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Ubuntu Edge is a smartphone and desktop computer in one


July 26, 2013

The Ubuntu Edge is a smartphone and desktop PC in one device

The Ubuntu Edge is a smartphone and desktop PC in one device

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The fine line between full-featured smartphone and powerful computer has been blurred with news that Canonical is developing a pocket-sized dual OS superphone that runs both Android and Ubuntu. When running Ubuntu mobile, users of the new Ubuntu Edge will be able to launch apps and access settings by swiping the edge of the display. Cabling the phone to a monitor and pairing it with a wireless keyboard and mouse allows power users to launch a full version of the Ubuntu desktop computing platform, with seamless transition between environments.

The Edge's Ubuntu phone OS is said to present an uncluttered interface where navigation is undertaken using screen edge swipes, hence the product name. System toolbars are activated via the top edge, app toolbars are available at the bottom, a favorite apps launcher is on the left and open apps can be flicked through on the right.

The phone can also boot into Android, and from launch users will be able to access the Ubuntu desktop environment from within Google's popular OS using the Ubuntu for Android app. Shortly after launch, the developers will push out an update to integrate the full version of the Ubuntu desktop environment into Ubuntu mobile.

The Ubuntu Edge is being developed as an open device, so won't be tied to any particular network. The phone is designed to work in any country that provides GSM/3G/LTE-based network services, and will pack dual LTE antennas for super-fast surfing wherever in the world you might find yourself.

Though hardware specs are subject to change ahead of actual production, at the moment they include a 4.5-inch, 1,280 x 720 resolution sapphire crystal display that will be selected for accurate color reproduction and dynamic range, an unspecified multi-core processor, 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of onboard storage.

Canonical is aiming for dimensions of 124 x 64 x 9 mm (4.9 x 2.5 x 0.35 in), with a textured, angular metal body that's home to an 8 MP low-light-friendly rear-facing camera, and a 2 MP webcam at the front. It will come with 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4, built-in GPS and will be NFC-capable.

In addition to an accelerometer and a gyro, the Edge will also sport a compass, proximity sensor and barometer. Its two microphones will benefit from active noise cancellation, stereo speakers will pump out high definition audio, and there's a 3.5-mm audio jack for a less public listening experience.

The developers plan to maximize the amount of energy in the space available by making use of upcoming silicon-anode Li-ion battery technology, and the device will feature MHL and USB on-the-go support via an 11-pin connector.

The Ubuntu Edge project has already gone from concept sketches through to test handsets, and is currently at the pre-production prototype stage. It's not intended to make a break for commercial release, but rather be manufactured as a strictly limited edition enthusiast device. As such, the Canonical has opted to take the crowdfunding route to turn the idea into reality.

A rather lofty funding goal of US$32 million has been set, but as Indiegogo backers have already stumped up nearly $7 million in just a few days, we'll wager that this one's ripe for success. All of the early bird levels have gone, so backers will need to pledge at least $775 to secure a Ubuntu Edge. Canonical expects delivery to take place in May 2014.

The company's Mark Shuttleworth introduces the concept and the proposed hardware in the video below.

Source: Canonical, Indiegogo

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag. All articles by Paul Ridden

Someone has a graph up here that plots the Indiegogo funding over time so you can trend it: http://ubuntu.korczynskij.pl/


A touch screen on a phone, a keyboard/mouse on the big screen...the perfect marriage of phones and computers. Another well deserved shift in loyalty towards Ubuntu/Android.


Errrr.... It doesn't run Android then Ubuntu when plugged in - It runs Ubuntu phone and Ubuntu desktop, with the option to turn off and reboot into Android, for those apps that aren't on Ubuntu phone yet. This is the second place I've seen that error, and it'll seriously confuse people if it keeps being said. The apps on Ubuntu Desktop and Ubuntu phone are the same and are usable in both desktop and phone environments.


At work you can, in most companies, use Ubuntu as an thinclient and run Windows applications such as MS Office straight from the Ubuntu desktop, and run it like a native application.



The company will only have to support you with one phone, instead of one phone and one laptop. Here is a link about the quality of the phone:


You can use your phone as an Ubuntu Phone or an Android Phone, and if you have a screen and a keybord, use it as an desktop computer. Your data and applications will be available both when you use Ubuntu Edge as a Phone and as a Desktop PC. And in time you should also be able to use it as a tablet, like this:



Looking at the link I posted above if you plot money raised against the average rate needed over the term (show 32m goal) the lines are about to intersect meaning by this time tomorrow if nothing changes they will be under their projection. This is bad because it is still early in funding so they are still riding the coattails of the initial jump and early media attention. Unless an angel investor jumps in near the end to bridge the gap I don't see it happening.


30 mil is way to high these days, sorry you can get a first run of product out for much less. The first round of a product is always plagued with bugs and issue. They should of asked for the minimum amount of money to get a small production run, then work out the bugs, make improvements and seek additional funding for the second run.

They got to 3.8 mil fast offering $600 phone, but when that ran out their funding started to slow. I think its going to be hard to get from 8 milion where they are today to 30 million. I mean its a bit of a niche market, most people are happy with their androids or iphones. And windows phone users are really good at acting like they are happy. regardless of the funding I hope this goes into production. Between this, tizen, firefox and all the other mobile os I really think we will see the end of iOS.


"30 mil is way to high these days, sorry you can get a first run of product out for much less."

Sorry. You can't get a mobile like this, for anything less than $830. Ubuntu Edge is at top model that is only you only can get throughout this campaign.

"The first round of a product is always plagued with bugs and issue."

Every step in the process is already beta-tested.

"They should of asked for the minimum amount of money to get a small production run [...]"

That is what Canonical is doing. They are doing a small production run with 40 000 units.


Yesss, brilliant ... but why only a 4.5 inch screen. That's just too small for reading comfortably, which is what a smartphone is for. Please also do it as a phablet, e-reader size, something like the Sony Xperia Z Ultra 6.4 inch, 1920x1080, 212g (preferably less).


May be there is finally something that I can use to dump window? I will look forward to that!


I see absolutely NOTHING REVOLUTIONARY about the proposed device. I suspect that some people are misusing crowdfunding to scam others.


If most only are willing to commit max $750 USD then there will not be any Ubuntu Edge. Easy as that. Canonical can't give away Ubuntu Edge for less than it cost to produce it. They have already given away the cost to design it, and the cost to get in contact with the people that can make this happen.

They can't lower the price, but they can throw in some extras that is cheep to produce, e.g. a holder you can place your phone in while you are driving your car, a leather case (with or without your name) that fits your phone, or a simple plastic holder that hold your phone when it is docked.

Simple things like that might cost below 5$ to produce, but since you can't do it on your own, it will rice the price people are willing to pay for a Ubuntu Edge phone.

BTW some people are willing to pay more than $750 USD for a high spec. phone like this. It has amazing specs, and it is cheaper than an iPhone with lower specs.

An Apple iPhone 5 with 64 GB costs $899,99. Max price for Ubuntu Edge with 128 GB is $830. Apart from that Ubuntu Edge will have the best multi-core processor available when produced, satire glass, and at least 4 GB RAM.

And the design beats all or almost all other designs:

This is not a fixed and locked situation. There is one thing that will happen, an that will give this project a chance to succeed. With time, more people will know about this project.

When more people know about this project, more people will buy phones at the price of $830.

Start spreading the news.

We are early in this campaign. Take a look at this graphs:



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