Aug 22 AT 2:13 PM Dima Aryeh 16 Comments

The Ubuntu Edge crowdfunding campaign raises $13 mil, just $19 mil short


Canonical had a very lofty goal: make a high-tech phone that could demonstrate the abilities of its mobile operating system. To make that device, it would have to throw in some pretty impressive specs. Had things gone according to plan, we would have seen a 4.5-inch 720p display under sapphire crystal, an 8MP camera, multi-core CPU, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage and the ability to dual boot Ubuntu and Android packed in a 9mm thick shell made out of textured aluminum, called the Ubuntu Edge.

Canonical set their expectations high with a massive goal to raise $32 million in funding. The first 5,000 phones disappeared at only $600, but the rest were a bit more difficult to sell. They ended up doing more promotions at $625, $675 and $725, but the full price was $830. A bit of a hard sell, but it could have worked.

Unfortunately, it didn’t. The Edge raised a very impressive $12.8 million dollars, but that meant the project was still over $19 million short. It’s unfortunate, but it tells us that public interest isn’t quite strong enough. Maybe the Edge was ahead of its time, and in three years we’ll be seeing devices a lot like it. We’re sad to see it fail, but life will go on and technology will continue to advance. Maybe next year, an even better Edge will come out with a lower goal. I really think the high goal is what killed it. Why do you think the Edge failed? Was it the price or something else?

Via: The Verge

Source: Indiegogo

Dima Aryeh is obsessed with all things car and tech. His time is split between gaming and fixing his racecar. He also does photography in his spare time.

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  • Sean Riley

    On the plus side they may have secured the honor of the most successful unsuccessful crowd funding project of all time.

    • Lenora G. Belin

      my neighbor’s mother-in-law makes ($)71/hour on the laptop. She has been laid off for 5 months but last month her check was ($)19119 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this web site… C­­a­­f­­e­­4­­4.â„‚­­â„´­­â„³

  • Scott Eppler

    I think the high goal mixed with spending $600+ on a phone you won’t receive (and can’t even checkout in a store) until sometime next year. Many people (Americans especially) don’t particularly care to buy phones outright due to the high price as it is, let alone adding in a long wait to that before they can actually see the phone.

    • Scott Eppler

      I wanted to add that, personally, I thought $675 was a great price for this phone and did contribute. My comment was more what I think most ‘consumers’ were thinking.

    • Dima Aryeh

      I agree with that completely

    • epps720

      I agree and was really tempted by this but I just can’t throw $600+ at a device that I don’t even know if it will run well. Didn’t they show off Ubuntu at CES last year on an N4 and it ran horribly? They can obviously fix that but not willing to gamble on it. Now if they came out with that phone and it works, flawlessly. I’m all in! Hopefully they can find other investors to make this happen.

  • Gijsbert

    A lot of trust has been asked for what remains quite a uncertain proposition. Who, after all, is Canonical/Ubuntu? What is their reputation in the field of mobile hardware? (And in the field of mobile software. ) If they would have asked for a much smaller amount of money, just seed capital, in a much earlier stage, and repeated that gesture by trying to get additional capital from like sources as the project would have advanced, they probably would have slowly built a community, capital, momentum and trust. And be more successful. Capital and getting capital ask for patience, not haste, let alone greed.
    Another thing: some people suggest this in fact was something like a PR move, meant to build more familiarity and name recognition in the market. If that has been so, they have succeeded but lost my trust. One should not play with crowdfunding: it is about capital, not PR.

  • SGB101

    The whole thing may not of been to raise $32mil,(that would just be a bonus), but actually test the market, as $32mill @ $700 is only 45k devices.

    The 45k may be the magic number they need to break even on the tooling and first run.

    Now as they didn’t get anywhere close, I can’t see this happening as a stand alone device, and now a partnership with a oem may need to be struck.

    It could be a side project for Samsung, but as they have tizen,so I can’t see it. I think HTC has had it hands burnt to often by FB, and Nokia is tied in with m$, so it will most likely be a ZTE, but then you have the chinees/America combo that don’t trust each other, so then no company from either contry will want/trust it.

    That leaves moto, after all they wanted a dual boot with android, so this may be a good in road to corporate IT for Google and give Ubuntu some proper backing, pair that with the 3.10 kernel that is rumoured and I may be onto summit.

    Or I maybe talking poo. Actually I am, but if it happens I’m taking full credit. ;o)

    • masterpfa

      The amount raised would demonstrate that there is a market for this type of device. The method of trying to raise these funds fell short by a huge amount but as you state with another OEM these costs could be absorbed by a major player quite easily.
      Who this OEM is would be anyones guess.

      • SGB101

        It shows a very limited market at 18k,but they is @ $700 for an unproven device that is 6 months away, so that is going to skew the results.

        But maybe a repair poised nexus or similar at $4/500 or heavy subsidised, would have to be free in UK, to even natch the top end devices. Demonstrate it’s security and business benefits and it may have legs, for a higher end $700 device in the future.

  • Russell Neches

    It was the price, all the way. Most of their market is in the US, and the US market is used to subsidized phone prices. Canonical blundered badly by branding the Edge as a phone.

    If they had branded it as an $830 laptop in the form factor of a phone, they would have won over a bigger chunk of the market. As it was, they only appealed to Ubuntu users who are also willing to pay full price for a phone.

    A simple thing they could have done to address this problem is to have included extras, like a clamshell screen/keyboard/trackpad device that would let you use an Ubuntu convergence device as a laptop. Or a desktop docking station. That would have made it much more clear what the Edge was all about.

  • donger

    Wow, sad.

  • diordna

    Why didn’t Canonical go for an older model to flagship this OS or just target spefic phones for the initial install? I thought when they were doing this they were targeting the Galaxy Nexus devices. They could have bought old and new Galaxy Nexus devices and re-purposed them. Asking the public for 32 million for this project is a little much especially for an unproven mobile OS.

  • andreas

    The problem with Ubuntu edge is that any high end smartphone with WiGig technology could theoretically perform the same tricks.

  • Scott Tilney

    Price is way too high for software that has not yet been proven. Introduce it cheap, and get the device in as many hands as possible. Once its been established, and can make a higher end device at a higher price.