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Cellphones Handhelds The Almighty Buck Ubuntu Hardware

Ubuntu Edge Draws Nearly $13M, But Falls Short of Indiegogo Goal 125

Posted by timothy
from the but-it's-still-a-good-idea dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "The crowdfunding campaign to build an Ubuntu-powered smartphone has fallen short of its ambitious goal. Canonical, which works with the open-source community to support Ubuntu worldwide, decided to fund its Ubuntu Edge smartphone via crowdfunding Website Indiegogo. The funding goal was set at $32 million, and at first it looked as if the project had enough momentum to actually succeed: within the first 24 hours of the project's July 22 launch, some $3.45 million had poured in. But that torrent of cash soon slowed to a trickle. In the end, the campaign managed to amass $12,809,906 by its August 21 closing. Nonetheless, Canonical did its best to put a brave face on the situation. 'While we passionately wanted to build the Edge to showcase Ubuntu on phones, the support and attention it received will still be a huge boost as other Ubuntu phones start to arrive in 2014,' the organization wrote in a posting. 'Thousands of you clearly want to own an Ubuntu phone and believe in our vision of convergence, and rest assured you won't have much longer to wait.'" Update: 08/22 16:14 GMT by T : Oops -- headline edited to reflect that the Edge was an Indiegogo project, rather than Kickstarter.
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Ubuntu Edge Draws Nearly $13M, But Falls Short of Indiegogo Goal

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  • Smart idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Michael Casavant (2876793) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:55AM (#44642803)
    Using a crowd-funded campaign like this gives Canonical a very good idea about just how much interest there is in the phone essentially for free...and if they met that goal they'd be all the better.
    • Not for free. The campaign had to be organized, the buzz too. Basically, it would have been cheaper to make a proper market study rather than losing credibility, time and money into that. Especially since they hired someone to design the phone in the first place.

      • Re:Smart idea (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Githaron (2462596) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @11:54AM (#44643661)
        How did they loose credability? They told us up-front that if the campaign did not reach is funding goal we would get our money back. Meanwhile, everyone gets to see how much demand there is for a Edge-like phone with only a month notice and little paid marketing. In the end, I would say the campaign was successful and we will probably be seeing Edge-like phones being offered within a year or two.
      • Losing credibility? They made twelve million dollars...while not the intended goal, if you dare call that "loss of credibility" you aren't in your right mind. I'd like to see your company get that much support.

    • by Burz (138833)

      For about 1/10th the cost, one other FOSS phone was able to get off the ground. [fairphone.com] Actually, even though the main page says 66%, they reached their minimum goal months ago so the startup threshold is much lower than that.

      Their initial market is EU-only, but I would still consider getting a FairPhone if only to have a mini-tablet with the most open hardware that's feasible at this point.

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      I just didn't get the damned point personally.

      I mean 1.- The whole appeal of Ubuntu has been "free as in beer" and while some could argue "free as in freedom" Shuttleworth's "This is not a democracy" kinda kills that idea for me and besides Android is ALREADY free as in beer and is FOSS so that isn't a selling point.

      2.- ARM isn't X86 and just because something can be ported from one to the other does NOT mean it will run WELL, just that it will run. Android is built around ARM, Ubuntu has always been mainl

  • Of course it did (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geek (5680) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:56AM (#44642815) Homepage

    No one trusts Canonical outside of the die-hard Ubuntu fanboys. Canonical forks everything due to their NIH syndrome. They released the buggiest, ugliest and most uselessly incoherent Desktop imaginable (Unity) and then sold their userbase to Amazon.

    The Edge could be the greatest thing since sliced bread, I still wouldn't give them my money.

    • Came here to say exactly the same thing. If this was being proposed by anyone trustworthy, I would happily have put down $725. With Shuttleworth behind it, I wouldn't put down 75 cents.

    • Really?

      I haven't tried it yet, but a couple of my friends really dig the UI on Unity and haven't complained about bugs. I was actually going to download a Live CD this weekend to try it out

      • Re:Of course it did (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Entropius (188861) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @11:28AM (#44643275)

        I use Linux for a living (I'm a physicist; all our machines run Linux). Most everyone was using Ubuntu (with a few on Scientific Linux) before Unity came out. Now it's Mint, mostly, or Kubuntu.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Weird. I actually hated Unity because of all the bloggers screaming their balls off.

          Then I tried Unity myself. Just to see what I think about it.

          And guess what, after the initial hurdle, it has actually made me more productive. I don't touch the mouse at all when doing normal tasks. Just press Super key, type Gim arrow down twice and enter and I get Gimp (for example).

          So now I like Unity.

          I DON'T like the Amazon spying, but that I can turn off. Or I can just hack the Unity sources (it's just Python). I don't

          • Re:Of course it did (Score:4, Informative)

            by Entropius (188861) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @12:48PM (#44644379)

            You can do that on other Linuxes too, using the alt-f2 shortcut.

