Ubuntu Edge Fails Crowdfund Goal – What Failed?

edge-1[1]It was an ambitious number. Even though they had 13,232 people back with $12,813,501, the Ubuntu Edge did not reach its goal of $32 million dollars.

The Ubuntu Edge was a concept open source phone using the Ubuntu OS. The phone was planned to dual-boot Android and Ubuntu mobile and almost double the specs of an iPhone or Android.

The Canonical team posted on their Indigogo page that although they didn’t make the goal, they did break records. $12 million was the worlds’ biggest fixed crowdfunding campaign. The pebble watch was the current holder of that record with $10 million.

Does Ubuntu Edge Still Win?

With Indigogo, they have a choice of  Flexible funding or Fixed funding. Ubuntu Edge didn’t reach their goal and their campaign is Fixed funding. Therefore, all backers will get their money back, but might be on a email list when Canonical decides to do this again.

So going back to that previous statement – they DIDN’T raise $12 million because of the fixed funding. So did they really break the record since it failed?

Things for Canonical to Think About on the Next Crowdfund

  1. 32 million is probably too much to ask at this point. $10 million would have been better
  2. Flexible funding would have ensured the phone would have gotten started
  3. Canonical did not post any estimated release dates, which might have put some off. If I have to wait a whole year to get the phone, what good is touting features that surpass iOS and Android?

Ubuntu Linux Heads for Smartphones and Tablets

ZDNet is reporting that Canonical is intending to make the next release of Ubuntu, 12.04, a LTS (Long Term Support) release with intention of then expanding Ubuntu beyond desktops and laptops into smartphones, tablets and smart TVs, with a target of 2014 for an all-platform release.

Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, in an interview said, “This is a natural expansion of our idea as Ubuntu as Linux for human beings. As people have moved from desktop to new form factors for computing, it’s important for us to reach out to out community on these platforms. So, we’ll embrace the challenge of how to use Ubuntu on smartphones, tablets and smart-screens.” The full announcement is expected at the Ubuntu Developer Summit, which starts tomorrow and runs for a week in Orlando, Florida.

Having already been in discussions with partners for around 18 months, it seems that this is more than wishful thinking, but one can’t help feel that the whole Palm-HP-WebOS debacle bodes badly for any company wanting to get in on the smartphone and tablet space. If HP can’t make it happen with a solid OS and Zen of Palm, what hope has Canonical? When quizzed about this, Shuttleworth said that he saw “Android as its primary competitor…..We’ve also already heard from people who are already shipping tablets that they want Ubuntu on the tablet.” And of course, “Ubuntu already has a developer and customer base.”

While there’s no doubt that the mobile space is still maturing and there’s plenty of change still to come,  I have a hard time seeing Ubuntu on anything but a small niche of tablets and an even smaller niche of smartphones. iOS and Android have their foothold and Microsoft will be a solid third if Windows Phone 7 continues to deliver and Windows 8 delivers as expected. A fourth player is going to have difficulty making inroads, especially one as relatively unknown as Canonical and Ubuntu.

Smart TVs are a more plausible destination as the internal software is of less concern to the consumer. Most people buying a TV are looking at the exterior brand such as Sony, Samsung or LG, and not what’s inside, although this may change if a “Powered by Roku” or “Google TV inside” campaign runs. Plenty of change to come in this space too.

I wish Ubuntu every success.