Ubuntu Edge & Beyond: What We Learned from Crowdfunding

This guest post was written by Amrisha Prashar, Campaign and Social Media Manager across the devices division at Canonical. 

Ubuntu Edge successful crowdfunding projects

Some of you may remember the Ubuntu Edge Indiegogo campaign back in 2013, where an audacious $32 million goal was set in order to build the next generation of personal computing. Ubuntu Edge intended to combine smartphone and desktop PC in one state-of-the-art device. Although the ambitious target wasn’t met, over $12 million was raised by 27K contributors across 125 countries, breaking crowdfunding records of all time.

Ubuntu Indiegogo crowdfunding infographic

Innovation and Crowdfunding

If we had to sum up the experience in three words, it would be crazy, exhilarating and eye-opening. We didn’t anticipate the rapid growth of the campaign and to generate so much interest from industry, consumers and media for the Ubuntu phone and idea of convergence.

We opted to crowdfund the idea as it’s an excellent way to understand the demand, foster innovation and speed up the time-to-market for new products in a more transparent way. The discussions, networking and comments we received were invaluable, making us realise the more open the industry becomes, the better products consumers will get in their hands. We even had consumers setting up their own crowdfunding projects in order to raise money to buy the phone!

We knew from the outset that the goal was ambitious, but we wanted to give consumers a more direct say into the types of devices they want and when, as well as breaking the ‘norm’ of annual phone releases that incur big margins. As a platform, Indiegogo felt like the ideal fit with its strong history of bringing innovative projects to market.

 

Learning From Our Crowdfunding Campaign

Since that record-breaking campaign in 2013, developments have been made on a different product in the same space to serve the need for innovation.

At Canonical, we entered the mature mobile ecosystem with the first commercially available device known as the Ubuntu Phone. The new OS was launched in collaboration with partner handset manufacturers, BQ and Meizu, earlier this year with the aim of changing the ecosystem game.

Ubuntu smartphone

The current OS models are fragmented through services hidden behind apps. Year on year minimal increments are made by the dominant players, but nothing radical, which leads to a vicious cycle of consumer reliance on the traditional app model. We need more bespoke and curated experiences where content is accessed through default personalisable screens, not something you have to open up and control. We believe the time has come for new innovation in the space, hence why we have introduced the new Ubuntu Phone OS.

It’s time to bring something fresh to the market: the new Ubuntu Phone OS.

Ubuntu Phone OS

The innovative new OS encourages consumers to realign their mindset from thinking that apps are integral to the mobile experience to a better solution. Plenty of information exists about what people do in their ‘digital life’ and this has been gathered to bring a suite of key digital life services to the screen known as Scopes. Scopes are integral to the OS as they aggregate information around a particular passion point topic and allow you to access information within this topic in a faster, richer and less fragmented manner.

crowdfunding project learnings

Ubuntu doesn’t dictate technology needs to developers. The open source, community-led approach means the OS has evolved organically thanks to the enthusiasm of the community, ease in time and lower cost to build Scopes.

crowdfunding campaign learnings

The Ubuntu Edge campaign beat crowdfunding records, and introduced new technology to the market in a way no one else in the phone industry has done before. The success of the campaign demonstrated the appetite for something different from the smartphone experience as well as allowing us to acquire a new database of fans. Taking this demand and creating a commercially available product with the Ubuntu Phone has made this a reality, by breaking down barriers in the mobile user experience and ecosystem development. The community has been integral in this through showing demand and contributing to the growth of the ecosystem. As partnerships continue and market expansion takes place, we hope the value of the Ubuntu Phone prospers.

To learn more about the Ubuntu Phone, see here: www.ubuntu.com/phone

Want to set a new crowdfunding record with your great idea? Download the free Indiegogo Field Guide to learn everything you need to know.

Indiegogo Field Guide