            I've tried Unity, and my biggest grumble is the removal of the taskbar. If I have four papers open in different copies of evince/okular and five terminals with different names, Unity won't let me find the one I want quickly. It also won't let me see, by looking at the taskbar, if any of them have changed their titles (which some programs do to alert the user).

          • Heh, I wonder how many of the vocal haters bothered to do what you did: try it and modify it for your needs.
            I can tell you this much: The more vocal some user is about Unity and how quickly they installed Mint, the less likely to have tried it themselves.
            I don't use Unity myself, I use a custom KDE resembling it and using the Unity launcher API (very fun btw), but I always give Unity a try as I reinstall a newer Ubuntu version. By 13.04 it was pretty usable and looked fairly good...I believe that for users

          • by Burz (138833)

            People should be able to look at a list of their apps without having to wade through data files and a ton of OS-supplied components. We often don't remember apps by name until we have used them many, many times; OTOH infrequently used apps can still be very important, so its vexing when Unity effectively 'loses' them.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I think the maxim "change is hard" applies to this situation. It was annoying to change, but frankly, I think Unity is better than the old desktop interface. In the end it is "much ado about nothing" and people simply prefer to have things get better without enduring the learning curve of more dramatic changes. I've been using Unity for quite a while and I've found no bugs, so I don't know what people are talking about.

          I started using Unity with 12.04. It was different in the sense that there is basical

          • I think the maxim "change is hard" applies to this situation. It was annoying to change, but frankly, I think Unity is better than the old desktop interface. In the end it is "much ado about nothing" and people simply prefer to have things get better without enduring the learning curve of more dramatic changes. I've been using Unity for quite a while and I've found no bugs, so I don't know what people are talking about.

            I started using Unity with 12.04. It was different in the sense that there is basically a "Dock" rather than a "Desktop Menu" (which, frankly, makes it harder for those who don't know the name of the program they want to use; e.g. you can't just select the default mail program, you have to search on "Thunderbird").

            Just tried this: typing "mail" in the unity dash brings up thunderbird as first option. Just like typing "video" brings up movie player as first option. I'm not sure exactly how this works, but the search is not based exclusively on the application title, and generally seems pretty successful at bringing up what I am looking for when I make a fairly generic search.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          Is that the same rigor of thinking you apply to your experiments?

          • by Entropius (188861)

            I left out a step there. What happened was that the new version of Ubuntu came out with Unity, people used it for a while, and one by one went "ugh, I can't deal with this" and found something else to use instead.

            This isn't science; it's personal preference.

      • It's even worse than I thought it would be, fortunately this isn't Windows and there are plenty of alternatives to choose from.

        If you really want to run your favorite flavor of Linux "on a phone", this technology is already available [linuxonandroid.org]. It's a bit clunky but it certainly does work.
      • I have used Ubuntu since 8.10 and have 12.04.2 right now. I tried Unity and recently had to fall back to it because I broke something in Gnome Classic. I try to give competing approaches a chance, even occasionally trying Microsoft releases, but I haven't seen Win 8 as yet. The point is that if you try to use Unity on a desktop you lose the direct access you have to the nested menus you have in Gnome Classic or Gnome 2. It becomes time consuming to open dash every time you want to look for the little used

    • by tapspace (2368622)

      I actually like Unity. It's only problem is bugs (and that it's spyware). If everything worked as designed, I'd be pleased as peaches. I am disappointed that I have to replace it after finding out it is spyware (probably after a year of using it).

      I have disabled the tracking features (I think), but that is not enough. I cannot in good conscience continue to support the project (and very likely, I will switch from Ubuntu as well in the near future).

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Pretty much. I used to think Ubuntu was awesome, but now, whenever I hear "Ubuntu" or "Canonical" I laugh. It isn't 2010 anymore and the distro is effectively dead due to Canonical's increasingly poor judgment.

      As for an Ubuntu phone, I wouldn't use one if they paid me if Canonical is involved.

    • > No one trusts Canonical outside of the die-hard Ubuntu fanboys ..

      Canonical has contributed Ubuntu into the community, for free, any criticism of their business strategy is therefore groundless ...

    • Re:Of course it did (Score:5, Interesting)

      by serviscope_minor (664417) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @11:48AM (#44643557) Journal

      No one trusts Canonical outside of the die-hard Ubuntu fanboys.

      Maybe, but...

      Canonical forks everything due to their NIH syndrome. They released the buggiest, ugliest and most uselessly incoherent Desktop imaginable (Unity) and then sold their userbase to Amazon.

      We're talking about *phones* here. The bar is far, far, FAAAAARRRRRRRRRR lower than you give it credit for. Seriously, the bar is buried down a mineshaft somewhere. You'd have to get a mole machine just to see it.

