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Ubuntu Edge Smartphone Funding Trends Low 251

alphadogg writes "The first heady rush of support for Canonical's crowd-funded Ubuntu Edge smartphone appears to have tapered off, as donations for the eye-catching device have slowed substantially over the past several days. The project sits just above the $7 million mark at the time of this writing – a large sum by the standards of crowd-funded projects, to be sure, but the $32 million goal is still a long way off. The Edge is slightly, but measurably, behind schedule – by about $600,000, according to a tracking graph made by Canonical's Gustavo Niemeyer. However, there's speculation that wealthy Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth might contribute some of his personal fortune to the project." The campaign has already broken records with its spectacular first few days. I hope that Shuttleworth does kick in to make production feasible, because the idea and the design are impressive — but I'm leery of spending quite so much on any phone.
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Ubuntu Edge Smartphone Funding Trends Low

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  • Shuttleworth (Score:5, Informative)

    by mknewman ( 557587 ) * on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @09:27AM (#44422305)
    Shuttle worth has already said that he will not buy up unsold units, as that defeats the idea of crowd sourcing. Some of his ideas will make it into mainstream phones in a few years. BTW I bought 2.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Burz ( 138833 )

      It behooves us to also consider whether Shuttleworth's track record and vision are impacting the level of enthusiasm. The Ubuntu desktop isn't exactly a breathtaking achievement in the eyes of most computer users. I use it daily, and I like some of the changes they are making in BAU for Linux desktops. But Unity is a dog's breakfast just laying there waiting to slip-up users as soon as they step foot over the threshold.

      The other major fault from the standpoint of the consumer is they are still a "distro" an

      • by Clsid ( 564627 )

        Ubuntu is quite a big achievement in my opinion. Again, in my opinion it was the first truly easy to use distro and made it possible for a whole lot of people to use Linux that would not have touched it otherwise. That being said, I would install Ubuntu for other people since it is easier to manage when you have to be the support guy but in my case I still prefer Gentoo even if it makes me spend an ungodly amount of time just trying to make my freaking wireless card work.

    • Interesting, they have sold 78 T-Shirts for $50 a pop in just a few hours. It'd be funny to get our phones funded by swag. If you look at the bottom graph [] you will see that although they have slipped under the trend line it's not that far off, and some people may be waiting till late in the project to plop down the $830 or less. That may be a wise move as I have tied up my money for a month, I have no doubt I can get it back but I'd rather have the phones.
  • Cheaper Options.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ZiakII ( 829432 )
    They really should of introduced some cheaper options. Like support the Ubuntu Edge for $60 and get a Ubuntu T-Shirt. Possibly include some other options that are not a staggering $700+ for most people.
    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      $800 would be fine, if I believed for a second the final device would be what they claim. I suspect they are aiming to high and at such low volume will not be able to get the parts they want.

      They should have made a small run of them to prove it could be done. If they had I would have already bought one.

      Or let us make a deposit and pay the rest if the described device actually ships.

      • by ssam ( 2723487 )

        A small run would probably cost a huge amount more. These aren't components that you can buy individually. You need to be about place orders for thousands at a time.

        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

          Which is why they won't be able to do it.

          I mean a single one, lets see a single real phone. If anyone thought they could pull this off one of the OEMs would build them a prototype.

          • by Xicor ( 2738029 )
            they have some prototypes... that being said, they are going to wait as long as possible to make sure it has the best specs available at launch.
            • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

              By which point they will be mediocre specs.

              A sapphire screen and 128GB storage is only good because it is better than the average.

      • by Rakishi ( 759894 )

        More to the point, making phones is hard and making good phones is even harder. Look at the issues apple has had with their new phones and Apple is, from what I've heard, some of the if not the best in the game in terms of hardware talent.

        I'd bet money they run into issues, start cutting corners and finally launch a buggy device that misses a number of features. Pretty standard really for a v1 if you think about it but not something I'd want to drop $800 for ahead of time especially without knowing what bug

    • by JanneM ( 7445 )

      "Like support the Ubuntu Edge for $60 and get a Ubuntu T-Shirt."

      They do now. $50 gives you an Edge T-shirt as well as recognition as founder.

  • by Bradmont ( 513167 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @09:32AM (#44422345)
    While this looks to be a great phone, the crowdfunding campaign is about a lot more than getting a cool phone; it's about proving an idea: that there is a market for special-run, innovative devices. If they succeed, they could seriously change the way phones are produced, and we could see an influx of really cool hardware projects in the future. This is important for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the opin hardware movement. While using open hardware is not a goal of this project, if they manage to succeed, we could see something similar for fully open smartphones not too far down the road. Shuttleworth said in his Reddit AMA that this might be an idea for the next iteration (though I wouldn't put too much stock in that). However, if the concept is proven, others could follow suit pretty quick. So, it's not so much $800 for a cool phone, but an $800 investment in the future of computing.
  • by sanosuke001 ( 640243 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @09:32AM (#44422347)
    The design is interesting and I'd love a dual-boot android/ubuntu device but I can't spend $600, let alone $830 on a phone.
    • by ChristW ( 18232 )

      A contract with your carrier with a 'free phone' attached costs about $50 a month, so (those are usually 2 years...) cost $1200 in two years. If you get a SIM-only contract (is that possible in the US?), those are $5 to $10 a month, so you save $800+ in 2 years. Hey, that's enough to buy an Edge, right there!

