Crowdfunding the Ubuntu Edge
- Darren Hickling
Why? Why not?! The Ubuntu Edge is a pretty bold project. Attempting to crowdfund a $32 million, pipe-dream, powerhouse beauty of a phone is probably crazy. But it's not just any mobile. It's an exclusive, cutting-edge piece of tech, powered by a port of the popular Linux distro that gives the device its name. At just under 2 weeks to go, it's a third of the way to its target, and almost certainly needs some corporate backing or an angel investor (or 5), but it's clear that many other people hope this utterly awesome concept becomes reality.
It couldn't have come at a better time for me, either. I despise Apple, grew to hate my previous Android-powered phone, and am becoming less enamoured with Google by the day (but that's a story for another post). My current Windows mobile is useful enough, but I'm beginning to miss a lot of features, such as the complete lack of an SMS backup that actually lets you see the messages off the phone! Firefox OS is interesting, but for now, is clearly aimed at cheaper, lower-spec devices, although they're hedging their bets on HTML5 apps, which makes a lot of sense: write once, run anywhere, which the Edge will also support. If the project is successful, then, I would replace my (by then, ageing) current handset and the expensive, accompanying contract with one from a provider like giffgaff, who offer exceptionally cheap deals for those who purchase their phone separately, and potentially make a decent overall saving.
I'm not a Canonical fanboi — I prefer the Fedora distro over Ubuntu, and would probably try Linux Mint next time — but have a huge amount of respect for them putting their reputation on the line. The crowdfunding route is interesting, as it's proving to be an important alternative to the traditional debt models, and I've really enjoyed following my only previous crowdfunded contribution, Project Godus. The whole process of discovering a crowdfunded project that interests you, deliberating a contribution, pledging money (gulp!) and following the developments to a hopefully successful conclusion, is pretty exciting. But don't just take my word for it: look at some previous brilliant and successful projects. Don't forget: if the goal amount isn't met in the time allocated, your money is returned if paid, or just not pledged if not.
With any hope, at least some of what I've said will make sense, and will have convinced you to stump up some hard-earned cash too! For now though, I'm just happy to have put my money where my mouth is and helped, and with any luck, there'll be a shiny new phone arriving on my doorstep next year. Good luck guys!