windows Phone 8) http://blogs.seattletimes.com/brierdudley/2013/02/25/new-win...

A decade or so ago, a Pocket PC would have done the job. I think it was Toshiba who offered a $25 adaptor so you could plug in your PC's USB keyboard.

It looks like the money is for building the hardware too, not just the software.

That's no excuse for an $800 price tag. It just means they're charging customers for their bad decisions (as in not using others' hardware).

It's meant to be cutting edge new hardware, which will not be found in preexisting smartphones (Because it's a hardware project.)

Why not 1920x1080??? WHYYYYYYYY?????

Shuttleworth has a 2012 net worth of $500 Million USD plus - yet he wants the common Ubuntu fanboy to fund his latest project?


He's shopping for customers

So how this works... ?

I fund, then Amazon tracks what I search by default on my machine ?

Or I fund and you FIGHT AGAINST a project maintained by voluntary people ?

OK, I 'll NOT fund you.

I see down votes in this comment I did.

Sorry if someone did feel offended.

I did feel offended by Cannonical seeking my funds, and I've my personal reasons to not fund them.

Maybe I did not express it the best way, but anyway it's my personal opinion.

I could fund them if I could make them sign a contract, about what and how is going to be done. I don't trust them, and what I did say in that comment it's just 2 little examples.

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