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Crowdfunding the Ubuntu Edge: Is it worth your US$830?

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Crowdfunding Ubuntu Edge

Source: Ubuntu

Should you invest US$830 in trying to fund the creation of the Ubuntu Edge? For the first 5,000 takers or twenty-four hours, you could sign up for an Ubuntu Edge, to be delivered in May 2014 for US$600. The first 5,040 takers were signed up for an Ubuntu Edge in less than thirteen hours. The price of entry is now US$830. A bit over twenty-four hours into this crowdfunding initiative, US$3.5 million has been committed. For the Ubuntu Edge to become reality, another US$28.5 million has to be raised in twenty-nine days.

If you have not yet read the first part of this article, you should follow this link, and see whether the concept behind the Ubuntu Edge, interests you. If the concept does interest you, the next question is– “Is it worth your money?”

I won’t waste your time. In my opinion, no smartphone is worth US$830. Well not unless it can sing, dance and wash your car for you all at the same time. There is nothing wrong with the announced hardware specifications for the Ubuntu Edge. The phone will have an impressive amount of RAM and storage, at 4 GB and 128 GB, respectively. It will be powered by a multi-core processor and have dual channel LTE. Even the selection of the display, a 4.5-inch 720p display seems like a good choice. I am not sold on the need for ultra large smartphones or 1080p displays myself.

Again, the problem is, no smartphone is worth US$830. So, if I were to invest right now, and wait a year for my unit. It is likely that after I get mine in May 2014, a few weeks later, others can buy the same phone for a much more reasonable price. Even the US$600 early adopted price seemed a bit steep. The Bill of Materials of a top of the line smartphone for the Apple iPhone is at about US$199, while the Samsung Galaxy S4 is at about US$229. So if I were an early investor in the Ubuntu Edge project, I would not want to have to pay more than US$400 or US$500. After all, I am committing my money about nine months in advance. I might be willing to pay US$600 to US$700 for it, at retail next year.

Basically, I feel like early investors are being asked to take one for the team.

If this concept catches on, Ubuntu for Android can be licensed to other Android manufacturers. It might even be released into the market before the Ubuntu Edge. A Samsung Galaxy S V “Ubuntu Edition”, might be more interesting, and cheaper, than the US$830 I will need to fork out now for the Ubuntu Edge.

If the concept does not catch on, and the funding goal is reached, I will get an interesting phone without much hardware to support it. Ubuntu should be offering the Ubuntu Edge with a desktop dock which plugs into your LCD TV, and a lapdock accessory too. That way, I would be guaranteed on getting the complete package. Right now, my US$830 might get me a very interesting phone, without the accessories which make it interesting.

Worse, I might get strung along for a long ride. After this project is successfully funded, I might see another crowdfunded project for the Ubuntu Edge Dock, and a month later, the Ubuntu Edge Lapdock. I think Canonical should just have taken a loan for US$50 million, and quietly build the phone, the dock and the lapdock. Then in an event next May, unveil the Ubuntu Edge and say: “It is available for US$649, today! It has a dock, available for US$50, today! It has a lapdock, available for US$149, today!” That would have given Mark Shuttleworth his Steve Jobs moment.

Instead, the question today, is do you love Ubuntu, US$830 worth?

Ubuntu Edge: Has the age of the SmartBrick arrived?

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In a nutshell, this is what the Ubuntu Edge is: potentially, the world’s first SmartBrick.

Image Source: Ubuntu

The Ubuntu Edge smartphone is the embodiment of all the aspirations Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu Founder and Chief Guru, has for Canonical and its Ubuntu Linux operating system. In 2011, foreseeing the decline of the desktop market, Canonical embarked on a project to take the Ubuntu desktop operating system mobile. The initiative, announced in February 2012 was Ubuntu for Android.

Essentially, Ubuntu for Android would piggyback an Ubuntu operating system on an Android phone. As a phone, the device would operate like any other device. Connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse, the Ubuntu operating system would take over, and you would have a fully functional desktop. When docked as the desktop, files, apps and other phone functionality like voice calls and SMS are shared between the two. For example, if an SMS message is sent to the phone while docked, the SMS pops up in Ubuntu. Proof of the concept was shown with Ubuntu for Android running on a Motorola Atrix. The technology appeared good to go. It was simply a matter of finding an interested Android manufacturer. Unfortunately, there was none.

Earlier this year, Canonical announced another mobile project, Ubuntu Phone OS. Ubuntu Phone OS appears to be based on Android. When my opinion was asked by a Linux publication about the new Ubuntu Phone OS, I felt it was a mistake and what Canonical should do is build an Android phone, with Ubuntu for Android onboard. Well, here it is. Sort of. Whether the Ubuntu Edge ever sees the light of day depends on whether it can get US$28.5 million more in funding in the next twenty-nine days.

