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Ubuntu Edge Now Most-Backed Crowdfunding Campaign Ever 104

Posted by timothy
from the someone-will-run-with-the-idea dept.
Volanin writes "The Ubuntu Edge has now passed the $10.2 million mark, thus making it the most pledged-to crowd-funder in history. While the Ubuntu Edge campaign is to be commended for reaching such a mammoth milestone as this, it can't quite claim ultimate victory yet, since it's just short of making one-third of its $32 million goal with a little less than a week left."
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Ubuntu Edge Now Most-Backed Crowdfunding Campaign Ever

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    cause it passed the 15 million dollar mark last month from pure croud funding .

    • Canonical’s Ubuntu Edge campaign has raised more money than any other project on IndieGoGo or Kickstarter

      Star Citizen is running it's own campaign, and noting is escrowed.

      • by attah (1217454)
        But there is no escrow on kickstarter, right? (dunno about indiegogo) I thought the point was to have the money available when making whatever stuff the crowd wants... (Getting my Oru kayak on monday, jaaay kickstarter)
        • by F.Ultra (1673484)
          the ubundu edge campain on indiegogo is escrowed, if they dont raise the $30M then everyone gets their money back.
          • by tlhIngan (30335) <.slashdot. .at. .worf.net.> on Sunday August 18, 2013 @01:02AM (#44598577)

            the ubundu edge campain on indiegogo is escrowed, if they dont raise the $30M then everyone gets their money back.

            And that's why I don't participate in Indiegogo, but do many Kickstarters.

            Kickstarter doesn't charge you UNLESS the project is funded. Indiegogo charges you first, then refunds you if it fails.

            There are two problems with the charge/refund model - one, if you're doing a currency conversion, that means an instant 5-10% hit on your pledge - just due to currency exchange losses. Neverminding currency fluctuations that occur from when you pledge to when you get refunded (and no, you can't win).

            The second problem is well, you tie up money. Indiegogo makes a profit based on simply holding the money (and this isn't including the Indiegogo fees). I suppose it makes Indiegogo brilliant business people - they have this huge pool of cash they can pretty much invest with - all they need is enough cash to cover the payouts of the day, but money's coming in for future payouts.

            But it's the currency losses that get to me. Pledge under $100, and it's not a huge deal - it's probably $5-10 you lose. But I've done bigger pledges on Kickstarter, and you're looking at huge losses. $1000 pledge? Are you really willing to give up $100 or so in the currency exchange?

      • by black3d (1648913) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @10:02PM (#44597993)

        Right, but the article isn't "Ubuntu Edge now most backed escrowed campaign". It's claiming it's the biggest crowd-funded campaign, which it's clearly not. Although, it's not Star Citizen either. I believe World War II [wikipedia.org] takes out that title. $185.7 billion in un-adjusted crowd-funded dollars.

  • Why Crowdfunding ? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Shuttleworth should just cancel his next trip to mars to raise the funds.

    • by CRCulver (715279)

      Why crowdfunding? Shuttleworth should just cancel his next trip to mars to raise the funds.

      The point of this exercise was to show hardware makers that there is a crowd out there willing to pay lots of money for a non-Android/non-iOS/non-Windows OS, so they will get onboard and start offering Ubuntu Phone.

      • Why crowdfunding? Shuttleworth should just cancel his next trip to mars to raise the funds.

        The point of this exercise was to show hardware makers that there is a crowd out there willing to pay lots of money for a non-Android/non-iOS/non-Windows OS, so they will get onboard and start offering Ubuntu Phone.

        Not just the hardware makers... This also shows the potential buyers that there is a sustainable market, so it might be around more than a few weeks, unlike the HP Tablet, and a few really cool phones.

      • by tgd (2822)

        Why crowdfunding? Shuttleworth should just cancel his next trip to mars to raise the funds.

        The point of this exercise was to show hardware makers that there is a crowd out there willing to pay lots of money for a non-Android/non-iOS/non-Windows OS, so they will get onboard and start offering Ubuntu Phone.

