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See the Ubuntu Edge in flesh, the smartphone that wants to revolutionize the industry

Posted: , by Chris P.

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See the Ubuntu Edge in flesh, the smartphone that wants to revolutionize the industry
We're getting closer and closer to the 22nd, which will mark a month since Canonical announced the Ubuntu Edge and the extravagant crowd-funding campaign it hopes to close. The eagle-eyed among you probably also remember a rather important detail – unless the campaign hosted over at Indiegogo manages to secure a whopping $32 million in funding by August 22, Canonical won't get even a cent, and the Edge simply won't happen.

A great-looking and sounding project, the Ubuntu Edge campaign was initially off to a great start, raising an impressive $2 million in under 12 hours. Unfortunately, funding for the project has been slowing down ever since, reaching almost a complete stop – $9.8 million – that's the amount raised as of this writing. With just 9 days left until the official end of the campaign, it's fair to say that failure is behind the corner, unless we witness some kind of a miracle.

We can't help but feel disappointed over this, and we sure as hell aren't alone. Vowing that the Ubuntu Edge would be to smartphones what Formula 1 is to your everyday vehicle, the Edge sure packs some serious promise. Set to come with the latest and greatest multi-core processor available at the time of the release, along with “at least” 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, the Ubuntu Edge sounds like a geek dream come true. The rest of the promised specs include:

  • A 4-5inch display of unknown tech, said to be at least 720p. Canonical vowed not to pursue pixel count at the expense of color reproduction and general quality.
  • Screen to be covered by sapphire crystal, a material so scratch resistant it is usually considered second only to diamond.
  • Dual LTE Antennas allowing for blazing-fast speeds on any network
  • Dual boot: Ubuntu Touch/Android
  • Silicon-anode Li-ion battery of unknown capacity and size
  • A singular, metal unibody

Of course, none of this really amounts to much until we actually get to see a real, tangible product, one that isn't staring back at us from a teaser video. Fortunately for us, a prototype Ubuntu Edge has been showcased during the XDA DevCon 2013 in Miami a few days ago, and there's no shortage of high resolution snaps of it. In spite of the rather hopeless outlook on the project, we're definitely fancying the Edge – said metal unibody looks sleek and premium, especially with the help of the dotted profile. On the other hand, while this may be somewhat of a contested territory, we definitely could see a larger display, perhaps a 4.7-incher, fitting well with the current design, even adding to the overall appeal of the phone.

But don't let us keep you any longer from seeing the Ubuntu Edge for yourself – head right for the gallery and enjoy the view of a smartphone that you'll probably never hold.


source: Adam Outler


34 Comments
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posted on 13 Aug 2013, 09:52 10

1. Diego! (Posts: 508; Member since: 15 Jun 2009)


It's an odd design, but I like it! Tough it's quite beefy... I hope this is only a prototype and the final version will be much slimmer.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 10:00 2

2. smallworld (Posts: 438; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)


There's not going to be any final version as the funding campaign is doomed to fail and they said they would abandon the project if they failed.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 10:08

5. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5497; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


Some rumors says that Ubuntu all the time knew that it will gonna fail and that all this is only advertisement project to attract more attention to Ubuntu. :)

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 12:48

14. smallworld (Posts: 438; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)


Yeah I saw that.
Dumb plan if you ask me.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 14:36

19. promise7 (Posts: 474; Member since: 03 Jul 2013)


i'm beginning to think that's true. if they r so eager to make this project happen, why must it only be within 30 days? why not extend it until they reach the 30m.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 16:13

21. Edgehelper (Posts: 8; Member since: 13 Aug 2013)


Crowdfunding campaigns generally have a higher success rate with about 30 days duration than longer ones. Most funding on campaigns takes place in the first week and the final week. Extending the funding period would leave a much longer middle where fewer pledges happen, so it wouldn't help that much.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 16:53

24. Edgehelper (Posts: 8; Member since: 13 Aug 2013)


I don't think they planned for it to fail (and there's still a pretty good chance of success). I think it's more accurate to say they set up a situation where they would almost certainly either succeed in funding the phone (a very good thing) or succeed in attracting attention and demonstrating significant demand (a pretty good thing).

