Ubuntu Edge campaign shatters the crowdfunding record, likely for naught

It’s official: The audacious Ubuntu Edge smartphone-slash­-PC is the most successful crowdfunding campaign in history. Canonical currently sits atop a pledged cash horde of $10,420,890, a pile of dough bigger than the $10,266,845 raised for the Pebble Watch, the previous crowdfunding record holder.

Too bad it’s all for naught.

With just six days left in the campaign, Canonical is still roughly $21.5 million short of the utterly ridonkulous $32 million goal set for the Ubuntu Edge. If the campaign doesn’t hit the magic $32 million number, the Ubuntu Edge remains a dream, and all pledges will be returned to people who donated to the campaign. Frankly, it’s not looking like that goal’s going to be met.

That’s right—the most successful crowdfunding campaign in history is shaping up to be a resounding failure.

The Ubuntu Edge dual-boots Android and Ubuntu’s mobile OS, then launches the full-fledged Ubuntu desktop OS distribution when connected to a monitor via HDMI.

Or is it? As I’ve argued before, I don’t believe that actually creating the Ubuntu Edge was Canonical’s true goal with this campaign. Between the sky-high campaign goal, the sky-high $695 pledge (or more!) required to claim a phone, and several comments made by Canonical honcho Mark Shuttleworth, the entire project seems to have been both doomed to fail and designed to convince third-party manufacturers that there is indeed a market for Ubuntu on mobile phones. You can read my reasoning right here.

With more than $10 million pledged for 2690 phones currently—including a massive $80,000 “Enterprise 115 bundle” investment by Bloomberg—the Ubuntu Edge may well succeed on that front, even if the actual Ubuntu Edge falls short of its $32 million goal. Thanks for taking the bullet, little buddy.

There’s no denying that the Edge looks mighty slick, though. If you want to breathe life into the dream at the 11th hour, head over to the Ubuntu Edge Indiegogo campaign page. As it stands, however, it’s looking like crowdfunding’s biggest success will also be its most high-profile failure—at least on paper.

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