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Ubuntu Edge smartphone is dead, but lower-end variants still in the cards
Canonical’s Indiegogo campaign to fund the development of an Ubuntu-based smartphone has come to a close and, as expected, it fell short of its ambitious goal -- $19 million short to be precise. But the company isn’t chalking this up as a failure; if anything, the fact that the $12.8 million raised for the Ubuntu Edge also made it the largest crowdfunding campaign ever serves as an indication that there’s a market for such a device.
CEO Mark Shuttleworth was hopeful up to the end that a handset maker or industry player would shell out the outstanding funds and kickstart the program. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, and although he claims carriers and handset makers are definitely interested in building Ubuntu handsets, most likely they will not be the top-end "superphones" that the Edge was aiming to be. Shuttleworth also believes that while the Edge’s promise of a phone that can double as a desktop has gone unfulfilled eventually that’s where the market is going.
As a refresher, the handset consisted of a single piece of textured metal with a 4.5-inch screen under a piece of sapphire crystal. It would have operated at 1,280 x 720 with a focus on color accuracy and dynamic range over pure pixel density. Under the hood were 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, dual-LTE receivers, dual cameras, a current generation high-end mobile processor and a range of sensors and connectivity options.
Most notably, the Edge promised the ability to dual-boot Ubuntu and Android, share the Unity interface with Ubuntu on desktops and tablets, and connect to a monitor and keyboard for desktop-like use.
Since the campaign failed to reach its $32 million funding goal, all the money will be returned to backers, and Indiegogo has said it won’t be charging its usual fee for missing a funding goal.
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