Canonical's Ubuntu Edge project has failed to hit its $32m target, but has still set a new record for the most money raised through crowd-funding, and gained plenty of exposure for Ubuntu into the bargain.
The proposed dual-OS Edge had raised a record $12,809,906 by the midnight deadline last night, but was still short the best part of $20m – also a record.
Crowd-funding site IndieGoGo says it's waiving the fees it normally charges for failed projects.
Speaking to The Guardian earlier this week, Canonical boss Mark Shuttleworth revealed he was hoping a major industry player would step in at the last minute to make up the shortfall.
“We have had a number of interesting approaches from industry players which get us closer,” Shuttleworth revealed. “But if we get to the end and there is no significant change, it will end there.”
The Edge was set to be a high-end smartphone with 128GB of storage on board, and running both Android and Ubuntu to function both as a mobile device and a fully functioning PC when attached to a large screen.
Pledges had been offered on a per-handset basis starting at $600 initially then rising to $830, though Canonical was able to reduce that again to $695 as consumer interest built.
However, the project was always going to rely on enterprise partners stepping up and covering the cost of hundreds or thousands of phones at a time, and in the end there just wasn't enough interest, Shuttleworth said.
But far from giving up on the smartphone market, Shuttleworth says the Edge was simply a concept aimed at showing the potential of Ubuntu versus the likes of Firefox OS, and felt there was plenty of room in the market for an alternative to Android targeting users not interested in the existing model of apps and mobile data use but rather looking to include their phone in a desktop ecosystem.
“We think as people work out how to get a productive experience, they'll want to put their phone down by a piece of glass – some sort of screen – and what you type appears on the glass,” he predicted. “You can hook up a keyboard and you can work right there.”
Too bad we're not going to get a chance to see if he's right, not yet anyway.