Initially, the perks for availing the Ubuntu Edge smartphone were set at a minimum $600, but that filled up rapidly. Those who missed out on the introductory price had to cough up an additional $230 to get the smartphone as the stakes were reset to $830.
The $830 mark was ostentatious by all means. Matter-of-factly, after setting an Indiegogo record of raising $2 million in about 8 hours, the campaign inevitably slowed down. Perhaps, that’s the reason why the stakes were cut to the initial level as crowdfunding campaigns have more virality in the initial phase and it declines rapidly over time .Maybe Canonical realizes this, and so it has rightly decided to go back to the $675 level.
Canonical has said that “it would refund the difference at the end of the campaign”, adding that it would contact each buyer with more information.
Ubuntu Edge has bagged in mixed reviews from the tech world, despite being a revolutionary concept. Some people believe that despite its innovative concept, the device is vastly over-priced and that they should not be paying $600 or more for a phone that would be delivered to them next year, possibly in April or May.
Some wonder why a big company like Canonical doesn’t have enough assets to fund the entire project and sell the end-device. Why does it need venture capital, at all? Why can’t the company take the risk of funding the entire project, if they are confident that it would be a huge success?
The ground reality, however, as pointed out by David Jordan in his provocative piece, is that Canonical is not having any second thoughts about the sanity of the project, nor is it trying to gain any undue capital by promising an utopian design. The point it wants to make is merely that despite the overhauling dominance of Android and iOS, there’s still real demand for Ubuntu. It’s about proving that Ubuntu is more than an open-source OS. That it has legs and if needed, it can make its own hardware. It’s about proving that there are a lot of people in the world that trust Canonical’s potential on creating a revolutionary smartphone.
Just to refresh your memory, Ubuntu Edge is an amazing smartphone concept that perfectly combines your smartphone needs and PC access. It can be a smartphone as well as the brain of your computer. It would essentially run an Ubuntu mobile OS and Android in dual-boot mode, and when connected to PC, it would become a fully integrated desktop PC.
The hardware specifications of Ubuntu Edge are also pretty fascinating. It comes with fastest multi-core CPU, 4GB RAM, and 128GB storage. Mouth-watering, isn’t it?
Is it worth it?
So, if you’re wondering if you should you be buying an unsubsidized smartphone that’s going to be delivered to you in 2014, and if you should put your trust on a company that has nearly no real experience in manufacturing smartphones, then the answer is an anonymous YES.
Canonical appears to have raised over $3.5 million in just 40 hours of the campaign. The campaign has already broken all crowdfunding records and estimates suggest that Canonical has already raised around 25% of the capital that it needs to start production. The target, however, is a mammoth $32 million. The company still has some catching up to do before the campaign can be declared a huge success, but it still proves the point.
Canonical’s keen eye for detail and concern for usability would ensure that the design is user-friendly. Also, it would be co-operating with hardware partners that would know how to engineer the hardware that is tailor-made for its OS and would know how to manufacture them in big volumes. Considering the capital they need, it’s pretty apparent that they have it all figured out.
So, the question is not whether Canonical would be able to make a state-of-the-art smartphone. The question, eminently, is whether you and I would help them make that. Would we?