The World’s First SmartBrick?

The Ubuntu Edge gives you a choice of booting into Android or Ubuntu Phone OS, and whatever mobile operating system you choose to run, plugged to a monitor or a lapdock, it gives you a full desktop operating system. This seems to be the modern day embodiment of the “CPU Brick” envisioned by PCMag’s Tim Bajarin. One multicore processor to rule them all.

Sometimes, I think all this might have generated more interest, if you had Windows 7 piggybacking on an Android or Windows Phone device, or Mac OS X piggybacking on an iPhone. Ubuntu is not the most popular desktop operating system in the world.

In a nutshell, this is what the Ubuntu Edge is: potentially, the world’s first SmartBrick. An Android phone, which can be plugged into peripherals to make it an Ubuntu Linux desktop. Do you want it? If the answer is no, you can stop reading here. If you do, continue to the next part of this article and see if it is worth it.

Ubuntu Edge by the Numbers: Twelve Hours and US$3 Million

concepts-1Twelve hours ago, Canonical started its campaign to crowd source funding for its first smartphone, the Ubuntu Edge. This is probably the most ambitious crowd sourcing campaign in history. Canonical aims to raise US$32 million in thirty days. In less than thirteen hours, Canonical has raised a tad over US$3 million. Those contributing US$600 for the phone, are expected to take delivery of their Ubuntu Edge handsets in May 2014. The offer at US$600 is open to the first 5,000 takers and only for the first 24 hours. After that, those wanting to fund this project will have to fork out US$830.

The Ubuntu Edge has the following specifications (subject to change):

– Dual boot Ubuntu mobile OS and Android
– Fully integrated Ubuntu desktop PC when docked
– Fastest multi-core CPU, 4GB RAM, 128GB storage
– 4.5in 1,280 x 720 HD sapphire crystal display
– 8mp low-light rear camera, 2mp front camera
– Dual-LTE, dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4, NFC
– GPS, accelerometer, gyro, proximity sensor, compass, barometer
– Stereo speakers with HD audio, dual-mic recording, Active Noise Cancellation
– MHL connector, 3.5mm jack
– Silicon-anode Li-Ion battery
– 64 x 9 x 124mm

I will take a closer look at this phone and offer later. But in case any of you want to avail of the offer, there are less than 100 slots, and about 11 hours left, to avail of this handset at US$600.

Interested in the Edge? Follow this link.

Are You a Smartphone Collector?

If not, maybe you might want to consider picking up a new hobby.

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Apple 1

Photo Credit: Auction Team Breker

In a few days, one of the first Apple computers ever built is going to be sold at auction at Christie’s. It is expected to fetch a modest sum of US$500,000. I say modest, because last month, another Apple 1 was sold for a record US$671,400 by a German auction house. Several Apple 1’s have been sold at auction in the past three years. An Apple 1 fetched US$640,000 at auction in November of 2012. In 2011, Sotheby’s sold one for US$374,500. In 2010, an Apple 1 was sold for US$174,000. The Apple 1 was built from 1976 to 1977. Only an estimated 200 Apple 1’s were built, so it is a pretty rare product.

It has happened to first edition books, comic books and toys. Now consumer electronics is joining the list of high priced collectibles. That old mobile phone collecting dust in your desk drawer, because no one offered a decent price for it on eBay, might be worth something someday.

The first generation Apple iPhone, first released 2007, is a good bet to be a desired collector’s item in the future. Only 6.1 million were built, which makes it a rare product. This is after all the phone that started it all, and saw the smartphone go from a businessman’s tool, to a must have for everyone.

The Nokia N900 is another phone that would probably find a place in a museum. Released in 2009, primarily for developers, the Nokia N900 was launched with a new Linux-based Maemo 5. Maemo 5 was supposed to be the basis of Nokia’s next generation touch-friendly operating system. This phone was targeted at a niche market. I would not think that all that many were sold. All the time and effort that went into the Maemo-MeeGo OS development went to waste when Nokia moved to Windows Phone. However, Nokia did launch one MeeGo device in 2011, the Nokia N9. They would make a nice pair behind a glass case.

Another good bet is the HTC-built Google Nexus One launched in 2010. While it is not the first Android ever built, I suspect it may become the most iconic Android phone. I do not know how many of these phones were sold, but being sold off-contract, I do not expect that all that many were built. There are two versions of the HTC Nexus One, one with an AMOLED display and the other with an LCD display. The AMOLED version would be the more desirable among the two.