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 17:10

26. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5497; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


I just have told what rumors and speculations I have heard around. Personally I would love to see Ubuntu Edge alive and I like whole idea of Ubuntu Edge. :)

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 10:05

4. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5497; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


"I hope this is only a prototype..."

Yes, it is only dummy without any internals.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 10:47 7

8. iampayne (Posts: 248; Member since: 12 Aug 2013)


I say leave it beefy and pack a serious battery within.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 11:23

11. neutralguy (Posts: 1152; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


It actually looks like a MS surface tab. Haha

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 10:02

3. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5497; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


I think that such high specifications doesn't fit with 4.5" and 720p resolution. And Ubuntu Edge is even not released, that's mean that at the release day (ofcourse if such ever happen) 720p will be even more yesterday's spec.

But in overall I like the main idea. :)

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 16:21

22. Edgehelper (Posts: 8; Member since: 13 Aug 2013)


I think the choices for the screen make a lot of sense and will result in an overall better screen. Canonical is deliberately focusing on more important aspects of image quality, such as color accuracy, brightness, contrast, and black level, which many 1080p screens do poorly with. After a certain resolution/size, adding more pixels makes no visual difference. Seeing the difference between 720p and 1080p will be very difficult if not impossible on a 4.5" screen, since it is greater than 300dpi.
Plus, the lower resolution should result in significantly better graphics performance for the same CPU/GPU because it doesn't have to drive a bunch more pixels that you won't notice anyway.
And of course you'll get higher resolution when plugging into a nice desktop monitor if that's your thing.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 17:07

25. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5497; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


"Canonical is deliberately focusing on more important aspects of image quality, such as color accuracy, brightness, contrast, and black level, which many 1080p screens do poorly with."

Strange, I first time hear that 1080p screens do poorly compared with 720p. Is there any facts?

"Seeing the difference between 720p and 1080p will be very difficult if not impossible on a 4.5" screen..."

Agree, and in my opinion it is another reason to use greater screen than 4.5". In my opinion 5" with a minimal bazels would be fine. Also as we can see majority of manufacturers are now focusing on 4.7" - 5" screens for smartphones and I don't think that all these manufacturers are dumb and doing that just because. They are making market analysis and they knew about the customers needs.

"Plus, the lower resolution should result in significantly better graphics performance for the same CPU/GPU because it doesn't have to drive a bunch more pixels that you won't notice anyway."

And it is another reason to have greater screen than 4.5" since user won't feel any greatness of powerful GPU on such small screen like a 4.5" (apart when Ubuntu Edge will be connected to the desktop monitor). Talking about 720p and 1080p resolution differences on ~4.7" and greater screen, it is already proven that there is noticeable differences and 1080p looks a bit better.

And talking about possibility to use device with one hand, I don't think that it is so important since more and more people are choosing smartphones with a bigger screens, seems that they don't see a big need for one hand use, at least it is aint big issue for them.

To be honest, I think that Ubuntu and Canonical has chosen 4.5" screen and 720p resolution due personal problems and now just try to convince people that 4.5" screen and 720p resolution is perfect and blah, blah, blah... ;)

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 17:14

27. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5497; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


I didn't want to be rude, I'm just a bit disapointed about 4.5" screen and 720p resolution, but such is mine opinion. :)

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 17:28

29. Edgehelper (Posts: 8; Member since: 13 Aug 2013)


No offense taken :)

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 17:28

28. Edgehelper (Posts: 8; Member since: 13 Aug 2013)


I think the biggest reason for 4.5" is that they want the most official device that represents the Ubuntu Touch experience to work well with their swipe gestures in one hand. This means the thumb must be able to reach the opposite side of the screen as well as top and bottom without difficulty. That's what they meant when they said 4.5" was optimal. A recent article on Ars Technica discussed this actually and found that bigger screens had a drawback: arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/08/the-smallest-new-a​ndroid-phone-you-can-buy-isnt-small-at-all/
As far as 1080p screens vs 720p screens and image quality, you can have great image quality with either, but the focus on increased resolution means that some manufacturers focus on resolution but don't care much about the other aspects. Canonical is saying they will make sure it has great color, brightness, contrast, black levels, etc foremost so long as the resolution is at least 300dpi (720p).

