Mobile Technology

Ubuntu Edge is a smartphone and desktop computer in one

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 developers plan to use a sapphire crystal display instead of glass
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The developers plan to use a sapphire crystal display instead of glass
Early concept drawings of the Ubuntu Edge superphone
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Early concept drawings of the Ubuntu Edge superphone
3D-printed outer housings give an idea of what to expect
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3D-printed outer housings give an idea of what to expect
The Ubuntu Edge project has already gone from concept sketches through to test handsets and is currently at the pre-production prototype stage
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The Ubuntu Edge project has already gone from concept sketches through to test handsets and is currently at the pre-production prototype stage
The high-end hardware will include a 4.5-inch HD display panel, a multi-core processor, 128 GB of storage and an 8 MP camera to the rear
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The high-end hardware will include a 4.5-inch HD display panel, a multi-core processor, 128 GB of storage and an 8 MP camera to the rear
The Edge's Ubuntu phone OS is said to present an uncluttered interface where navigation is undertaken using screen edge swipes
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The Edge's Ubuntu phone OS is said to present an uncluttered interface where navigation is undertaken using screen edge swipes
The Ubuntu Edge is a smartphone and desktop PC in one device
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The Ubuntu Edge is a smartphone and desktop PC in one device

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.

The high-end hardware will include a 4.5-inch HD display panel, a multi-core processor, 128 GB of storage and an 8 MP camera to the rear
The high-end hardware will include a 4.5-inch HD display panel, a multi-core processor, 128 GB of storage and an 8 MP camera to the rear

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

Ubuntu Edge: introducing the hardware

11 comments
Daishi
Someone has a graph up here that plots the Indiegogo funding over time so you can trend it: http://ubuntu.korczynskij.pl/
Threesixty
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.
AngusP
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.
V1Dar
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. www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtNhlVn3ETQ&t=3m4s www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtNhlVn3ETQ 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: youtu.be/BYM7tCjp0Go 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: http://www.gizmag.com/asus-padfone-43-inch-smartphone-docks-inside-101-inch-tablet/18760/
Daishi
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.
Mantion
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.
V1Dar
"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.
Axel
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).
JC
May be there is finally something that I can use to dump window? I will look forward to that!
thespinGM
I see absolutely NOTHING REVOLUTIONARY about the proposed device. I suspect that some people are misusing crowdfunding to scam others.