        Although the cold hard economic facts of it is that there really isn't a market big enough ... at typical phone hardware prices, $10m is, what... 15,000 phones? At that quantity, you won't get discounts on the manufacturing, so it won't cover anywhere near that. The math simply makes no sense... and even less so when you consider Canonical (unlike Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Apple, etc..) doesn't have an IP portfolio to cross license, so there's likely $100+ in IP costs per handset they'd have to pay to leg

        • by Rob Y. (110975)

          If this is true, the solution is to create demand for a fully unlocked Android phone with appropriate specs to run Ubuntu. The manufacturer can sell in bulk to run of the mill Android customers, and possibly make a killing as the 'future proof' alternative that can be easily upgraded once the manufacturer stops supporting it.

          Samsung won't do it. Probably not Motorola or HTC either. But with all the talk about Samsung 'owning' Android and no room for anybody else, there's a wide opening for a competent har

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          Although the cold hard economic facts of it is that there really isn't a market big enough ... at typical phone hardware prices, $10m is, what... 15,000 phones? At that quantity, you won't get discounts on the manufacturing, so it won't cover anywhere near that. The math simply makes no sense...

          15,000 phones gets you parts discounts - they normally start at 1000 parts. At 10,000, you get more discounts.

          And 15,000 probably outsells a TON (if not the vast majority) of Android phones out there - probably a go

      • So in this case, this is showing that there is almost no one that want it, since there is less than 10000 persons who pledged money for that. That's a bit sad, i would have pledged if I didn't changed my phone just before ( ie, if Canonical did communicate in the open, I would for sure waited a bit more, but I guess that 1 person wouldn't have changed much ).

    • You are awfully free with other peoples money. Perhaps he wants to make sure it will show a profit, rather than carry a second loss making project for years...
      • by tgd (2822)

        You are awfully free with other peoples money. Perhaps he wants to make sure it will show a profit, rather than carry a second loss making project for years...

        If that was his goal, they left a zero off the crowdsourcing goal.

        But if the goal was to get a ton of media attention and marketing, they're being successful. In five days everyone's money is returned, and millions of dollars worth of advertising will have been bought for the efforts.

  • ...the most pledged-to crowd-funder in history.

    Until the next one. And then the one after that. And the next one. And in 10 years comes the next story about constant-dollar successes.

    All the while, the actual story is (less spectacularly) "After 25 days Ubuntu Edge only has one-third of $32M goal pledged with five days left."

    • by Patch86 (1465427) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @06:04AM (#44592675)

      Regardless of how you cut it, they've still managed to attract $10,000,000 of pre-orders in 25 days, on a second-tier crowd-funding site which lacks a lot of mainstream footfall, for a product running unproven software and ill-defined hardware. That tells you* a lot about how appealing their product pitch is to it's potential market. I personally haven't pledged, because I can't quite stomach putting down $650 blind for a hypothetical product. But I would bite their arm off for it if it were on general sale.

      * And more importantly, it doesn't just tell YOU about how appealing the concept is; it tells their potential OEM partners. That was probably the whole point of this. The good folks in management at Lenovo, Dell, Acer, etc. will be looking at those pre-orders a little enviously- do they think they could get the same interest and blind faith for their next "premium" Android handset?

      • by houstonbofh (602064) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @06:10AM (#44592693)
        It also was very helpful in showing them the correct price-point for the phone. It is different from anything else out there, so knowing how to price it was going to be a challenge. Now that they know what the market is willing to pay, they can build around that.

        Also, I would not be surprised if Shuttleworth makes up the difference at the last minute and goes forward anyway.
        • Also, I would not be surprised if Shuttleworth makes up the difference at the last minute and goes forward anyway.

          If it's ten thousand dollars short, maybe. Maybe even if it's a a hundred thousand dollars short. But when it's 2/3 short of the goal, don't count on it.

        • by melonman (608440)

          I can't see how this tells them anything useful about price points for retail sale. The people who pledged money are agreeing to buy an untested phone in a year's time. That's way beyond even "normal" "early adopters". To do that, you have to be really passionate about new technology AND be able to pay a premium price for a phone you can't use for 12 months.

          I've spoken to several people who, like me, might well have paid if the phone would be shipped today or in a couple of months. But with the timescales i

        • I can't find the news article at the moment, but I read a answer the question of him funding it. He said if didn't hit the goal, it wouldn't happened, he is not going to use his money, no matter how little.