      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        A contract with your carrier with a 'free phone' attached costs about $50 a month, so (those are usually 2 years...) cost $1200 in two years. If you get a SIM-only contract (is that possible in the US?), those are $5 to $10 a month, so you save $800+ in 2 years. Hey, that's enough to buy an Edge, right there!

        or you could buy just any high end smartphone you want.

        like, um, this year.

      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        T-mobile and MVNOs in the USA do offer SIM only plans.

        They are more like $30-$50, but on contract plans for a smartphone are going to be double that. You $50 a month is comparatively cheap vs the average american smartphone plan.

      • My unlocked no contract android phone was $100, not $800. Most people neither need nor can afford $800 phones or $50/month contracts.
        • by Xicor ( 2738029 )
          an iphone without contract costs you around 600$ in the US, and about 900 in eu. when the galaxy s2 came out, it was 550$ in the US.
        • by Xicor ( 2738029 )
          dont compare a budget phone with a top of the line piece of hardware. obviously you can go to a store and buy yourself a piece of junk desktop for 200-400$... but any real desktop will cost you 1500-2k in parts.
          • 1500-2000 for a desktop? You sir, are getting ripped off.

            • by Xicor ( 2738029 )
              no man... thats how much a top of the line desktop will cost you if you build it yourself. your gpu will be 400-600$, your psu 100-200$, your CPU will be another 400$, your mobo will be another 200$, a SSD will cost you 200$ for a decently sized one.. if you want a ssd just for your os, it would be around 75$, then you need HDD which would cost you around 100$ for 2TB. a good case that will fit all this will cost you another 100$. a liquid cooling unit will cost you another 100$... is this getting close to
              • That's not a "real desktop", that is a top of the line gaming desktop. I've never seen a water-cooled computer in the wild and I've never spent north of $400 on a GPU.

                That said, I don't even use desktops anymore.

                • by Xicor ( 2738029 )
                  lol when i say a real desktop, i mean one powerful enough to play games... not one powerful enough to read emails.
      • A 16gb Nexus is $349, off-contract, on the play store. I would never spend $500+ on a phone.

      • I spend $30/month on T-Mobile Prepay in the US, which gives me 5GB of data, unlimited texting, and 100 minutes. Additional minutes are $0.10. I use about $10/month in extra minutes. So that's $40-45/month unsubsidized, rock-bottom in the US for a smartphone on a fast-ish network. My wife has a no-data (well, a few MB), 1200 minutes or texts plan for the same $30 and she never goes over.

        I think the cheapest post-paid plans in the US run around $80/month.

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      Then you can't afford a smartphone.
      You are paying that one way or another.

      I would be more than happy to spend $800 if they would show us real production units.

      • Except that I have a phone to use instead of giving them $800 and waiting two years to get it. Also, affording something over two years ie cell plan is easier to budget for than a large $800 chunk.
        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

          If you have to budget that, then you probably should just get rid of the smartphone plan.

          I would not have one if work did not pay for it. $100/month for internet on the go is insane if not for work.

    • by Xicor ( 2738029 )
      im guessing that youve never bought a phone outside of a carrier contract. you know those phones you get for 150$ when you upgrade every other year? yea... those are 500 or 600$ phones... the phone company is just subsidising it and making their money back by increasing the price of your contract to balance it.
  • > but I'm leery of spending quite so much on any phone.

    I'm not quite sure I get this. Spending so much on what? On R&D and production? Total on a crowdsource fund? Per donator on a crowdsource project? Is the phone itself projected to be expensive or something?

    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      You do realize that you're "donating" to a privately, for-profit company, right?
  • Is that what was presented was nice, but contained nothing that was really wow in any way. As such its a premium phone/tablet and there is convincing to be done.

    Would I really pay double for this phone - if so.. why? I honestly did not see anything really ahead of the curve despite Mr Shuttleworth trying to intimate that the phone handset market is conservative (it used to be, I am less than sure that HTC ones and Samsung Galaxy 4's are such .. the hand sets seem to be racing along tech wise from where I si

    • by Xicor ( 2738029 )
      it may seem like they are racing along to the average user, but in actually they are racing along with technology that has been out for years. even if they keep "racing along", they will still be a few years behind the absolute best. the new samsung galaxy phones will still be using lithium ion batteries... which are known for their terrible charge density and horrible battery life. silicon anode technology has been out for a year or so in its current form, and they get 3x the charge density and will last 5
  • by tdp252 ( 519328 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @09:41AM (#44422455)
    The trend of omitting an SD Card slot so that people are funneled through cloud services is disappointing. I personally won't be buying any device where I am forced into being Cloud-walled.
    • Absolutely. Why isn't there someone doing a device with more than one?
      The biggest hole in all current 'fashion' devices is storage.

