Canonical, the company that leads and maintains Ubuntu (the free operating system I use for everything), is looking to raise $32M on Ind-yGoGo in order to build a phone called the Ubuntu Edge, which will be "a phone that’s designed from the ground up to be a PC as well." It's a beautiful looking device, and I've got confidence that Ubuntu can do unique and important things with mobile phone operating systems (it will dual-boot Ubuntu and Android). The phone is meant to be powerful enough to serve as your desktop PC -- just plug it into a monitor, keyboard and mouse.
Crafted from cool, textured amorphous metal, the Edge has a distinctive, precise look but its rakishly chamfered edges are shaped to fit naturally in the palm -- our design prototype already has a wonderfully solid feel. It’s the right size, too. Edge gestures are the next big thing in mobile, and our testing has found that a 4.5in screen is ideal for comfortable control of all four edges with one hand.
We also believe the race for ever higher resolution has become a distraction. Beyond 300ppi you’re adding overhead rather than improving display clarity. We think colour, brightness and dynamic range are now the edge of invention so we’ll choose a display for its balance of resolution, dynamic range and colour accuracy.
We’ll protect that gorgeous display with something vastly tougher than glass: pure sapphire crystal, a material so hard only diamond could scratch it. For a phone to run a full desktop OS, it must have the raw power of a PC. We’ll choose the fastest available multi-core processor, at least 4GB of RAM and a massive 128GB of storage. The battery will use silicon-anode technology, so we can squeeze more energy into the same dimensions.
The rewards are pretty steeply pitched: $20 gets you a good feeling and $600 gets you a phone, with nothing inbetween. But $600 sounds like a deal for a phone that doubles as a laptop. As with all crowdfunded projects, you need to be aware that they may raise a lot of money and produce no hardware, though Canonical has a good reputation for shipping on time.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.