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Everything you want to know about Ubuntu Edge answered by Canonical founder

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Everything you want to know about Ubuntu Edge answered by Canonical founder
Reddit's Ask Me Anything (AMA) events have been pretty amazing ways to find out information on topics that you care about; and right now, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth is holding an AMA about the Ubuntu Edge. So, if you have a question for him, just head over to Reddit and ask. 

The AMA started just over an hour ago, and already Shuttleworth has said that the Ubuntu Edge will be "an annual process by which the previous generation backers get to vote on the spec for the next generation of Edge." Ultimately, Shuttleworth says that "the real idea we're trying to express is that a community can make better decisions than a single person." Additionally, Canonical will be looking into using "all-open hardware" in future generations of Edge, and is hoping to be able to crowd-source the design of the Ubuntu Edge in 2015.

Canonical will be releasing the physical dimensions as soon as they are final so users can 3D print accessories. And, there has been work put into dealing with heat issues in such a powerful device that would double as a desktop computer. The key, according to Shuttleworth, is to provide "all-out for performance to get over the convergence hump - i.e. deliver a device that gives a good enough desktop experience when you hook it up via HDMI and a bluetooth keyboard", but not have the device be too hot when in your hand or pocket. 

On the subject of battery life, Shuttleworth dropped the extremely interesting idea that Canonical wants to "blaze a trail with silicon anode batteries." Silicon anode batteries use silicon nanowires to build a battery that has been said can last about 40% longer than current batteries, and survive as many as 4x as many recharge cycles.

On carrier customizations, Shuttleworth says Canonical has proposed that carriers/manufacturers are responsible for hardware drivers, Canonical is responsible for software updates, and there is a customization layer (which Pat McGowan explained for us) which would allow for customization of content on the device and themes, but not customization of the core OS. 

Shuttleworth has confirmed that the first generation Ubuntu Edge will not include wireless charging because the team decided it would make the device too thick. However, future generations of the Edge will likely include wireless charging options.

On the question of why an iOS user might want to purchase an Ubuntu device, Shuttleworth answered:
If you're interested in convergence between phone and PC, we'll do that first and imo best. If you're interested in accelerating the movement of new tech into the mainstream, the Edge is a very interesting new way to signal to Appe what you consider cool in hardware (and software).

Shuttleworth has confirmed that Ubuntu Edge will feature unlocked LTE that will support LTE in both US and Europe, but because "the spectrum is just too fragmented at the moment", so it won't be able to have worldwide LTE support.

Canonical is working with game developers to bring top notch games to mobile and desktop (which of course will be the same with the Edge), and Shuttleworth is excited for the potential of gaming. Of course, many people have been excited for the "potential" of gaming on Linux for a long time. More and more games are coming to Ubuntu, but the ecosystem is still nowhere near as impressive as Windows, or even Mac. 

There was even a bit of a tease that Canonical may be working on its own wearable devices, when Shuttleworth said, "What better way to prototype wearables than with a mobile PC to power them?" We won't say this is an admission that there is an Ubuntu wearable in the works, but knowing the team at Canonical, we're sure that the idea has been bounced around, at the very least.

Conclusion

There is a lot more information in the AMA, but we're pretty sure we caught all of the highlights. As usual, the aims of Shuttleworth and Canonical are sky high. We had known that the team was working on converging mobile and traditional desktop devices, but the ideas behind completely crowd-sourcing the process of designing and building devices is incredibly interesting

There is still a fairly long way to go in the Ubuntu Edge funding, but it has managed to raise over $6 million so far. That is less than 20% of the final goal of $32 million, but it has only been 3 days, and there is another 28 days to go in the campaign. The Canonical team obviously are looking for ways to keep interest in the project high including this AMA and in adding more funding tiers, so we wouldn't be surprised if the goal is reached. And, if it is, that will go a long way to keeping alive Shuttleworth's idea to make this an annual project with the Ubuntu Edge handsets.

15 Comments
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posted on 25 Jul 2013, 12:40 11

1. PermanentHiatus (Posts: 267; Member since: 22 Jun 2012)


A smartphone that can double as a PC.

I'm intrigued and wish them success.

posted on 25 Jul 2013, 12:50 3

2. amansingal14 (Posts: 293; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)


I with them success and may they be able to converge desktop and smartphone experience better than Microsoft at least.

posted on 25 Jul 2013, 13:13

4. Akfred (banned) (Posts: 76; Member since: 08 Nov 2012)


Are you saying ubuntu is better than windows OS ?

posted on 25 Jul 2013, 13:20 7

6. Dr.Phil (Posts: 924; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)


He was saying he HOPES Ubuntu does a better job at converging the desktop and mobile experience better than Microsoft. He did not say they already accomplished that. Which they seem to be on the right track.

posted on 25 Jul 2013, 13:28 3

8. jellmoo (Posts: 700; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)


