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Ubuntu Edge smartphone revealed, Canonical crowd funding development

Tom Morgan
22 Jul 2013
Ubuntu Edge
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Canonical turns to Indiegogo for the Ubuntu Edge concept smartphone, but only has 30 days to reach a $32 million target

Canonical has announced the Ubuntu Edge smartphone, a concept device designed to put the best technology possible into a handset to show off the Ubuntu Mobile OS.

The company is aiming for the stars with the Ubuntu Edge, declaring it a test bed for technology in the same way that Formula One is for motoring. The phone is meant to be a limited edition, top-end device built from materials that aren't widely used in the smartphone market. Although no hardware specifics were mentioned in the Indiegogo pitch video (embedded below), company founder Mark Shuttleworth promised a screen which would prioritise colour accuracy over resolution, suggesting there was no need to go higher than 300 pixels per inch (PPI).

Crafted from a single piece of textured metal, with "precisely chamfered edges" designed specifically for the edge-to-edge gestures built into the Ubuntu Mobile operating system. Apparently, Canonical's internal testing has determined a 4.5in display is the perfect size for one-handed use, but the company won't be getting caught in a resolution race. Instead, it will choose the panel with the best colour accuracy and brightness.

The screen will be protected by sapphire crystal instead of glass. It can't be scratched by anything softer than a diamond, so the handset will be perfectly safe in a pocket with your keys.

High-performance hardware will be crucial, as the Ubuntu Edge will be tasked with running three different operating systems. As well as Canonical's own Ubuntu Mobile OS, the Edge will also run Google's Android and be able to boot into the full version of Ubuntu desktop when connected to an external display. As a result, expect to see the fastest multi-core processor available, "at least" 4GB of RAM and a massive 128GB of internal storage.

The rear camera will apparently be "optimised for low light, fast response and up close pictures" rather than just megapixels, suggesting Canonical may try something different like the Ultrapixel-equipped HTC One. Dual LTE antennae are also promised, for full-speed 4G connectivity in both Europe and the US.

The handset is due to arrive in May 2014, but only if Canonical can raise the money to fund development first. The company has turned to crowd funding website indiegogo to finance development, but has set a lofty $32 million target. With only 31 days to reach that goal, the public will have to break all manner of crowd-finding records if the Edge is to see the light of day. Currently, backers can secure a limited Day One unit for $600, with the price jumping to $830 once the first 5,000 have been purchased.

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