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Ubuntu Edge dual-boots Android, turns into a full Ubuntu PC when docked

I am often found saying that Android has reached a sort of plateau. Faster processors, larger displays and more RAM memory are good to see on the latest devices, but manufacturers need to focus on more than that to impress us at this point. In comes the Ubuntu Edge, a device that surpasses all Android devices in specs and features.

As the title mentions, this device can dual-boot both Ubuntu Phone OS and Android. It’s the perfect device to those who want to experiment and test a new mobile OS while staying safe and having access to the power of our beloved Android.

ubuntu-edge-wide

We saw Ubuntu Phone OS at CES this year and it looks great, but it will take a long time before it can match the amount of apps Android has. It’s good Canonical is allowing us to dual-boot on both OS’s a move we have seen no other company pull. Not to mention, it’s one sexy-looking smartphone. There are more surprises, though:

Ubuntu Edge Specs

  • Fastest multi-core CPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 128GB storage
  • 4.5in, 1280×720 HD sapphire crystal display
  • 8 MP low-light rear camera
  • 2 MP front-facing camera
  • Dual-LTE, dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4, NFC
  • GPS, accelerometer, gyro, proximity sensor, compass, barometer

ubuntu-edge-front

The Ubuntu Edge is not just a phone, it’s a computer

The Ubuntu Edge has specs that are simply unheard of. 4 GB of RAM on a phone? 128 GB of internal storage? Why would any phone need this much? Because it’s not just a phone, guys. The Ubuntu Edge is designed to be a full-on computer, and that’s what it will become when docked to a monitor.

Aside from dual-booting Ubuntu Phone OS and Android, the device runs full Ubuntu Desktop OS when docked to a monitor. In short, it can literally replace your desktop computer. Using the Linux-based Ubuntu desktop OS may take some getting used to, but the benefit of having your computer on your pocket at all times is simply amazing.

ubuntu-edge-desktop

We first heard of this feature in early 2012. Canonical was hoping Android manufacturers would partner with them to bring this to Android devices. We have heard nothing else about it since then, so odds are Android manufacturers are not betting on this capability just yet. I can’t wait to test it, though, and am very excited about it.

Wrap-Up

As I mentioned earlier, it will take more than awesome specs to impress me (and many of you) at this point. Before the Ubuntu Edge, the last device that really got my attention was the YotaPhone. It is these unique and innovative devices that will drive the future of mobile technology.

ubuntu-edge-exploded

The Ubuntu Edge has great specs, it looks like a very well-built phone, it dual-boots Android and even serves as a desktop PC. And it can be yours if you back the project on Indiegogo.

There is a special 24 hr deal going on at this moment, which let’s you get your hands on the Ubuntu Edge for $600. If you miss the window, you will have to pocket out at least $830. I am very tempted to just sign up for one – are you?

Continue reading on the Ubuntu Edge forums, see the specs, or find news and reviews.




  • Helgaiden

    everything about this seems awesome. unfortunately I can’t stomach paying that much money.

    • Aaron Peromsik

      That would be everything except the price and the expected ship date: May 2014.

    • No_Nickname90

      I’m guess at once? I wouldn’t mind paying that, but I’d want to pay it off in increments and not just drop $600, or $830 at once.

      Well, right now at least. Some people shop, some people buy 20 inch speakers. I buy tech. So that’s where my extra money goes. LoL!! I would buy this in a heartbeat. But I need to keep my composure.

      • Edgar Cervantes

        LOL! I am in the same place, bro.

      • TheOtherGuy

        I’m in the same position. However I take this as a 30 day notice to collect enough money… This is a definite buy for me, but I need to get the money together from my next payment and previous savings.

        Look at it as an upgrade that you will get in roughly a year’s time from now. You put it on your credit card and then pay it off in increments. Or at least it is how I’m planning on doing it.

  • Aaron Peromsik

    Question: does the docking part work when running Android?

    • Aaron Peromsik

      Looks like the answer is yes.

      • David Narada Brown

        the article says once its docked it will run full ubuntu os, so im not sure if android is accessible in dock mode.

        • Go Hawkeyes

          I’m sure someone over at XDA will figure out how to do it.

        • Aaron Peromsik

          from the linked indiegogo page: “On day one, you’ll be able to launch the
          Ubuntu desktop from within Android using our existing Ubuntu for Android
          app.” The same in Ubuntu phone mode comes later via an update.

  • Dan

    Wow, this looks impressive. I don’t see it replacing my PC for several reasons (ie: gaming) but I really love the option of docking the phone to a monitor and loading Ubuntu.

    I would consider getting this phone if ever it’s possible to get it under contract.

