Ubuntu Edge campaign to fund development of very high-end dual-boot Android phone

Ubuntu has positioned itself to be one of this year’s many smartphone platform upstarts – the littler guys who are trying to elbow their way into an already incredibly competitive market. We were able to give Ubuntu a lot of hands-on time earlier this year when those preview builds arrived for Nexus-series devices, but news on the platform has been relatively quiet ever since. Today, we finally hit a big Ubuntu milestone, with Canonical starting a major fundraiser campaign for the Ubuntu Edge handset.

The Indiegogo campaign seeks to raise an astounding $32 million for development of the Edge, a dual-boot Ubuntu/Android smartphone. While final specs aren’t locked-down, this sounds like the Edge will be a serious powerhouse, with a minimum of a quad-core SoC, unprecedented 4GB of RAM, and whopping 128GB flash storage.

While the Edge would have a 4.5-inch 720p display, Canonical is encouraging users to treat the handset as a mobile PC, and connect it to an external monitor, along with a keyboard and mouse.

There’s something extra special about that screen, too: it’s supposed to be protected by that super-hard synthetic sapphire crystal we’ve been talking about so much, and previously had only been available on ridiculously expensive handsets.

So what’s this puppy going to run you? Well, if you hurry, and contribute to the campaign within the next day, you can reserve an Edge for just $600, expected to ship in May of next year. If you delay, you’ll have to pay $830 for the phone.

That’s a lot to drop on a phone running an unconventional platform, but the killer specs and dual-booting might just be able to win us over.

Update: You snooze, you lose; all those $600 early backer phones are sold out. Still, with such excessive RAM and a screen that’s essentially unscratchable, even $830 isn’t that crazy. Now the project just has to see if there will be enough backers willing to support at even this higher level to keep the momentum towards that sky-high $32M going.

Source: Canonical (Reuters)
Campaign: Indiegogo
Via: Engadget

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Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!