Yet More Proof That I’m Behind The Times

As if I needed more examples of how out of touch I am with technology, here’s something that was surprising for a couple of reasons:

The Ubuntu Edge is an exclusive production run, available only through Indiegogo. All of the funding we receive goes directly towards producing the device for expected delivery in May 2014. The only pockets getting filled by this campaign will be yours when the handset arrives.
ubuntu Edge top view

Ubuntu Edge promotional photo. Image credit: Ubuntu Edge/Indiegogo

Ubuntu Edge

Here’s what I find interesting or surprising, in no particular order:

  • It’s being funded using Internet fundraising techniques. This is called various things, including “crowd sourcing”, but the basic idea is that this project will depend at least partly for funding on people signing up for one of these phones over the Internet. So far, they’ve found 1250 people willing to pay $725 (US, I believe) for one of these phones that won’t be delivered until next year.

    Good grief. That’s a month’s rent in a decent apartment in these parts. Yet they’re finding people willing to pay even more for them.

  • The later you are, the more you’ll pay. At least, that appears to be the implication. There were phones available for $725. There are still phones available for $750, $780, and $790. I don’t see any difference between the offerings besides the price.

    Not only are they able to find 1250 people who are willing to buy a phone for $725, they seem sure they’ll find people glad to pay even more.

  • The thing will, according to the promotional blurb, be able to double as a desktop computer, provided you provide the monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Like so:
    Promotional photo of Ubuntu Edge connected to a monitor and keyboard

    Ubuntu Edge prototype plugged into a monitor and keyboard for use as a computer. Image credit: Ubuntu Edge/Indiegogo.

The thing has some pretty impressive specifications, considering that it’s a phone:

Technical Specifications

  • Dual boot Ubuntu mobile OS and Android
  • Fully integrated Ubuntu desktop PC when docked
  • Fastest multi-core CPU, 4GB RAM, 128GB storage
  • Micro-SIM
  • 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
  • 11-pin connector providing simultaneous MHL and USB OTG
  • 3.5mm jack
  • Silicon-anode Li-Ion battery
  • 64 x 9 x 124mm

Specifications are subject to change.
Exploded view of Ubuntu Edge prototype phone

Exploded view of Ubuntu Edge prototype showing top and bottom covers. Image credit: Ubuntu Edge/Indiegogo.

Ubuntu Edge

My new laptop computer doesn’t have some of this stuff – like GPS. I had to buy a GPS sensor separately.

Yes, it could fit in my pocket. It could also fit in someone else’s pocket if I’m not careful. Still, if I were going to pay $725 $750 $780 for a phone, this would probably be a good choice.

Why do people spend that sort of money? This is more of a technology demonstrator and software development platform than a phone:

For Developers

HTML5 apps written for other platforms can be brought over to Ubuntu with ease, and any web property can quickly be adapted to run as a web app, with its own icon and access to system services. For richer applications, use our QML toolkit for amazingly productive high-performance engineering.

But best of all, using the Ubuntu SDK you can write and upload a single native application that has desktop, tablet and phone interfaces. It’s a developer’s dream.

Ubuntu Edge

Ubuntu does have a good record of integrating open source software. The new Unity interface always struck me as something that was better for cellphones, so perhaps this was its destiny. Ubuntu have been talking about moving into the smart phone business for a while now, so this appear to be their opening foray into providing their own platform.

So, while I’m not particularly interested in owning one of these things, I can’t help wishing them well. In the long run, communications run better on open source software. At least, that’s been my experience. Maybe in two or three years’ time, there will be an Ubuntu phone the rest of us can afford.

Afterword: The photos here are, as the captions note, a product of Ubuntu and displayed at the Indiegogo site. They are promotional photos, though, which is why I used them here.

This article has not been approved, reviewed, or otherwise blessed by Ubuntu, Indiegogo, or anyone else associated with the project. In fact, if any of them read it, I’ll be surprised…

About Cujo359
An engineer, computer programmer, and former defense worker who also does amateur theatre. Contact: my nom de ordinateur at

4 Responses to Yet More Proof That I’m Behind The Times

  1. One Fly says:

    I will not be getting one.

  2. lawguy1983 says:

    Well, ok then. I’ll go with the name they gave me although I don’t think I’ve used it before, but I kind of like it. Makes me seem younger.

    For some strange reason I want one of these, not that I’ll ever get one. I blame my father who had to have a new car every year as soon as the new ones were released. Oh well.

    • Cujo359 says:

      Just how many lawguys are there out there, I wonder?

      Anyway, if you’re looking for something you can use like a smartphone and then plug into some sort of monitor+keyboard dock to do heavy computing, then this would probably make sense. I just don’t know how many of such people there are out there.

      I wish them luck, though. Smartphone options don’t strike me as terribly diverse or good right now.

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