      • I personally haven't pledged, because I can't quite stomach putting down $650 blind for a hypothetical product. But I would bite their arm off for it if it were on general sale.

        Then you may be one of the people for whom treshold pledge funding hasn't quite sunk in.

        Remember, you're not putting down $650 blind. If it doesn't reach the goal, you're out nothing. I don't know how IndieGoGo does it, but Kickstarter doesn't even withdraw or lock the funds until the campaign ends (so yes, it can happen that some pe

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Kjella (173770)

          Remember, you're not putting down $650 blind. If it doesn't reach the goal, you're out nothing.

          Yes, but assuming they'd reach their $32 million they'd take your money now and you might get a product that is roughly what they promised and on time or just one or neither. Chances are there's no canceling, no return, no refund so anything they slap an "Ubuntu Edge" sticker on you're stuck with, at best a class action where you get a silly coupon. There's a huge difference in risk between that and a finished product on the shelf.

      • by DogDude (805747)
        These are not pre-orders. They are non-charitable donations. Big difference.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        It tells you about how appealing their product is, but not why. It's appealing to people for the same reason as an Apple product: the name. Proof? There's no evidence whatsoever that it won't suck, but there were many attempts to preorder anyway.

        • by Teun (17872) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @07:57AM (#44593029) Homepage
          I would say the contrary, this tells us how unappealing the established phones are, this is at least partially powered by negative sentiment.
          For me the attraction is to get my hands on a device that can replace the old Nokia N900 and allows the use of mainstream Linux software.

          Shuttleworth has made statements that could be read as if it's going to be a quite open platform but it wasn't a crystal clear and hard commitment he made.

          For the time being my sympathy goes to jolla.com.

          • Also, the guy at Jolla have a slightly better history on open tecnologies and alike - AFAIK, they tend to reuse a lot of technologies, instead of suffering from NotInventedHere sindrome. Interoperability looks pretty promising too.

            I also think they may have taken some (potential) customers from Ubuntu Edge, since their goals overlap a bit, and Jolla opened up pre-ordering first.

      • by whoop (194)

        Totaling up the numbers on the page, only $2.1 million are pre-orders ($695 and up). The remaining donations bring the total to $3.1 million. So, I guess they have mystery-backers that are not on Indiegogo that they add in. Or are they just fudging the numbers? Nobody knows, you just take their word for it.

        But, as far as proven crowd-sourced backers, they've raised $3.1m. That's on-par with several Kickstarter projects (Doublefine's adventure, Wasteland 2 come to mind). Ouya brought in $8 million fro

        • by F.Ultra (1673484)
          The first days pre orders are not shown on the page for some reason, that is probably why they don't add up.
        • by Baloroth (2370816)

          They changed the price-point offerings a little while back. The old pledges with the other prices (the majority of the money) don't show up anymore.

      • by Desler (1608317)

        Not more than 10,000 sales would be a huge flop for any OEM or carrier. The Kin, if you remember sold a bit over 7000.

        • by F.Ultra (1673484)
          That depends upon how big you are, if you are a small company then 10000 units can be alot, the kin was made be the behemoth Microsoft that needs to sell millions of units just to break even.
      • by Shoten (260439)

        * And more importantly, it doesn't just tell YOU about how appealing the concept is; it tells their potential OEM partners. That was probably the whole point of this. The good folks in management at Lenovo, Dell, Acer, etc. will be looking at those pre-orders a little enviously- do they think they could get the same interest and blind faith for their next "premium" Android handset?

        I think the person above you hit it on the head when he pointed out that the real story is that they're only 1/3rd of the way to their goal. And I don't think that 10 million dollars would actually impress the potential OEM partners who 1, depend on the current status quo and their already-existing partnerships as a barrier to entry for other competitors, and 2, know that 10 million dollars is a rounding error when it comes to the development and launch of an entirely new mobile platform.

      • edge gestures sound exciting till you consider that most phones live in cases to protect them from drops. Or I should say, everyone who has dropped a phone and broken it, has a case.

    • Yes, well, unlike kickstarter, indiegogo has an option to keep the money collected even if it doesn't reach the goal. $32M could have been considered a "maximum stretch goal", if the Ubuntu folks had checked a different box (but they didn't).

      Folks should look to the crowdfunding systems as primarily market research tools, secondarily very affordable publicists, and lastly a funding platform.

