There’ll Be No Ubuntu Edge, But What’s Next For Ubuntu Phones?

ubuntu edge team q&a

The Ubuntu Edge crowdfunding project has failed.  Canonical failed to raise the $32 million funding goal it had set for itself in just one month.  But did it fail miserably?  No, not at all.  On the contrary, Canonical managed to set a new world crowdfunding record, as it was able to raise $12,812,776 – the highest funding any crowdfunding project has ever been able to raise.

The project was launched back in July 22, 2013 and Canonical set itself one month to raise its $32M funding goal.  Though the goal seemed impossible to reach, the signs were looking good at first.  In just 24 hours, it was able to raise a massive $3.45 million, and by the end of the week, it had hit $7.07 million.  Unfortunately, the hype quickly died down, and by the end of the second week, funding slowed to a crawl, inching to just over $8 million.

Analysts predicted that the Ubuntu Edge would not reach its funding goal in time but would be able to raise somewhere between $18 and $22M.  Unfortunately, even that prediction was not fulfilled

So the question on all Ubuntu fans lips is, what will happen next?

Time to get busy


The hopes of Canonical creating a superphone might have gone up in smoke, but that doesn’t mean the world will never see an Ubuntu phone in the future.  In a blog post on its Indiegogo page, Mark Shuttleworth and his team revealed that Canonical is already in talks with manufacturers who have been closely watching the hype surrounding the Ubuntu Edge.

“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. 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.”

“All of the support and publicity has continued to drive our discussions with some major manufacturers, and we have many of the world’s biggest mobile networks already signed up to the Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group. They’ll have been watching this global discussion of Ubuntu and the need for innovation very closely indeed,” Shuttleworth wrote.

The point is, even if we don’t get to see the Ubuntu Edge in all its glory, in 2014 there will be a bunch of smartphones running Ubuntu instead of Android, Windows Phone, or even Firefox OS.  And if Canonical gets really lucky, it might even see its vision of what the Ubuntu Edge would have been like translated into one of those 2014 smartphones.  Future Ubuntu phones might not have all the features of the Edge, but with technology advancing the way it is, whatever turns up won’t be far off that vision.

The Ubuntu Edge might be dead, but Ubuntu’s mobile journey is only just beginning

The Ubuntu Edge vs Samsung Galaxy S4 vs IPhone 5 vs Nokia Lumia 1020

As for the funds pledged towards the Ubuntu Edge, Shuttleworth assured the more than 20,000 people who backed the project that they will receive a full refund.  All funds will be processed by PayPal within five working days.

The crowdfunding lesson


Shuttleworth also mentioned that though the Ubuntu Edge has failed, him and his team learned a valuable lesson about crowdfunding.  It was a great ride and a great opportunity for the Ubuntu community and consumers to voice their opinions.  And though the ride was a bit bumpy, it would be one road they’d be willing to take again in the future.

“[W]e believe it’s a great way to give consumers a voice and to push for more innovation and transparency in the mobile industry. And who knows, perhaps one day we’ll take everything we’ve learned from this campaign — achievements and mistakes — and try it all over again,” Shuttleworth concluded.