Ubuntu are turning to crowd sourced funding in an attempt to launch a handset with its own software into what is quickly becoming a heavily saturated smartphone market. But that is not going to put them off and London based Canonical is seeking to raise $32 million over the upcoming month in order to produce 40,000 handsets for the Ubuntu phone.
In order to succeed they will have to raise several times more cash than any other project on the Indiegogo site than anyone else has done before. Canonical has said that if it manages to hit its goal using Indiegogo’s website it plans to deliver the phones to qualifying backers by May 2014. The current Indiegogo record is held by Scandu Scout which was a project to build a star trek like medical scanner and managed to raise $1,665,380.
Kickstarter’s record is held by the pebble watch which raised, $10,266,845.
Canonical says Linux-based Ubuntu is different to other smartphone operating systems because it can run the same desktop applications as a PC installed with its software. They do however seem to be failing to realise that people don’t actually want fully fledged PC’s on a mobile device, thats why mobile OS’s work as well as the do at the moment.
Canonical began offering a version of its system which can be run on a limited number of Android devices in February, and does not charge for the download, maybe they should consider charging for the downloads if they want $32 million to launch this thing.
So what are the snazzy incentives for donating to the fund? Well in order to get a device you will have to donate at least $600 on day one or $830 on the remaining days of the project which is double the cost of the Nexus 4 that can run the same software…for free. Anyone else seeing what we are seeing here?
Canonical’s founder, Mark Shuttleworth, defended the sum saying that, in return, enthusiasts would secure a “Formula 1” device.
“The new handsets will have substantially more Ram [random access memory] than a typical high-end phone,” he said in an interview with the BBC. “I would describe today’s devices as being more useful as a thin client… offloading most of the processing to the cloud. What we’re interested in is the next generation, giving you enough horsepower to actually have the full desktop experience powered by the phone.”
The founders say that the phone will be made by an Asian company who have made other cell phone devices for companies before but they declined to say who the company is. Either way it is a lot of money to commit to buying a device which you can’t try out first and does not even exist yet.
Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS currently dominate sales well ahead of Blackberry’s BB10 and Microsoft’s Windows Phone rivals. So don’t ask us where Ubuntu thinks they are going to break through into the market, many people have even pledged allegiance to a certain smartphone producer by now, know of course as the fanboys and fangirls.
Ubuntu has had success in the PC market but very much on a smaller scale to Apple and Microsoft, for me this just seems to be a mountain too big for them to climb. They are trying to play with the big boys and it just wont happen.
What do you guys think about this? Would you get an Ubuntu phone? Would you donate $600 to get one? Let us know in the comments below.