      The main competitors are iOS and Android.

      Forks/NIH? CHECK!

      Well, iOS is more or less their own thing with their own language and their own API and everything. Android pretends to be Linux but for some reason they keep fucking with stock Linux is strange and incomprehensible ways which make it work less well. Oh and inventing totally new and broken APIs which then need fixing. Android is stuffed to the gills with NIH, compared to Unity.

      then sold their userbase to Amazon.

      Remember the BIGGEST competitor is android here. Basically you get to choose to sell yourself to google.

      The Edge could be the greatest thing since sliced bread, I still wouldn't give them my money.

      Who would you give money to? I mean your points are correct and they apply to desktop systems. But phones are SO bad by comparison that Unity really is a shining beacon of standards and openness.

      • I think the comparison to other desktops is used as a preview as to Canonical's behavior in the phone industry. They were much worse than everyone else in the desktop market, so they might also be worse than everyone else in the phone market.

        But, you are right that if they keep their model for desktops and use it in the phone, they'll only be slightly worse than the existing players (Amazon is not as usefulas a web search engine, so the edge loses points for that)

      • This. Unity in a phone would be a damn dream compared to how Android handles tasks and everything.
        I remember seeing someone saying below (I guess the post was moderated out) that Android was pretty good for usage...that is, if you only use ONE task at a time. Trying to switch tasks, specially quickly (try browsing for a file while trying to respond quickly on Skype. Even with helper apps it's not as easy as touching an icon in the left, no matter what).
        The app paradigm, as we know it, is only use-friendly f

    • There is a thin line between fanboy and hater. And like fanboys, you are not all that rational or insightful.
      Call me the day you are forced to use Unity and only Unity. Until then, you are nothing but noise.

  • by DogDude (805747)
    'Thousands of you clearly want to own an Ubuntu phone and believe in our vision of convergence, and rest assured you won't have much longer to wait

    Huh? Well, they're not making one, because there isn't enough interest to make it worthwhile. Why would another company have different results?
    • There was decent interest, but they only had the fund-raising run for a couple of months.

      The Star Citizen game is around 16mill last I looked, but it's been gathering funds for like a year. But that's not escrow, so they've been using the funds they already got to do actual work.

    • by tom229 (1640685)
      I believe they are talking about the software [ubuntu.com] which is already in active development and should in a more useable state next year. If you have a nexus device you could install the developer preview today.

      The edge was an attempt to make a phone specifically meant to run this software with great hardware and massive internal storage.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Whaaaaat there was one on Kickstarter too? Damn, if they wouldn't have had the other one on Indiegogo they might have got it funded.

  • I hate to say it but Ubuntu has missed the mobile boat. It would have been nice to have an open source alternate to Android and iOS. I use Android but I've got to say, it gives me the creeps the more I read about Google and how they are mining our data with seemingly no regard for their customers.

  • A powerful phone, by the proposed specification, but just a phone.

    It is hard to excite the masses when all you're offering is another black-cased smartphone, even if it does offer HDMI output.

    • by KiloByte (825081)

      Add a physical keyboard, like N900, and you instantly get a micro-laptop. Give it sane default configuration of input devices (unlike Nokia) and you hit a large niche that's currently empty.

    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      No, it was also a desktop when docked. Tell me again which other phone does that?
      • No, it was also a desktop when docked. Tell me again which other phone does that?

        Motorola has quite a few phones that do. It's based on Ubuntu.

        http://sourceforge.net/projects/motorola-webtop.motorola/ [sourceforge.net]

      • No, it was also a desktop when docked*. Tell me again which other phone does that?

        Any of the Nexus devices they've used to demonstrate Ubuntu Desktop 'convergence' to date...?

        It was just a phone. A phone SoC driving a pretty phone screen. Giving it HDMI-over-USB doesn't make it a desktop replacement.

        * dock not included nor even designed at this time. May or may not drive high-res monitors. May only support one monitor.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I would have plunked my money down, if they could produce a CDMA version of the phone for use on Verizon and Sprint.

  • Marketing ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tgd (2822) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @11:39AM (#44643431)

    IMO, the goal was deliberately set too high to meet. Now all the money goes back to the donators.

    Huge amounts of free advertising, hype generation and likely leverage in existing negotiations with hardware vendors, care of the interest $13m worth of donations the "chumps" who bought into it loaned to Indiegogo for a couple months.

    Smart. Very smart.

    • by phorm (591458)

      I've only used KS etc, rather than Indiegogo.

      Does this money actually go to a project before it reaches the end-date? The details on the site don't really mention either way.
      On KS projects, your donation is more of a pledge, which only goes through if the target is made by the end-date of the project.

      • by tgd (2822)

        I've only used KS etc, rather than Indiegogo.

