X

Ubuntu tries to raise $32M for Edge smartphone (pictures)

The Ubuntu Edge is a bold experiment in crowdfunding a smartphone -- to the tune of $32 million. We got our hands on the prototype as the clock ticks down.

richard-trenholm-square.jpg
richard-trenholm-square.jpg
Richard Trenholm
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Richard Trenholm
ubuntu-edge-14.jpg
1 of 14 Rich Trenholm / CBS Interactive
The Ubuntu Edge is a bold experiment in crowdfunding a cutting-edge smartphone. The Ubuntu software on board crosses over from phone to tablet to PC, rivaling both Android and the iPhone. If British company Canonical can raise $32 million on Indiegogo, then it will build 40,000 Edge phones. It's already smashed crowdfunding records with pledges topping $11.4 million. But even as I get my hands on the prototype, time is running out.
ubuntu-edge-18.jpg
2 of 14 Rich Trenholm / CBS Interactive
The Edge comes in a sturdy, minimally styled shell. This is a dummy case with no inner workings, but it suggests the high-quality build of the proposed final product.
ubuntu-edge-13.jpg
3 of 14 Rich Trenholm / CBS Interactive
There are only three buttons on the Edge: two volume buttons and a power button.
ubuntu-edge-17.jpg
4 of 14 Rich Trenholm / CBS Interactive
The power button and SIM card tray are on the top of the phone.
ubuntu-edge-44.jpg
5 of 14 Rich Trenholm / CBS Interactive
Ubuntu software is being tested on Android phones like this one. This shows off the home screen and controls. You can swipe in from the edges of the screen to call up a quick-launch menu, see your notifications, or scroll through the currently running apps.
ubuntu-edge-34.jpg
6 of 14 Rich Trenholm / CBS Interactive
New apps are in development for Ubuntu for mobile, many made from HTML 5.
ubuntu-edge-49.jpg
7 of 14 Rich Trenholm / CBS Interactive
Ubuntu software is still being developed, but new features since we first saw it back in February include support for landscape orientation in many apps.
ubuntu-edge-55.jpg
8 of 14 Rich Trenholm / CBS Interactive
Music is grouped together to make a handy home screen. The same format is available for video.
ubuntu-edge-36.jpg
9 of 14 Rich Trenholm / CBS Interactive
Even core apps, like the clock and calendar, are still in development.
ubuntu-edge-52.jpg
10 of 14 Rich Trenholm / CBS Interactive
Ubuntu wants to get the big names, like Facebook and eBay, on board with apps.
ubuntu-edge-4.jpg
11 of 14 Rich Trenholm / CBS Interactive
Connect the Edge to a monitor and the software carries over what you were doing on your phone, including browsing and music listening. You can use a keyboard and mouse or the phone's keyboard, and everything is resized for the bigger screen. You can even call and text on the monitor screen.
ubuntu-edge-32.jpg
12 of 14 Rich Trenholm / CBS Interactive
The Edge feels extremely sturdy, with a deliciously satisfying heft to it.
ubuntu-edge-27.jpg
13 of 14 Rich Trenholm / CBS Interactive
The back of the Edge has a rubberised texture.
ubuntu-edge-25.jpg
14 of 14 Rich Trenholm / CBS Interactive
I'm impressed with the slick design and solid build of the Edge prototype -- it's just a shame the phone is unlikely to hit its high crowdfunding target before Wednesday.

More Galleries

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera
A houseplant

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera

20 Photos
Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra
magic-v2-2024-foldable-1383

Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

10 Photos
The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum
Samsung Galaxy S24

The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum

23 Photos
Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design
The Galaxy S24 Ultra in multiple colors

Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design

23 Photos
I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites
img-0368.jpg

I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

34 Photos
17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone
Invitation for the Apple September iPhone 15 event

17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone

18 Photos
AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?
img-1599-2.jpg

AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

17 Photos