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Ubuntu Edge: The Ultimate Convergence Gadget?

On the 22nd of July of 2013, a most ambitious crowdsourcing project emerged at Indiegogo. No less  than the Canonical Ltd. founder and father of Ubuntu Linux, Mark Shuttleworth is pitching this idea to the world… and he is asking for a cool $32 million dollars to make it a reality.

The video:

More than Just Bling

We’ve seen luxury electronic devices before, often a hodge-podge of what is supposedly the best technology available encased in some expensive, albeit gaudy jewel-encrusted casing. Up until now, every wannabe is trying to pimp up their iPhone 5 with all the expensive accessories and applications in order to have the “swag phone” among their peers, but under the hood, everyone just has a production model smartphone, and little else.

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Ubuntu Edge claims to want to become the Formula 1 for smartphones, and that isn’t just akin to gold-plating somebody’s European sportscar. They are aiming to push the boundaries of what a mobile convergence device is, and this might be something that the industry needs at this point in time. Unsatisfied with the way things are in the smartphone space, it appears that Shuttleworth is aiming for no less than the pole position.

A Desktop PC Too?

It was ambitious enough for them to attempt the ultimate smartphone, but they are also challenging even the desktop market with Ubuntu Edge. While it is true that current smartphones already pack the processing power of desktop computers of the early years of the 21st century, most of them still wouldn’t hold up in performance to a mainstream PC of the current generation. Even if the Edge falls short of wowing the masses with their PC implementation, this still does not bode well for the already shrinking desktop market.

They’re not kidding with their goal of having a truly awesome electronic convergence device. While I am certainly not going to surrender my desktop if/when I get my hands on the Edge, it’ll sure prevent me from even thinking of purchasing a notebook or desktop replacement laptop.

How This Affects the Industry

With a group that is actively showcasing cutting edge smartphone technology and putting them in the hands of those who are willing to be pioneers (and willing to cough up the cash, of course), this can only mean good things for the rest of us.

As Mark mentioned in the video, the big consumer electronics companies aren’t always so bold as to introduce new features into their products without knowing with a degree of certainty as to what will truly work and bring in millions of units in sales, having Ubuntu Edge going ahead of the pack will mitigate some of that unease, and give these companies the go-ahead to add new technology to their smartphones that will certainly benefit the average consumer.

I look forward to not just this current $32 million project, but an annual Ubuntu Edge handset that will always come with the best features and technologies our industry has developed. I would definitely want a veritable Formula One-level smartphone cum desktop PC in my pocket!

There are still slots left in the Ubuntu Edge project in Indiegogo, chip in now!

Stacey Thompson is a professional writer, marketer, entrepreneur, and a lover of weird little animals. She is based in San Diego, California, and is hurriedly setting up a fansite for the upcoming Ubuntu Edge using a cheap WordPress hosting service. Stacey and her friends also have a group blog, Word Baristas.

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