Canonical has announced it is seeking crowdfunding of £21.5m ($32m) in order to help bring its Ubuntu Edge smartphone that will run a Linux operating system to market.
Canonical already announced its plan to put its popular Ubuntu Linux distribution on smartphones earlier this year, but now the firm has shown off rendered designs for its own showpiece smartphone that becomes a thin client when docked.
Canonical's Ubuntu Edge smartphone has very rough specifications at present, with the firm hoping that the rendered design will be enough to tempt users to part with $600 for a handset on the first day and $830 for the remaining 30 days, in the offers on the fundraising page.
The firm is also offering $10,000 and $80,000 deals, with the latter providing 100 phones for the buyer, as well as just a $20 donation towards the project itself. So far in just a few hours the firm has already raised just shy of $300,000, with two $10,000 packages sold.
The firm said the smartphone would have a 4.5in 720p resolution screen, at least 4GB RAM, an 8MP front camera and a multi-core processor. It also said the device would be able to dual-boot Ubuntu Linux and Google's Android operating system.
Writing on the fundraising page for the device, the company said these components would make the device adequate to work as a thin client for PC docks.
"You can use the desktop wherever you can find a standard HDMI screen, and the dual-LTE chip will get you online with 4G even when you’re travelling abroad. It’s desktop computing gone truly mobile," it said.
Canonical chief executive Mark Shuttleworth said that the firm was doing this in order to see whether it would be popular. He said some of the specifications would be subject to change but did say that the 128GB of flash storage was fixed and that even the 40,000 production run could be increased by a small amount if the demand was there.
Shuttleworth was pushed to say what processor would be inside the device but was coy on the details, simply claiming that a number of big name vendors were interested in the device. He also said the phone would have a sapphire crystal covering, the same material found on high-end watches.
Canonical has set itself a tough crowd funding goal with the Ubuntu Edge, trying to get £21.5m in just 31 days. Shuttleworth said that if the amount wasn't met then the firm would not go ahead with the project. However, if the firm hit its funding target, then those who put either $600 or $830 up can expect their Ubuntu Edge device in May 2014.
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