Ubuntu Edge shelved after missing $32m funding target

Canonical has failed to secure the $32 million needed for its crowd-funded smartphone project and will begin refunding contributions.

After a month-long campaign, Canonical secured a total of $12,809,906 for its Ubuntu Edge hybrid smartphone, falling short of its target by nearly $20 million.

Canonical received nearly 20,000 individual contributions. The biggest backer was Bloomberg, which ordered 115 devices for $80,000.

The Ubuntu Edge was introduced as a 2-in-1 converged device in July. It would have run Android in smartphone mode, and switched to the full Ubuntu desktop OS when docked on a desk.

Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, confirmed Paypal would aim to refund contributions to the project within five days in an upbeat message to supporters.

"Our bold campaign to build a visionary new device ultimately fell short, but we can take away so many positives," he noted on Indiegogo.

"Most importantly, the big winner from this campaign is Ubuntu. While we passionately wanted to build the Edge to showcase Ubuntu on phones, the support and attention it received will still be a huge boost as other Ubuntu phones start to arrive in 2014."

Canonical introduced the idea for its converged device in January 2013 and has been in negotiations with hardware manufacturers to bring the concept to market but as yet none appear to have jumped on board.

Shuttleworth suggested the campaign could help Canonical secure a deal in the future, and didn't rule out further crowd-sourcing campaigns either.

"All of the support and publicity has continued to drive our discussions with some major manufacturers, and we have many of the world's biggest mobile networks already signed up to the Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group," he continued.

"And who knows, perhaps one day we'll take everything we've learned from this campaign - achievements and mistakes - and try it all over again."

For now it looks like the Ubuntu Edge can be filed under Vapourware.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.