    • by msk ( 6205 )

      . . . and no sign that the battery is easy to replace.

      If it works with Ting (the best Sprint MVNO, IMO), then I'll consider it later. I like having an SD card slot and an easily-replaceable battery.

    • The trend of omitting an SD Card slot so that people are funneled through cloud services is disappointing. I personally won't be buying any device where I am forced into being Cloud-walled.

      With 128GB of storage, you are hardly being forced to put your data in the cloud...

  • Better have a big cache on the Youtube app is all I have to say.

  • by Bollie ( 152363 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @10:01AM (#44422689)


    I have serious doubts that Canonical is able to deliver on this: they do not have a history of delivering top-notch software, unless you count their press-releases and boundless enthusiasm as software.

    Aside from a few interesting things (upstart being among the few projects adopted outside of Ubuntu), they've basically decided to ignore whatever the rest of the community is doing and implement their own (buggy) stuff which is "better". Canonical's stuff makes GNOME3 look usable. That takes some doing.

    Aside from my doubts about their ability, I also find the concept deeply flawed. Cheap support infrastructure does not currently exist for a dockable phone. Sure, you can use it as a desktop, you just need to buy a dock that you carry around, or a dock for every desk you usually use. Sure, you can use it as a phone, you just need a bluetooth headset that you have to keep charged when you're using it as a desktop. Sure, it's dual-boot, it just means that you can't phone or use the desktop when you switch modes. Sure it can do all of the above, but you have no battery life.

    People who need to navigate and use their phone a lot tend to have TWO devices: a GPS or built-in satnav an a phone. Convergence is a great idea, but you're going to pay a lot in battery life for all those features. Running out of juice is NOT FUN these days.

    It appears Shuttleworth is trying to emulate companies like Apple, Microsoft and Google by doing the opposite of what used to be done in the spirit of Linux. The copyright clause in all Canonical software, Mir, forking GNOME into Unity and the doublespeak pouring out of the community spokesdrones have been in stark contrast to the early days of Debian, Slackware and open culture. Maybe he really believes he's Steve Jobs and Bill Gates reincarnated and rolled into one: I really think he's got the remorselessness of the one and the ruthlessness of the other.

    I believe Ubuntu has single-handedly done more to bring down the quality of Linux on the desktop than any other distro.

    I believe the reason Ubuntu is so successful is because of marketing. NOT because of technical quality. This is why I believe that the human race is getting stupider every year. Ah well.


  • ... corporate buy-in, is where the campaign is really lacking. Numbers would rack up much faster with a few $80,000 committments. But business has been burned before by vaporware and a nearly year-long, (if everything goes according to plan), wait to get any return on the investment is a very, very hard sell.
    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      But business has been burned before by vaporware and a nearly year-long, (if everything goes according to plan), wait to get any return on the investment is a very, very hard sell.

      Vapor isn't really the biggest problem in the cell phone industry these days, it's that many decent phones sell like complete turds. Either you're a phone that's catching on or you're like totally out and you couldn't even move them at fire sale prices. See Nokia and Blackberry for two large players who suddenly found their phones unsellable. So you have a rather low upside (what can you actually retail them for? $999?) and potentially a huge downside ($399 maybe to get rid of a flop? You can't move flops a

  • " I'm leery of spending quite so much on any phone.".

    No, you're leery of not being subsidized by your phone carrier. Most high-end smartphones cost about the same as the Ubuntu Edge, if you buy them off-contract. Look at the 32-GB iPhone 5, it's $749, which is close to a 128-GB Ubuntu Edge (and of course I'm ignoring the Edge's other specs which also quite good).

  • Way Behind (Score:5, Informative)

    by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @10:32AM (#44423121)
    Strictly looking at the ratio of raised : goal doesn't tell the whole story for each of the past 3-days they've only earned 200k. If that trend continues (and imo it's more likely they will tail off further) they'll be ~12 million by the end of the campaign.
  • Want a phone that runs Ubuntu today? Go buy a Nexus 4 for $300, and install the Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview [].

    Warning: it's not very good. In fact, I found my phone was orders of magnitude more useful running CyanogenMod.

    Assuming the edge sparks development of Ubuntu touch, you'll still be able to install it on your old android phones... so why tie up $800 into a phone that doesn't even exist yet, built for a platform that isn't even close to mature? Also, when exactly did it become ok for these for-pr
  • Binary blobs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vargad ( 1948686 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @04:58PM (#44428379)
    They are talking about openness, open device, open source, but they plan to use closed source binary blobs. I can't see the point. I won't support this project, and no one should unless they produce truly open system.

People who go to conferences are the ones who shouldn't.