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.
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.
"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."
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.
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!
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.
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?
According to the qt blog, only qtquick2 depends on v8.
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.
If you don't insist on the "Ubuntu" part, FirefoxOS offers everything you want, and is available on various devices right now:
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).
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"  APIs.
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).
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.
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 ;-)
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 :)
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.
The Indiegogo campaign is just a sideline, not the core strategy.
But if it is ARM and it still works, then it would still be a nice office platform.
* 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.
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.
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?
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).
 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.
Maybe the lack of games make Linux users appreciate it more?
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.
I'm not au courant with Linux in any of its various forms, so my assumptions above could be wildly wrong, of course.
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.
A single, idealistic phone like this will allow those users to focus and buy it - in much the same way as the games.
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.
Source: From country where pirated windows used to be norm. Still is in ethical standpoint. Only OS bundled with computers has changed that.
Count me in the 'buys games' lot.
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 havn't really had any problems playing any game that works on *NIX so far - not that there's all that many.. but still.
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.
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.
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 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.
"If you paid with your debit card or credit card, your payment is refunded to that card."
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 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.
It doesn't sound to inspiring in the long term though.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%).
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
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.
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.
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'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)
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.
quote from comment section:
"It's a premier, demonstration platform, not a mass market device." -achiang
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.
As far as I am concerned they may have just typed in a random number in the millions as people like goals.
This is for selling the whole production series.
It is only around 40 000 phones. Most phones sell at least in millions.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Give me longer battery life and better gaming performance over a meaningless spec. sheet number.
I'm not saying they there isn't potential, I just don't have as much faith in Canonical as you seem to.
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.
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.
That said, my money's on these guys to pull it off. My only concern is quality control and support/maintenance.
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 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, 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
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
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.
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...)
I'd much prefer to have a single trusted device than spread my digital life across "a cloud".
IBM's MetaPad was a similar idea.
Today, the Asus PadFone probably comes closest.
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.
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.
That's not a problem for anybody else. It's practically a non-issue.
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.
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.
I know about the cloud. I distrust the cloud. The cloud is not for me.
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!
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.
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).
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.
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 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.
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.
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."
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.
It's a premier, demonstration platform, not a mass market device.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Unrelated: if you simply want to test drive Ubuntu for Phones, it's already been ported to 40+ platforms.
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.
Isn't it just for OEMs? Or am I missing something?
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.
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.
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.
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.
BTW: sapphire crystal is extremely heavy and shatter-prone compared to GG3, for example. There's a reason Corning makes so much money.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Given the novel shape, I imagine there won't be very many cases released for it...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
 On the other hand what would be a benefit of investing into getting drivers work with glibc, other than running your classic Linux distribution?
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.
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.
I love how they are pursuing convergence of desktop and mobile, I haven't seen anyone try this successfully yet.
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 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 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.
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.
My prediction is that backing will slow considerably now when the lower backing price point has closed.
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 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.
Edge has 4GB of RAM planned, and will run even better than the N4.
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.
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.
Ubuntu Touch is fully Ubuntu and can take advantage of all that goodness.
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 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.
"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…
No, we do not think a phone is a collection of parts.
The features they list are pretty standard on a high-end smartphone for next year, though perhaps not usually seen together.
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).
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.
Current ARM processors already support up to 1TB of RAM via something called "Large Physical Address Extension".
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.)
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?
[EDIT] - Never mind, just saw the fixed funding underneath the fundraising target :)
I've backed it. I hope that this is the future of mass produced electronics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If apple releases the next iphone with an hdmi compatible connection, that would eliminate the benefit of this, no?
But seriously: IMO, that's where the market is heading.
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?
It seems that Canonical have only good concepts, but not a world-class engineering team (like Google's) to make it real.
That phone's design looks so slick too!
But uhh...doesn't Canonical already have money? :P
$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.
"Dual LTE antennas"
Does this also mean double the radiation?
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.)
I did preorder, now that hopefully it will work on T-mobile network. (Which uses somewhat oddball frequency...)
I liked that part
If they make it, I will give a damn about Death Star not getting funded :P
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.
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.
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.