23 July 2013

Canonical unveils Ubuntu Edge smartphone concept

We’ve already seen Ubuntu’s hybrid mobile operating system, but the big question was whether or not Canonical would be able to garner support from actual hardware manufacturers and prominent carriers. Today, Canonical unveiled its dream hardware: Ubuntu Edge.

At the beginning of this year, Canonical unveiled the software side of its grand plan, Ubuntu for phones. The main draw of the operating system was that it could shift into a desktop OS when plugged into a monitor. A little over one month later, we saw Ubuntu for tablets - essentially the same idea, but tailored for tablets. Canonical released something of a developer preview that could be installed and tested on certain Android devices, but while intriguing, the software was kind of a mess. A couple of months ago, we got word that the software would take on a more stable existence. Throughout all of this, everyone wondered what Canonical would be doing about the hardware side of things. Today, the company unveiled its Ubuntu Edge, a smartphone specifically designed to run the mobile OS.

The phone features a 4.5-inch screen, protected by sapphire crystal rather than tough glass named after an animal. The hardware doesn’t disrupt the mobile operating system’s dream - you can still hook it up to a monitor and it’ll transform into the desktop Ubuntu you already know and (maybe) love. In order to do that, though, the phone needs to pack some serious power, and will feature at least 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, a silicon-anode battery, and “the fastest available multi-core processor,” which remains vague but shouldn’t be a slouch based on the phrasing. The phone will also feature a dual-LTE chip so you can access 4G while traveling.

Along with being able to morph into Ubuntu for desktops, the phone will dual-boot mobile Ubuntu as well as Android so you can have integration with your collection of Android apps right at launch. Canonical also vows to release monthly updates for the device, as well as offer support for the phone for three years.


At the moment, though, Edge is just an expensive concept - and might generate a rivalry with Razer - but if Canonical can actually produce a phone as powerful as the funding campaign suggests, it might actually be worth the asking price. Of course, we won’t know for sure until it actually exists.


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