While Google and Apple appear focused on a race to the middle with mid-range handsets like the Moto X and rumored low-cost iPhone, Canonical is looking test the limits of mobile innovation with the Ubuntu Edge. More of an experiment than smartphone, the device was announced today alongside a $32 million, 31-day crowd-funding campaign. If there aren’t enough people committed to buying the Ubuntu Edge for $830 (or $600 if you sign up today) then the handset will never be manufactured, but for Canonical that’s just part of the fun.
The Ubuntu Edge promises to be an all-in-one smartphone and desktop computer. With a whopping 128GB of storage that means you’d treat it like a regular smartphone while you travel but connect it to a monitor for a full PC experience. On the outside, the Edge features an angular design, easily grippable chamfered edges, a super-resilient 4.5-inch sapphire glass display and stereo speakers.
It’ll also come equipped with 4GB of RAM, a silicon-anode Li-Ion battery, dual LTE antennas for use in the U.S. and Europe, and the most powerful processor with as many cores as physically possible at the time of production. In an effort to attract smartphone users unfamiliar with the Ubuntu OS, the Edge can boot Android as well.
Whether this will be enough to raise the $32 million necessary is unclear, but Canonical appears hopeful, hinting that it may mark the start of a yearly exercise in pushing the limits of mobile technology. With day one more than halfway over, the Indiegogo campaign has pulled in just under $900,000, suggesting the Ubuntu Edge may be on pace to succeed. Then again, the real question is whether there are enough mobile-obsessed people with money to burn in the world today to fund the creation of one awesome new smartphone.