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 17:40

30. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5497; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


"I think the biggest reason for 4.5" is that they want the most official device that represents the Ubuntu Touch experience to work well with their swipe gestures in one hand."

Agree, that may be the case.

Talking about the screen, in my opinion HTC One has really good looking 4.7" / 1080p screen.
Is there any news what screen is planed to be used in Ubuntu Edge, LCD or OLED based?

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 10:08

6. HellDweller (Posts: 1; Member since: 12 Aug 2013)


I do like Ubuntu on desktop, I think they can make a great OS. Hope their 30 day fund raiser works. I wished to chip in, but the price is just a bit too high.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 10:25

7. juandante (Posts: 370; Member since: 23 Apr 2013)


The phone is pretty good. I hope their project will be a success. We will finally have an OS to replace Microsoft's. I wonder with what language do the apps are written.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 10:58

9. yadu004 (Posts: 63; Member since: 26 Apr 2013)


Nice idea but probably would be more feasible if it could be could be coupled with a fully flexible monitor screen, so that the whole system would be portable.. anyway it's my theory though..

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 11:00

10. yadu004 (Posts: 63; Member since: 26 Apr 2013)


This kind of project could have seen more light if it were windows and android dual boot. Just like samsung ativ Q..

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 11:47 3

12. McLTE (Posts: 714; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Sorry, but I'm NOT interested in 4.5". That's a huge step backwards from my Note2 at 5.5. Yes I know they believe it to be the perfect size for gestures.. etc. but for me, no thanks.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 12:38

13. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5497; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


Agree.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 13:50

15. HouTexan (Posts: 315; Member since: 08 Jan 2012)


Same here. I can't go any lower than my Note 2's size. Everything else just looks so tiny, to me.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 13:52 2

16. RoyalPayne (banned) (Posts: 458; Member since: 07 Aug 2013)


WANT :'(

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 13:57

17. louisnvrr (Posts: 5; Member since: 16 Mar 2012)


Anybody else look at this and remember the Zune HD?

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 14:34

18. promise7 (Posts: 474; Member since: 03 Jul 2013)


i like the design, but they won't meet their goal. i wonder if they copyrighted the phone design, other manufacturers should use that design on a phone that will be made.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 16:26 1

23. Edgehelper (Posts: 8; Member since: 13 Aug 2013)


There's still a very real possibility to reach the goal. There is still well over a week left, and the final week is often the busiest time for crowdfunding campaigns. If you like the design and have the resources, supporting the project will help it reach the goal. Even if other manufacturers borrowed the existing physical design, it's unlikely the phone they would bring to market would feature the same specs, materials, openness, or convergence capabilities as the Edge.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 16:02

20. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


there's something great in its design....and it could be a great alternative to android.

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 22:27

31. taikucing (unregistered)


still curious about what CPU it uses & how much the battery capacity. Too bad they can't reach 30 million dollars

posted on 13 Aug 2013, 23:10

32. Edgehelper (Posts: 8; Member since: 13 Aug 2013)


They haven't announced the exact CPU, but this is a good thing, since if they did it would certainly not be the fastest available next year. They will benchmark the options available and choose the best option at the right point in the design process. If they announced the processor now, they would either have to stick to it as better chips became available or change their mind, at which point the information given now wouldn't matter anyway.

posted on 14 Aug 2013, 06:24

33. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5497; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


So basically people are supporting "cat in the bag" without knowing what exactly they are supporting. :)

posted on 14 Aug 2013, 15:57

34. Edgehelper (Posts: 8; Member since: 13 Aug 2013)


In a way, yes. But it's the best option available. Given Canonical's statements and track record, I do believe they will certainly put in a processor much better than exists today. If they announced a fast processor which exists in devices today, I would be less interested, not more. If they wait a few months until the next-gen processors are available and testable, I'm happy to trust them to pick the best of them rather than stabbing in the dark or picking a slow, existing one.
To me it doesn't really matter which they pick as long as they pick a really fast design that also allows for good idle battery life. I trust them to do that well, and I'm more than happy with the other aspects announced, which are truly unique.

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