      The value in reporting the "limit breaking" is to let everyone in on the spectacle: Cloud is using Meteorain. W

      • Yes, well, unlike kickstarter, indiegogo has an option to keep the money collected even if it doesn't reach the goal.

        Ah yes, the box that turns it from a propoer treshold pledge scheme to scammy "I want the money anyway" begging.

        That checkbox may superficially sound like a good deal for project starters, but it's a rotten deal for supporters. Ubuntu would NOT get to the amount they have if they checked that box.

        The only reason Kickstarter's competitors offer that box at all is that they're desperate to ge

    • This is more interesting, I think, because quite likely this is going to be the first record-breaker that fails. A lot of people will for the first time have supported a failing project with considerable money.

      That may be sad for Ubuntu, but it's good news for treshold pledge funding (crowdfunding is a poor word). I'm pretty sure that for most people, it hasn't quite sunk in that you aren't out any money if your project fails. It's one thing to hear it, another thing to see it. The people who pledged this t

      • by ICLKennyG (899257) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @08:27AM (#44593195)
        So this isn't like an ebay auction for 10lbs of crack where the price hits 80m before it gets shutdown because people have realized that its not real? Give me a break. There is a considerable amount of people who have pledged to this and know for a fact that it won't get funded. This is a nebulous speculative design that may or may not be awesome in a years time. The only thing we know is that it will have 4GB of ram and 128GB of storage. Ok, and for ~700 USD it would likely be seen in today's market as relatively inexpensive, but not ground breakingly so considering the long lead times and other unknown variables. The thing I hate the most about these stories on here is that the fanboys are going to trumpet this as amazing and positive when there is almost nothing about this that could be seen that way. Microsoft did 75x this with Surface and is taking a very public beating for having failed. Samsung sold about 20m units (1,000x as much gross revenue as this project) in only 2 months of the S4 and Apple sold 50m iPhone 5s in it's first quarter. The market as a whole can't even distinguish if this is signal or noise.

        Time and again projects have come along to 'revolutionize' smart phones. Remember the original Google Nexus? It was such a failure that Google licensed off the brand and is now relying on other companies to make the hardware. The F1 analogy is also bullshit. The difference is that the F1 people are actually using spectacularly unique hardware (and software) to do things orders of magnitudes faster than a regular joe could and can do it in a clear way that is exciting and spectator friendly and as such can be dramatically subsidized by tickets, merchandizing and tv rights. If there were a market for performance luxury phones the $10,000 Vertus wouldn't be absolute shit. http://www.engadget.com/2013/02/12/vertus-first-android-smartphone-will-cost-7-900-euros/ [engadget.com]
        • by Microlith (54737)

          This is a nebulous speculative design that may or may not be awesome in a years time.

          If that. Or it may fall in line with what's on-par for what's available in a year's time. Either way, I tossed in because I wanted something not Android/iOS/Windows Phone and, worst comes to worst, I can use Android and tinker with the other end (since it'll work anyway.)

          Microsoft did 75x this with Surface and is taking a very public beating for having failed.

          Microsoft also wrote down $900M on the ridiculous over production

      • by Microlith (54737)

        quite likely this is going to be the first record-breaker that fails.

        Fails?

        A lot of people will for the first time have supported a failing project with considerable money.

        There's a difference between a project that fails, and a project whose crowdsourcing effort is unsuccessful. As of yet no project I've contributed to has failed. This will simply be the first one that did not (and I had every reason to believe would not) achieve its funding goal.

  • by Burz (138833) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @06:42AM (#44592787) Journal

    One thing I like about FairPhone [fairphone.com] is the emphasis on open hardware in addition to software. Can anyone explain the relative strengths of Ubuntu Edge on the open source front?

    • by Microlith (54737)

      Probably no better or worse than that, given that the phone you link uses a Mediatek SoC with a PowerVR GPU, which guarantees at least one closed source blob. This phone would probably end up in the same state.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Probably no better or worse than that, given that the phone you link uses a Mediatek SoC with a PowerVR GPU, which guarantees at least one closed source blob. This phone would probably end up in the same state.

        Well, Ubuntu Edge is supposed to be completely open with no blobs. This means one of two things.

