Canonical, the company responsible for the highly successful operating system, Ubuntu, is taking an innovative approach to research and development that – if successful – will definitely disrupt the tech industry. Canonical has launched the largest crowd funding effort ever, asking for $32 million on the popular crowd funding resource indiegogo.com to fund their Ubuntu Edge device. While contributors do have a chance to get a version of the phone if this experiment is successful, what’s more important are the implications an experiment like this will have on the tech industry and business overall. That’s because Ubuntu is not interested in creating a really cool boutique device, their intention is to build a platform for innovation. According to techcrunch.com:
“But what Canonical wants to build isn’t just an Ubuntu-powered smartphone – it’s a ‘low-volume, high-technology platform, crowdfunded by enthusiasts and mobile computing professionals’ designed to “accelerate the adoption of new technologies and drive them down into the mainstream,” according to Canonical’s project page. This is about making a gadget for the tinkerers and builders who make gadgets for the everyday world, and its price tag and ambitious design reflect that.”
The crowd funding approach to develop a device is definitely an innovative measure in and of itself. Add to that the fact that contributors will also be able to have input on the design of the Ubuntu Edge phone, then you have a phone built for the people and by the people. As Canonical’s founder Mark Shuttleworth stated, “This first version of the Edge is to prove the concept of crowdsourcing ideas for innovation, backed by crowdfunding. If it gets greenlighted, then I think we’ll have an annual process by which the previous generation backers get to vote on the spec for the next generation of Edge.”
And they’re already off to a great start on indiegogo.com, raising $6.6 million at the time of this writing. That is quite an impressive feat so far, but still a long way from the all-or-nothing goal of $32 million. Contributors can donate between $20 and $80,000, however the Ubuntu Edge device is only included in the packages starting at $675. If you’re wondering what kind of device you’re getting, according to techcrunch.com, “the Edge is an awfully handsome concept for a phone that will run Ubuntu and Android and sport a sapphire glass-covered 4.5-inch 1280×720 display, along with the ‘fastest available’ multi-core mobile processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.”
I’m quite excited by Canonical’s process to innovation, as I believe the implications of something of this magnitude could be larger than just the tech industry. I imagine a day where people will crowd fund – not only individual companies or products, but also – entire industries. Imagine this concept applied to the music or car industry where the money would be thoughtfully put towards building out a platform which could provide the customers with exactly the products they want. The possibilities would be endless.
Check out the trailer for the concept phone below and tell us what you think.