Canonical, the U.K.-based Linux company, has set itself a crazy goal: it wants to raise $32 million for a concept device called the Ubuntu Edge — a highly-specified smartphone that can act as a desktop computer when connected to a monitor and keyboard. It’s incredibly unlikely to hit its target, but the company can at least take pride in the fact that it’s now a record-breaker.
Yes, early on Friday the Ubuntu Edge campaign on Indiegogo strolled past $10,266,845 — the pledging record set by the Pebble smartwatch last year. So far, more than 14,500 Ubuntu Edges have been pledged for (no-one loses any money if the campaign fails). According to Canonical, the U.S. is the top-contributing country, followed by the U.K., Germany, Canada and Australia.
Unfortunately, this is what it looks like if you compare the campaign’s actual record with the trajectory it needs to hit target in 6 days’ time:
It would be great if they made it, but I think it’s safe to say it’s not going to happen, even with the new $7,000, 10-device Enterprise Starter Kit perk that was introduced today (it seems Bloomberg is still the only corporation to pledge for the $80,000 Enterprise 100 Bundle). So, while the Ubuntu Edge is a pledging champion, the Pebble will probably still hang onto its status regarding actual crowdfunding.
That said, if you look at the three biggest crowdfundraisers (the third is the Ouya gaming console, which took in $8,596,475) then Canonical’s success-of-a-kind could be an interesting indicator of what the public wants to see developed. After all, the Pebble’s success kicked off a wave of interest in smartwatches, and the Ouya is a trailblazer in the tentatively growing indie console market. What does Canonical’s $10.3 million and counting actually mean?
To be honest, it’s hard to tell. As the device ($695) is much more expensive than the Pebble ($115) or Ouya ($99), there are still far fewer backers here than those campaigns attracted. But they were willing to part with more money — it could be that these people just really want the high-end hardware and the ability to dual-boot Ubuntu and Android, but it could also be that they’re ready to buy into the hybrid phone-PC concept.
If that’s the case, then Canonical can take heart – the Edge is just intended to show off what Ubuntu OS can do. And Ubuntu OS will survive the crowdfunding campaign’s ultimate failure, albeit with a bruised ego. What matters after that is carrier and manufacturer interest, and Canonical’s negotiating savvy. Being able to point to your record-breaking status is no bad thing.
P.S. – I just found this recently-posted video of the Edge prototype: