Canonical drops the Ubuntu Edge smartphone price to $695 (for 2 weeks)

Canonical’s effort to raise money for an Ubuntu Edge smartphone kicked off to a great start last month, raising 10 percent of the $32 million goal in the first day. But two weeks later, and half-way through the crowd-funding campaign, the project has still raised less than $9 million from folks interested in the idea of a phone that dual-boots Android and Ubuntu and which functions as a mobile phone and a desktop computer.

Part of the problem might be the high asking price: In order to get your hands on an Ubuntu Edge phone you need to pledge $830. That’s a lot of money to spend on a phone that won’t exist until 2014 — if it ever gets built at all.

So Canonical is hoping to jump-start the campaign by lowering the price to $695 through the end of the campaign on August 21st.

Ubuntu Edge

This isn’t the first opportunity to reserve an Edge for less than $830. On day one Canonical offered early-bird prices. Later in the campaign, the company offered a limited number of devices for lower prices as well.

But for now through the end of the campaign, $695 is the full price for the phone.

While Canonical hasn’t chosen a processor for the phone yet, the Ubuntu Edge is expected to feature 4GB of RAM, 128GB of solid state storage, and a 4.5 inch, 1280 x 720 pixel display. It’ll work as a smartphone running Ubuntu Phone OS or Android (which means that you have access to around a billion apps while waiting for developers to start porting their software to Ubuntu). Or you can connect it to a docking station to hook up a keyboard, mouse and monitor to run full-fledged Ubuntu desktop software.

Building a phone like that isn’t cheap — and if you buy a phone that doesn’t come with a subsidy from your wireless carrier, it’s not unusual to pay $600 or more for a phone with a much smaller amount of RAM and storage. But Canonical says that the publicity its campaign has already generated has enabled it to negotiate better deals on hardware, which means it can sell a phone for $695 without losing money.

Canonical says if the campaign reaches its $32 million goal, anyone who pledged more than $695 for a phone will be refunded the difference.

Of course, it’s important to keep something in mind when backing a crowd-funded project: Even if Canonical meets its $32 million goal, it doesn’t mean the Ubuntu Edge will be go into production or meet your expectations even if it does.

The company is trying to raise money to build something that currently doesn’t exist. There’s always a chance that they’ll fail to do that — although with $32 million to play with, there’s a decent chance that they’ll be able to at least produce something to send to folks who’ve pledged hundreds of dollars.

But effectively when you’re giving money to this sort of campaign, you’re not pre-ordering a device. You’re making a donation in hopes of one day receiving a product.

So if you want to support the project and help bring this type of phone into existence, but don’t want to spend money on device that you may never receive, you might want to consider making a $20 or $50 pledge to get your name on the Founders page or pick up a T-shirt.

  • James

    I’m on Verizon so I don’t have much use for this as a phone because it doesn’t support CDMA although Verizon LTE does seem to be supported. Anyway, does anyone have a link that says what you can do while using the Ubuntu mobile OS without having to go into the desktop mode? In particular, will it have a built-in terminal and can I install and run all (at least the command line ones) the software in the Ubuntu repos? I have a lot of Bash scripts that I use on Ubuntu desktop that could be useful during mobile use.

    About the the 128 GB of storage. I assume that uses the crappily slow eMMC storage. It can be an issue for those who copy large amounts of files within the same drive which I do somewhat often especially during desktop use.

    • moogley

      It has a terminal but I can’t find much info on how much you can do with it. If I can do the same things as I can when in desktop mode then I’ll put $695 investment on it.

    • V1Dar

      “About the the 128 GB of storage. I assume that uses the crappily slow eMMC storage.”

      Why would you assume that when the rest of the phone is high end?

      For $965 you will get 128 GB storage, 4 GB RAM, the best multi-core processor available when produced, and a GPU that will be able to output full HD to a external screen. This is also a unlocked phone with dual-LTE and GMS, cabale of runing in most networks i US and Europe, and most other countries.

      The device will have MHL-port and one 3.5 mm jack plug. The MHL port can deliver full HD and 7.1 surround sound.

      The Edge will have Sapphire glass, a surface so hard that you need diamonds to scratch it.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ1WWRKKelY

      Ubuntu Edge will also have a new type battery (silicon-anode Li-Ion battery), that is expectet to have x5 to x10 better capacity than current batteries.

      “Nanowire battery can hold 10 times the charge of existing lithium-ion battery”

      http://news.stanford.edu/news/2008/january9/nanowire-010908.html

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.rogiest Jonathan Rogiest

    To clarify the last 2 paragraphs since they are incorrect: It’s a fixed funding. So if they don’t produce it everybody will get their money back. It’s not a donation. http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ubuntu-edge/x/4153302

    • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

      That’s if it isn’t funded. What I’m saying is that they could spend the $32 million *trying* to build a phone and fail… And if that happens, there’s no money available to refund.

      Crowd-funding isn’t pre-ordering. It’s fundraising, and if all goes according to plan backers will get something out of it. Things don’t always go according to plan.

      • V1Dar

        If things go according to the plan you will get a Ubuntu Edge phone for $690. If things doesn’t go according to the plan, you get your money back. It’s a fixed funding.

      • V1Dar

        Mark Shuttleworth:

        “The crowdfunding is really what it costs to bring a device to market, it would be more if we were a major brand, $32m is pretty lean I’m told. Hope the actual cost doesn’t exceed it or I’ll be carrying that baby but hey it’s worth the risk.”

        http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1j166z/hi_im_mark_shuttleworth_founder_of_ubuntu/?limit=500