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.
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.
There are only three buttons on the Edge: two volume buttons and a power button.
The power button and SIM card tray are on the top of the phone.
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.
New apps are in development for Ubuntu for mobile, many made from HTML 5.
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.
Music is grouped together to make a handy home screen. The same format is available for video.
Even core apps, like the clock and calendar, are still in development.
Ubuntu wants to get the big names, like Facebook and eBay, on board with apps.
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.
The Edge feels extremely sturdy, with a deliciously satisfying heft to it.
The back of the Edge has a rubberised texture.
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.