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Nokia N900

Photo Credit: Nokia

This might all sound a bit crazy. But some people are already betting that the first generation Apple iPhone will be a collector’s item. There are a few BNIB (“Brand New In Box) samples being offered, starting at US$2,000.

Interestingly, you can still buy a Nokia N900, Nexus One or Nokia N9, BNIB, from online sellers, with prices starting as low as US$129. Might be a good time to pick one up.

How to install Native Ubuntu Linux on ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity TF700

One good thing about open source is that millions of people can share ideas to create better outcome. Google Android’s ever-growing community is the perfect example; almost every day new custom ROMs are being released for people who are willing to take the risk to make their devices even better.

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Majority of the developers stick to developing ROMs and mods with better features but some of them deviate to develop some things we haven’t seen before; one developer successfully ported the Native Ubuntu Linux operating system to ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity TF700.

Features

You might ask why you would bother yourself to undertake a very risky process to install Ubuntu on a device built to run Android OS. For geeks, it’s an accomplishment and for those who are seeking to do something different with their Infinity TF700, it’s the features they go after. Now, here are some of the features you can enjoy when you decide to flash Ubuntu into your device.

  • Dual-boot function. It’s cool to think you have options which operating system you want your device to run.
  • 2-finger scrolling. Owners can use two fingers to scroll. The 2-finger tap functions like the third button in a typical mouse.
  • ZIP boot image installer. Installer is made simpler because owners don’t need a USB cable or use fastboot to install apps, mods and ROMs.
  • WiFi. At least, it is good to know you can still browse the web after installing Ubuntu on Infinity.
  • OpenGL ES. This makes Chromium browsing faster and better plus you can enjoy watching 3D clips or play 3D games.
  • Audio/Video enhancement. Developers say there are noticeable improvements to audio and video qualities.

Pre-requisites

  1. All your important data should be backed up prior to taking the first step of the tutorial below. This is necessary to make sure all your SMS messages, videos, files, etc. can be restored if things go bad during the process.
  2. Your device should be rooted and that the ClockworkMod Recovery is installed.
  3. Your tablet should have sufficient battery left to complete the flashing. There is a greater possibility it would be bricked if the process is interrupted.
  4. Make sure all necessary drivers were installed in your computer so your device can be detected properly. You will need to copy files into your tablet and you can’t do so if your machine cannot detect it.

Disclaimer: This is a very risky process and only experienced users are advised to continue. The Droid Guy cannot be held responsible if your device would end up being bricked after the flashing. There is no guarantee everything will work smoothly during the installation, so, it’s on you if you want to continue.

Step-by-step Guide

Step 1: Download these files and save them into your computer: tf700-rootfs-0.7.1.tar.lzma (667Mb) and boot_installer-0.7.1.1.zip (11 Mb). Just put them in a directory you can easily find and access; there’s no need to extract them.

Step 2: Connect your device to your computer using the USB cable and copy the packages into the root directory of the device’s internal memory. After that disconnect your device and turn it off.

Step 3: Boot it into recovery mode and flash boot_installer-0.7.1.1.zip . You need to choose a kernel at this point. While all of them are supposed to work, the most recommended is 1.3-1.8.

Step 4: Once the installation is complete, wipe cache/dalvik.

Step 5: Turn your device off again but this time connect the keyboard dock and boot it into recovery mode. Since you have just installed a new boot loader, you must be seeing penguins while the device loads. After a short while, you will see four options: Android, Linux, Install and Shell.

Step 6: You still need to install so choose press “I” on your keyboard. The device automatically searches for tf700-rootfs-0.7.1.tar.lzma. You need to choose the Ubuntu image size and press “Yes” to confirm.

Step 7: It will take several minutes to complete the installation process. Refrain from touching anything on your device until everything is done to avoid messing up the process.

Step 8: Once the installation is complete, press any key on your keyboard to return to boot options. Press “1” to boot Ubuntu 12.10; the default password is “ubuntu” but you have to change it to your own password for security reason.

This is just one of the ways to install Ubuntu on Pad Infinity TF700. We advise you to visit XDA devs forums to learn other ways to flash this custom OS.

Steam For Linux Beta Now Open To The Public

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Christmas has come early for Linux gamers, as Valve is officially opening up the Steam for Linux beta to the public. It’s easy enough to sign up. Interested participants simply register and download the client as a PC user would.

There are currently 39 games available to Linux users on Steam, but the amount becoming available is climbing and is starting to pick up speed. Notable titles like Amnesia, Killing Floor and even Faster Than Light are currently available to Linux users.

With Steam for Linux now being in open beta, this should mean that an official launch shouldn’t be that far from now.