We're talking purely about convergence and not quality of OS. For example, Microsoft has fragmented their offerings pretty badly. Windows Phone, Windows RT and Windows 8 for example, do not offer a truly unified experience. Most of their convergence centers around SkyDrive. Ubuntu seems to be leaning towards a more unified experience with a single device.

posted on 25 Jul 2013, 12:53

3. ajonly (Posts: 15; Member since: 25 May 2013)


Any additional info about the processor they are gonna use other than saying it will be a quad core?? Will it be Baytrail to boot the the ubuntu desktop OS? i dont know if ubuntu supports ARM processors as of now.

posted on 25 Jul 2013, 13:16

5. Dr.Phil (Posts: 924; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)


While I do have a feeling they are going to use an Intel chipset just because when the latest Intel chipsets come out this holiday season they will most likely be the fastest, Canonical is making Ubuntu ARM-compatible. They want Android devices to be able to run the Ubuntu OS and their reference device is a Nexus 4 which as you know has an ARM based chipset.

posted on 25 Jul 2013, 13:26

7. jellmoo (Posts: 700; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)


Ubuntu does have an ARM version of their OS, but anything running on it needs to be re-compiled in order to do so, so I'm not sure what the current level of compatibility is in regards to their software. For example, something like Steam and their games won't run on it unless it gets re-compiled to run on ARM hardware.

posted on 25 Jul 2013, 14:04

9. zennacko (Posts: 236; Member since: 16 Jun 2013)


"an annual process by which the previous generation backers get to vote on the spec for the next generation of Edge"

Users don't know what they want so they'll stick to "da best hardwer evahhh!" argument whenever they can, well, not that it;s necessarily wrong but there are some side effects, like higher costs, bigger size (many people want a 50" phone, I don't, but it'll be an election, so the masses who love phablets will eventually win, driving away people with "the right size" philosophy), and other things that come with going for the ultimate technology available (clear example: boeing 787 dreamliner or the concorde lol)

posted on 25 Jul 2013, 16:01

11. Dr.Phil (Posts: 924; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)


First of all, the backers of this type of hardware are most likely not your typical smartphone consumer. This is Ubuntu we are talking about, not iOS or Windows Phone. The people who would even be interested in this type of device are those that may already have Linux for their desktop. Typically those types of people are usually more "in the know" about hardware and software than your average consumer.

Secondly, it does say that there would be a "voting" process. This to me indicates that there might be a list of choices that you would then vote on, so I doubt you would see a "50 inch screen" option. They would probably list screen sizes between 4.5-5.5 inches and have people vote within those choices.

Finally, if you don't like it then don't buy it. There will be other devices running Ubuntu next year, so you can choose from those devices as well. At least they are trying to give people a chance to vote on what they would like instead of just deciding what they think would be best for the consumer.

posted on 25 Jul 2013, 17:03

12. zennacko (Posts: 236; Member since: 16 Jun 2013)


Sure thing, you're right.

As for the 50 inch, it was just a light joke that may become reality in the future, you know. Some years ago a tablet was definitely bigger than a phone, now that doesn't make too much difference and I think that if this goes on, we are seriously going to see some 7 inches+ "phone"

I think the ubuntu edge is the perfect choice, in all and every aspect, however, it'll be released (or not?) in the future, not Q4 2012 or something, by then I'll see what the big manufacturers can do about this, competition will be great to our advantage at last

For now (since I *really* have to exchange my Huawei old dumbphone from Claro), I think I'll go with the new iPhone... I'd love to have a high-end Android instead... but those are meant to be used with both hands (unless you're a 7 foot+ guy with enormous hands), and that is one thing I simply wouldn't bear :(

posted on 25 Jul 2013, 20:29

14. Dr.Phil (Posts: 924; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)


Yes, but the iPhone is going in the same direction as Android. It won't be long before they offer a 5 inch screen on the iPhone. I mean when the majority of consumers are out there saying they want a larger screen, it's kind of hard for Apple to ignore those people. This is especially true when it means that people are leaving the iPhone and picking up an Android or Windows Phone instead because of that reason.

Motorola seems to still be dedicated to offering the same specifications of it's larger handsets into smaller devices like the Droid Mini. The HTC One Mini isn't bad either.

posted on 25 Jul 2013, 15:13

10. omarr (banned) (Posts: 149; Member since: 15 Sep 2012)


And the price ???

posted on 25 Jul 2013, 18:28

13. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2686; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Had you gotten in early, it would have been $600. Now the cheapest option is $725, but those are more than half sold out, which would mean soon the cheapest will be $775.

It's all there on the Indiegogo page. Links are helpful!

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 09:22

15. Akfred (banned) (Posts: 76; Member since: 08 Nov 2012)


Ubuntu edge? I still have to do a lot more research before I can
Consider it. Its a nice idea and I thing its ideal for single method
Operation.. that means the smart phone will do a lot more with a smart tv IMO.

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