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Summary:

Bloomberg is the first large company to buy into an Ubuntu Edge “Enterprise 100 Bundle”. It’s a vote of confidence that comes from the right direction, but probably won’t be enough to help Canonical reach its goal.

UPDATED: Since this article was published Canonical has cut the Edge’s price to $695. See details at the end of this piece.

Bloomberg, purveyor of fine financial and news-related services, has pledged some of its own money towards Canonical’s Ubuntu Edge crowdfunding scheme on Indiegogo.

The terminal trader has promised to pay $80,000 for 100 of the Linux-based smartphone-meets-PC devices, assuming of course that they get made. Yes, it could have got the same number for just $78,000 if it had gone for the still-available $780 “perk” level, but the Enterprise 100 Bundle also comes with “access to best-practice workshops and 30 days of online support to help CIOs and IT managers integrate Ubuntu for Android into the workplace.”

For its 80 large, Bloomberg would be buying into a very smart handset that boots into either Ubuntu or Android and sports 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, a 4.5-inch “sapphire glass” screen and a potentially viable future computing paradigm. Heck, even the silicon anode lithium-ion battery technology is next-gen.

But again, that’s assuming the Ubuntu Edge crowdfunding campaign meets its ambitious $32 million target. Right now, halfway through Canonical’s drive, it’s just north of $8.5 million:

By my calculations at the time of writing, Canonical now just needs to sell another 49 Enterprise 100 Bundles (out of 50), 44 $10,000 “one of a kind” Edges that come with a seat at the unveiling event (out of 50), 1,600 $1,400 “Double Edge” bundles (out of 2,000), 3,996 Edges at $780 (out of 4,500), 2,986 Edges at $790 (out of 3,000), and around 13,750 Edges at the standard $830 price.

Easy.

No, I don’t think Canonical will make it either, unless it introduces some seriously tempting new perk levels. And even then, we’re talking about a product that will only ship in May next year.

But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to see the company succeed. I actually like the smartphone-meets-PC concept, and Ubuntu as a Linux distribution has been heading in this direction for a while. And for the enterprise, it would make total sense to have smartphones that become PCs when you hook them up to monitors and keyboards.

Here’s how Bloomberg’s head of web architecture, Justin Erenkrantz, put it in a statement:

“Bloomberg’s developers are already designing and building software for advanced devices because our clients demand a seamless experience from the desktop to the mobile platform. Ubuntu’s goal to offer a single-device solution for enterprise convergence and mobility is an exciting prospect and one that complements our vision for open development on the mobile platform.”

It’s true that Ubuntu for mobile could survive the collapse of the Edge crowdfunding scheme – this is arguably about making a next-generation concept device rather than launching the concept itself – but its reputation would take a hit nonetheless. Let’s hope more Bloombergs and keen individuals pile in.

UPDATE (5.05am PT): They’re certainly tracking feedback. 15 minutes ago Canonical significantly cut the price of the Ubuntu Edge to $695 — yes, all the individual-unit perk tiers that were still available earlier on Thursday have been scrapped. The enterprise bundle also now comes with 115 units, rather than 100. This was all apparently made possible by Canonical’s component suppliers working to stimulate demand for the Edge.

Those opting for the $695 tier will also get a free year’s subscription to the premium version of the LastPass password management service.

Canonical said there will be no more price cuts, and those who have already pledged for higher-priced tiers will get the difference refunded when the crowdfunding campaign ends (and if it succeeds, obviously — otherwise no-one sees money leave their account at all). They’ll need to sell more units at this price, clearly, but this is it: make-or-break time.

  1. Why doesn’t Canonical pitch some tech VC firms? Or have they, and they were turned down?

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  2. This heig end phone from Canonical no costs $695. For that price 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.

    You must remember that this is a unlocked phone with dual-LTE and GMS, cabale of runing in most networks i US and Europe, and most other countries. It is an unsubsidiced device, that is not locked to any carrier, for any amount of time. With this device you can choose the best or cheapest carrier, and the best and cheapest way to finance it.

    This is a one time offer. You can only buy this phone at the Indiegogo project page. Ubuntu Edge is available exclusively via Indiegogo, and won’t be available to buy at retail.

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  3. David, on the ubuntu-edge.info page you cited, please look at the change tab. The campaign is now above the needed funding per time, lets hope it keeps above that line.

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    1. That’s clearly a result of the price cut. As we’re more than halfway through the campaign now, though, it will need to consistently go way above that line.

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  4. I m an ubuntu fan boy / user and
    its admirable that their aiming high, but
    realistically it isnt going to make it.
    Real linux apps wont run on ARM.
    Theyd either need to re compile them or
    develop a fast emulator.
    I think they would better off making their own skin / GUI on android
    rather than re inventing the whole wheel.
    That way that could have their cake and eat it much sooner.

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    1. Al Dutcher wrote:
      > “Real Linux apps won’t run on ARM”?

      Of course they do. The whole Debian/GNU Linux distribution – which Ubuntu is based on – is avaliable on ARM and many other hardware platforms:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debian#Stable_ports

      For example, I run Debian on a Raspberry Pi (armhf), an Excito Bubba/2 (powerpc), my PC (amd64) and my Toshiba laptop (i386). The names in brackets are the platform identifiers as listed at the above URL. All apps, including GUI apps, are supported on all platforms.

      By definition, if a Debian software package does not run on all supported platforms, the package will not be included in the distribution. That’s one of the reasons why Debian is called the “Universale Operating system”.

      Cheers
      Oliver

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