Ubuntu seeks crowdfunding support to make Linux phone

Open source developer and Linux house Ubuntu has turned to crowdfunding to get its latest mobile project off the ground. Parent company Canonical is hoping to raise $32m by August 21 to kick start manufacture of a high end smartphone that doubles as a desktop PC.

The Ubuntu Edge will dual boot both Ubuntu’s forthcoming mobile OS as well as Android and while packaged as a smart phone, turns into a desktop PC when connected to a monitor. is sure this has been tried before, perhaps by Palm?) in the days before tablets became popular.

But the Edge does have some power under the hood. Able to support the full fledged Ubuntu desktop interface, it sports a multi-core CPU, 4GB RAM and 128GB storage, putting it up there with some netbooks.

Android support was selected because of the significant developer community but there’s also a large Ubuntu Linux developer base to exploit as well. “On day one, you’ll be able to launch the Ubuntu desktop from within Android using our existing Ubuntu for Android app. That integration is fully functional today,” the company said.

Still, it’s a big ask for the Indiegogo crowdfunding site, which to date has seen $1.6m raised for its most popular project – a Star Trek style medical scanner. At the time of writing, the Edge had raised more than $3.2m but still needs to increase that tenfold within 30 days.

“All of the funding we receive goes directly towards producing the device for expected delivery in May 2014,” Canonical said.

Ubuntu parent Canonical is already trying to make waves in the mobile space with a mobile specific version of its OS, having established the Carrier Advisory Group last month. The group is led by David Wood, a former Psion engineer and one of the founder members of the original Symbian collaboration.

A number of large operators, including MTN, China Unicom, LG UPlus, SK Telecom and Korea Telecom from Asia Pacific and Deutsche Telekom, EE, Telecom Italia and Portugal Telecom from Europe have already signed up.

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