Monday, July 22, 2013

Ubuntu plans crowdfunded 'Edge' Linux and Android smartphone

Campaign hopes to raise £21.5 million for a new device that will combine the convenience of a mobile with the power of a desktop.

Canonical, the software company behind the Ubuntu Linux open source operating system, has launched a crowd funding campaign to raise money for the development of its flagship smartphone, Ubuntu Edge, which it says will launch early next year.
Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth describes the Ubuntu Edge as the "concept car of smart phones". It will bring together “mobile convenience with desktop power in a single device,” and aims to be a catalyst for mobile innovation as well as hardware and software development.
The Ubuntu Edge will run both the Ubuntu phone operating system, which launched in January 2013, and Google Android. Shuttleworth said that there is a very large enthusiastic community around Android, and providing a standard Android environment is a good way for them to experience the hardware.
However, it will also be a proofing ground for Ubuntu mobile OS, which Canonical is hoping will begin running on more mainstream devices in the near future.
Like Microsoft, Canonical is pushing the idea of desktop and mobile convergence. When plugged into a monitor, the device transforms into a PC with the full Ubuntu desktop and shared access to all the phone’s files.
Microsoft has certainly mapped out a similar vision, where they have common visual elements across the mobile and PC experience, but we thought it was possible to go even further and really converge the devices so that it’s the same operating system, not a similar operating system, and that’s really where we thing there’s a gap for this proofing ground," said Shuttleworth.
In order to run two operating systems in parallel, the device needs the power of a PC, Canonical claims, so Ubuntu Edge will be equipped with “the latest, fastest processor, at least 4GB of RAM and a massive 128GB of storage”. The company was not able to reveal exact specifications, but said it is working with “one of the leading design manufacturers in Asia” to develop the device.
The Ubuntu Edge will have a 4.5-inch 1,280 x 720 HD display with "pure sapphire crystal" touchscreen rather than glass, which is so tough it can only be scratched by diamond. It will have a 8MP rear and 2MP front camera, and will also pioneer the use of long-life silicon anode battery technology.
A special dual-LTE solution will allow high-speed roaming with access to 4G-LTE broadband in both Europe and the US, according to Canonical.
Canonical hopes to raise £21.5 million using crowd funding website Indiegogo. Anyone who pledges £394 on day one, or £592 thereafter, will receive their very own Ubuntu Edge device in May 2014, and there will also be an opportunity for people who back the project to participate in the final selection of some of the materials and software capabilities. Canonical is only manufacturing 40,000 Ubuntu Edge devices.
“To make the future of mobile happen we’ll have to smash every record in crowd funding history. But if there are enough enthusiasts who want the ultimate in performance, storage, screen, battery and bandwidth, Ubuntu Edge will be the catalyst for awesome innovation, and a taste of the future of the phone,” said Shuttleworth.

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