        1) FIrmware embedded in hardware (flash memory) is not counted by the FSF. Firmware blobs are only "bad" when they exist as a file on disk and loaded into the embedded RAM of the target hardware. So WiFi ch

  • I don't quite understand...they are celebrating selling over $10 million worth of vaporware, when the goal is $32 million. Were they actually out to build a new phone, or did they just want to break a fund raising record? I won't be contributing to the hype, they are a for profit company in there somewhere, they need to either build the phone, or shut the fuck up.
    • by F.Ultra (1673484)
      Or they simply do as every other company does and uses this (celebrating the over $10 million) to get peoples attention to the project in order to get more pre-orders.
    • by wjcofkc (964165)
      I believe the strategy here was is get potential OEMs tripping all over themselves in consideration of the number of people willing to put down money for the idea of a product that is over a year out from production, namely those willing to lay down enough for a prototype. At $10 mil, I'll bet they have perked plenty of corporate ears.

      Myself as someone who has been following the development of this product, and has taken the time to understand why it's OS is innovative, and most importantly (to me anyway)
      • BTW - it's not vaporware until it doesn't happen, and they're not planning on even having a production phone for year - which they have been completely up front about.

        by that definition nothing is vaporware since everything could still happen in the future.

        the problem is that in a year, the state of the art in software and hardware will have progressed radically. the designs they are showing today will be outdated in a year. it's more like a PR campaign, "see all of the people we have working on this? see the mockups we've posted in the conference rooms? we can build a smartphone OS. invest in us." basically, they want to be in the mobile OS business, but they need cash.

      • Wow! I am not used to getting intelligent replies here...that hasn't happened since about 2001! My bad engrish aside, I was saying that Canonical is a for profit, and any profits to be had from a smart phone with the Ubuntu name would likely end up being reported on their bottom line. It feels to me like they are trying to get the community to pay for their R&D because they don't want to, or can't. I too would be first in line with my hard earned cash to buy one, if only there was one.
  • While it seems unlikely now that Ubuntu will get to the 32 million mark, and will have to refund the money given, they may have just demonstrated that there is some demand for a dual booting phone with more of the features of a PC. Canonical needs a dance partner to sell Ubuntu on a mobile platform, maybe one of the smartphone manufacturers will take notice. If that happens, the campaign may be a success after all.
    • by Desler (1608317)

      Yes, the demand is only marginally higher than the demand for the Kin. Which is to say as a retail product it would be an enormous flop.

  • by grub (11606)

    2014 will be both the year of Linux on the Desktop and Linux in the Pocket!
  • ...the most pledged-to crowd-funder in history

    It also could become the biggest crowd-funded flop in history too. Just sayin'

  • by what metric. Isn't Star Citizen up over $15M if you want to talk about raw numbers.

  • A general purpose computer / phone that can hold all of your data, be your only computer and fit in your pocket. What would be really great is if it could automatically connect to a wireless hub that attaches monitors, keyboard, mouse and various peripherals when it detects that it's within a specified proximity.

    The technology is certainly possible and most of it likely exists in some autonomous form or another; it's mainly a matter of someone coordinating and bringing it all together. Will that someone b

  • the software (mockups) look compelling, but outing a design today for something that may ship in 2014 is not much more than an exercise in PR (and fundraising). that goes doubly for the hardware mockup. it's sort of like saying: "if we had funding a year ago, this is what we could have produced have produced today."

  • I understand why Canonical wants to do this product. The Linux desktop is, along with all desktops including Windows and Mac OS, declining in importance. Canonical needs to establish their presence on mobile and Edge us their best hope. But I don't understand why any user who is less than wealthy would want to pledge $700-$800 for a first-time device from Ubuntu. It's somewhat analogous to people wanting to pay $1500 for the Google Glass Explorer Edition, but at least Google Glass is in new territory, weara

  • Canonical is commercial company.
    They should fund and pay for the research and development of Ubuntu Edge themselves.

    Their CEO is Jane Silber, and she should get going and find some investments, looks like she's a bit lazy. because instead of doing that they decided to to utilize an Indie crowd-funding platform to fund this project? I wonder how did IndieGoGo even allowed this to happen (I guess they wanted some traffic and $$$). It's a clinical use of their platform by a commercial company that does not

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