Any Linux gamers out there? Are you enjoying the Steam for Linux beta? Sound off in the comments below!

source: Steam

Rasperry Pi Opens App Store

The makers of the Raspberry Pi, the tiny $25 to $35 Linux-based computer, have officially launched the Raspberry Pi App Store for users of the device.

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According to the announcement on the Raspberry Pi website, they are “launching the Pi Store to make it easier for developers of all ages to share their games, applications, tools and tutorials with the rest of the community. The Pi Store will, we hope, become a one-stop shop for all your Raspberry Pi needs; it’s also an easier way into the Raspberry Pi experience for total beginners, who will find everything they need to get going in one place, for free.”

The blog article also mentions that the Rasperry Pi app store was created in collaboration with IndieCity and Velocix. Indiecity is an online game store for independent developers whereas Velocix is a content-delivery network.

There are currently only twenty-five titles available on the app store, all of which are free to download. These include Storm in a Teacup, Freeciv, Iridium Rising, Code::Blocks IDE, Asterisk for Raspberry Pi, GrafX2, Schism Tracker, OpenTTD, POWDER, Cricket Scores Live, despotify, LibreOffice, Raspberry Invaders, Pi3D, Hud Sprite Pack, Audio Pack, Effects Sprite Pack, and several issues of the MagPi magazine. These titles are a mix of games, apps, dev tools, tutorials, and media. To help support the makers of free apps, the Raspberry Pi app store comes with a tip jar that can receive donations. There is, however, support for paid apps, as well.

Those who own the Raspberry Pi computer can obtain the app store by downloading the Raspbian Linux operating system which comes with the app store. They can also install it via apt-get. Meanwhile, others can check out the app store by pointing their browsers to store.raspberrypi.com.

The Raspberry Pi team hopes that the app store will be a way to help developers get their work out to an audience, and possibly earn from their creations.

via liliputing

AMD unveils new Z-Series processor dubbed as ‘Hondo’

While ARM-based processors dominate the tablet market today, Microsoft’s Windows 8 provides x86-based CPUs a fresh shot at the market. Intel was the first one to adapt to the growing market but Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) shows no sign of backing down in the competition it is well-acquainted with. Consequently, the company recently announced its latest innovation in the form Z-60 APU (Accelerated Processing Unit), codenamed “Hondo.”

AMD Z-60 Hondo is a dual-core processor clocked at 1.0GHz with integrated Radeon HD 6250 GPU specifically designed and built for tablets and hybrids that run Windows 8 operating system. It is expected to be circulated globally this year in conjunction with the availability of Microsoft’s latest OS.

Basically, Z-60 comes with a minor upgrade from Z-01. It is more focused on providing high-quality display, interactivity and compatibility needed to support any x86-based tablet PCs. Moreover, Z-60 is AMD’s lowest power APU; meaning, it can do what is expected of it but plays a big role in economizing power consumption.

“Tablet users seeking an uncompromised experience for both creating and consuming content on the Microsoft Windows 8 platform now have a performance-driven, affordable option with the AMD Z-60 APU,” said Steve Belt, corporate vice president of Ultra-Low Power Products, AMD.

Manufacturers who might want to put this new APU into their products could enjoy the luxury of building thin tablets as Z-60 is considerably thinner than its counterparts. But for now, there are no manufacturers that shared their interests in using the chipset.

The radical shift in computer technology will be the reason why companies like AMD will try to run after the tablet market. Being one of the most successful chipset companies, AMD’s future looks brighter in the newer market it is trying to go after. When Windows 8 makes its global debut, we might start seeing devices running on AMD Z-60.

[source]

Rumor: Samsung Looking To Abandon Android For Their Own Linux Kernel Based OS?

Samsung's Nick DeCarlo Is Expected To Make The Samsung Galaxy S II announcement Monday photo: TDG LLC 2011

We couldn’t let this one  slip past us. We know our friend Simon Walker over at Androidspin vets their rumors to the best of their ability. Also this rumor makes sense. But before we dive into this rumor, we just want to set the timeline straight, Steve “Cyanogen” Kondik was putting the finishing touches on working for Samsung the day that Google announced they were buying Motorola.  Cyanogen joining Samsung was not a reactionary move by Samsung in any way shape or form.

However, after saying all of that, there were plenty of stories, here too, that indicated Samsung’s Korean Headquarters was looking to invest more into their own software and OS’s rather than being so dependent on third parties like Google and Android. That’s not to say everything on their 2011-2012 Android roadmap won’t release. If we’re going to believe this rumor it’s probably more of a secondary or complimentary thing rather than displacing Android as a whole.  Samsung pretty much keeps their Bada platform overseas.  They may want a new Linux kernel based OS in the U.S. in place of Bada.  We’ll see.  So the rumor after the break

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