        Does this money actually go to a project before it reaches the end-date? The details on the site don't really mention either way.
        On KS projects, your donation is more of a pledge, which only goes through if the target is made by the end-date of the project.

        Loaned to Indiegogo... the project doesn't get it, but you can make a LOT of money off the float.

        That was my point -- the people who "donated" basically lost the interest on all of that money, Canonical got free advertising, and Indiegogo makes a lot of money off the interest. Everyone wins! Except the people who donated in good faith. (Although, frankly, it should've been obvious to anyone that they'd never actually be able to manufacture a quality phone at that small of a number of units at that price poi

        • by phorm (591458)

          So when you "donate" to a project IndieGoGo gets the money immediately?
          I suppose that works well for them as an operational cost (and frankly, at an individual contribution rate most people aren't likely to make much interest,).

          If you're worried about that, then the Kickstart model might work better. Your "pledge" doesn't get charged to your account (credit card/paypal/etc) until the project reaches the minimum funding+cutoff date.

      • by gringer (252588)

        On KS projects, your donation is more of a pledge, which only goes through if the target is made by the end-date of the project.

        Indiegogo allows you to set up "flexible funding" (not used for the Edge case) where all donated money goes to the project even if it doesn't reach its funding goal.

  • The Kickstarter price for one phone was about $700. If I want to get a phone with a Linux derivative, I can get the newest Nexus for $300. No matter what my free software convictions and Google paranoia are, they're not worth that much. Particularly for vaporware.

  • Maybe if they hadn't played fast and loose with the desktop GUI and amazon searches they would have still been popular enough in FOSS circles to get something done. Not now. Bye canonical.
  • by Fnord666 (889225) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @01:11PM (#44644697) Journal
    As one commenter said:

    Actually it does matter a great deal. A key difference is what happens to the money if the project is not funded to the goal level. On kickstarter if the project misses its goal, no money changes hands. On indiegogo campaigns can be set up as "Flexible Funding" and the hosts get whatever is pledged (minus 9% for fees).

    From the Kickstarter page: [kickstarter.com]

    Why is Kickstarter funding all-or-nothing?

    On Kickstarter, a project must reach its funding goal before time runs out or no money changes hands. Why? It protects everyone involved. This way, no one is expected to develop a project with an insufficient budget, which sucks. Remember you set your own funding goal, so aim to raise the minimum amount you'll need to create your vision. Projects can always raise more than their goal, and often do.

    From the Indiegogo FAQ [indiegogo.com]

    What if I don't reach my funding goal?

    If your campaign is set up as Flexible Funding, you will be able to keep the funds you raise, even if you don't meet your goal. If your campaign is set up as Fixed Funding, all contributions will be returned to your funders if you do not meet your goal. Flexible Funding campaigns that meet their goal are only charged 4% as our platform fee, whereas campaigns that do not meet their goal are charged 9%.

    • On indiegogo campaigns can be set up as "Flexible Funding" and the hosts get whatever is pledged (minus 9% for fees).

      And even if a campaign is fixed funding (as this one was) it seems indiegogo charge immediately and refund if they have to.

      I couldn't seem to find any specifics on how things are handled if a campaign fails. In particular does indigogo pay the payment processing fees or do those come out of your refund?

    • As one commenter said:

      Actually it does matter a great deal. A key difference is what happens to the money if the project is not funded to the goal level. On kickstarter if the project misses its goal, no money changes hands. On indiegogo campaigns can be set up as "Flexible Funding" and the hosts get whatever is pledged (minus 9% for fees).

      Sure, but this particular indiegogo campaign was fixed funding, so everyone is now getting their money back.

  • This campaign was launched at enthusiasts who are mostly spec obsessed and they did not have complete specs on the device. There was no working prototype either so for most of us it was too rich to throw money in without knowing what we would get and how it would perform. That leaves Ubuntu fanboys, seems there are quite a few :-D
  • Man-O-Man do the Ubuntu fanboys annoy me. Canonical never really expected the fundraiser to succeed? This was all a marketing exercise? Come on, you'll give yourself a lot more credibility if you just admit this was a dismal failure.

    They like to mention the fact that the Ubuntu Edge campaign holds a record for most pledges, but It holds the record for the largest unsuccessfully funded project too.

    Linux users are cheap, there is no money to be made from them. The top selling app in Ubuntu App store h
  • So all the talk about an Ubuntu phone, but I saw a couple of weeks ago, I think it was on Gismodo, a small set-top box, that could easily replace a desk-side box and with a USB hub add in your existing peripherals, for $99. The device used mobile chips, low power and a flash disk.

    So five years ago I bought a $300 desk-side box, Athlon-64 dual processor, 320 GB HDD, and 2 Gig ram. I would guess that if someone offered a processor that was x86 compatable, that I could run Linux off a USB stick or off the f

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