Earlier this summer we saw Canonical take the ambitious step of attempting to crowdfund the production of a smartphone, its Ubuntu Edge. While the project ended up setting some crowdfunding records, it fell seriously short of its $32M target, and as a result, won’t be getting manufactured. That was a big disappointment to backers, but even if the project failed, it still demonstrated that there was some significant support out there. Now we’re hearing about another group trying to succeed where Canonical failed, starting the crowdfunding for their own Quasar IV handset.
The Quasar’s big hook is security, and plugging-in to the paranoia following the past several months of leaks revealing widespread surveillance by the NSA into our digital communications. As such, Quasar bakes security into its platform at a low level, providing the framework for what it believes to be reliable, eavesdrop-proof operation.
QSAlpha, the company behind this project, intends to give the phone a five-inch 1080p IGZO display, a Snapdragon 800 SoC, 3GB of RAM, 64GB and 128GB storage options, and an interesting dual-rear-13-megapixel camera configuration, not so much for recording 3D movies as enabling more accurate, impressive augmented reality apps. The phone would have a 3300mAh battery and be waterproof.
Software-wise, it would be a custom fork called QuaOS based on Android 4.3, but of course with this overhauled security system.
The idea is to ship the phone in late March. Early backers can reserve a 64GB Quasar IV for just about $500, though once 950 of those are snagged, the price goes up to more like $600. For the 128GB edition, you’ll have to contribute $665. After the phone’s actually released (assuming it gets that far), the hardware will sell for closer to $800.
In order to reach its goal, QSAlpha needs to raise $3.2M. That’s an order of magnitude less than what Canonical was aiming for, but for a company without the name recognition, even that could be a very difficult target to hit.