VANCOUVER–Ubuntu Edge, the innovative Linux-based smartphone-plus-PC, just passed $10 million on crowdfunding site Indiegogo. Too bad the team set their goal at $32 million — and has just six days to go.
And decided not to accept any of the money unless it meets the full goal.
“It’s our biggest story ever,” Indiegogo evangelist Adam Chapnick told me this morning at Grow Conference in Vancouver. “Whether it’s a success or not, I’m not sure yet.”
The goal is to create a novel device that dual-boots mobile Android and desktop Ubuntu, creating a smartphone that, with the help of a monitor and a keyboard, is also your heavy-duty, hardcore desktop computer. To make it happen, the Ubuntu Edge team believes they need a staggering $32 million dollars, the most that would ever have been raised via crowdfunding.
By comparison, the wildly successful Pebble smartwatch raised $10.3 million, the most ever raised on Indiegogo competitor Kickstarter.
This means that in spite of almost certainly being the most successful crowdfunding campaign ever, it’s almost certain that the Ubuntu Edge will also be a failure. While the team has proved that there is a huge amount of demand for the product they’re imagining, there doesn’t appear to be quite enough. Or this means that the Edge team should have selected the Indiegogo option to get any money received, even if their ultimate goal was not achieved.
“Exactly,” Chapnick told me when I asked him that question.
In fairness, of course, the team is asking for a huge amount because building and shipping an entirely new smartphone platform is a massively significant undertaking. And the team doesn’t want to release anything half-baked.
That won’t be a problem, of course, if Ubuntu Edge can’t find another $22 million dollars. The team recently cut the price of the smartphone from $830 to $695. It’s not clear that will be enough, however.
“To make it happen, we’ll have to smash every record in crowdfunding history,” Mark Shuttleworth said in Ubuntu Edge’s product video.
Or find a very deep-pocketed knight in shining mobile armor. Quickly.
More: MobileBeat 2016 is focused on the paradigm shift from apps to AI, messaging, and chatbots. Don't miss this opportunity: July 12 and 13 in San Francisco.