    • Edgar Cervantes

      Here is a real question: would you go to Windows Phone 8 (or whatever number) if they did something like this? Imagine if your Windows Phone could boot desktop Windows.

      • Dan

        I don’t think so, I don’t like the WP8 interface. If it was windows 8 docked /android on phone, then yes

      • Sterling Mace

        After finding out how they just handover access to all their products to the gooberment I’m moving away from anything m$.

        Infact I wiped windows 8 and installed ubuntu on my desktop over the weekend and am loving it so far so I am definitely interested in this phone.

        • New_Guy777

          According to the leak, it’s everyone. MS, Google, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, Firefox, etc, etc. They’re being legally forced to do so. I’d be surprised if Linux was immune.

          • Matthew Rhodes

            There’s a difference between handing the it over then acting like nothing happen (MS,FB,Yahoo,Apple) and putting them on blast so, everyone can see their tentacles caught in the cookie jar. (Goggle, Mozilla & i’m sure other companies)

          • TheOtherGuy

            You forget that Linux is Open Source and if they ever added any back doors or government surveillance to any of its distros: it would be removed by its community. Linux isn’t a result of any particular organisation, but a collaboration of individual people.

  • David Narada Brown

    this is exactly what i want. this is exactly what the Moto X should have been. this is the phone you need to make it through a 2 year contract. i wish i had $600 for this, if you can root it I would put paranoid android on it in a flash ( in a flash).

    • Matthew Rhodes

      I agree! Seen all this Moto X stuff for months and the hardware is crap. What a shame. It’s not like Nexus 4 was a “smash”. When I see the Samsung S 2-4 in people’s hands. Google should invest in the future. Make companies “Catch up” on mobile devices. High-end Nexus device, is that so much to ask for?

    • TheOtherGuy

      “if you can root it”? As far as I understand Ubuntu and most Linux distros: rooting isn’t an option, it is a must! You cannot install them without getting a superuser account.

      They say in the indiegogo page:
      “This is an Open Device, so users can tinker with the software and use standard flashing tools to upload custom builds. If anything goes wrong, Ubuntu OS recovery mode takes you back to the original factory image.”

      It is how mobiles should have been from the start!

      • David Narada Brown

        MY DREAM PHONE!

        • Guest

          Amen!

        • TheOtherGuy

          Same here!

  • http://lostsync.net/ lostsync

    I’ve thought for a while now that there was going to be a point where the desktop and mobile platforms converge, and I think this is how it’ll pretty much work. In the (not extremely close) future, I bet we’ll just have NFC+Qi-enabled mats we can place our phones on that activate the secondary display and input devices, or something similar.

    I know it’s not an apples to apples comparison, but at some point I did some digging through benchmark scores and came away learning that a Gnex and a mid-range PIII have ***roughly*** the same computing power. Given enough RAM, decent hard drives, and a decent video card, a PIII is still enough CPU for most average users to use comfortably. It’s not blazing, but it’d get the job done, and newer SoCs shame the Gnex more and more every day. It won’t be that long before even lower-end mobile SoCs are truly ready to power desktop-class devices. Pretty exciting.

    • David Narada Brown

      I actually tried to use my Gnex as a desktop (well, i didnt really try to do anything productive) but i bought a MHL adapter, moga controller and bluetooth keyboard and hooked it up to my television. i did notice it was a little slow but it worked rather well. i played games,watch videos (youtube, HBO go) and checked out a few apps. If i could just dock it and everything be set up for the big screen, i would love it.

      • No_Nickname90

        MHL Adapter + USB Splitter + PS/2 Adapter + PS/2 Keyboard and Mouse + random HDMI compatible TV.

        I know, it’s a lot of stuff. But it feels like a computer when I did this with my phone. I hope the new Nexus 7 has HDMI Out. That would be so lovely. My phone doesn’t have tablet UI and I don’t want to put it on it. I’m loving Sense right now and Stock-Android stuff usually runs better on Nexus devices anyways, (In my case at least)

        • greg S

          I feel like the HDMI cable and Bluetooth the rest.

          • No_Nickname90

            Yea… That would be better. I just don’t have a Bluetooth Keyboard and Mouse. *sadness*

            I want the HTC Media Link, but I believe you HAVE to have WiFi for that, and I don’t have WiFi at my friend’s apt. So I’ll just stick with my MHL Adapter.

            I wonder if the media link can output 1080p 60FPS? Because MHL gives me 720p 60 FPS. Hmm…

          • greg S

            The price of Bluetooth stuff has come down I’d recommend it if ur using Ubuntu. I had a terrible experience with Bluetooth on windows 7 however. I’m not very tech savvy so it was part of the reason I stuck with it.

  • ScottColbert

    Even if it gets funded, there’s no guarantee it will a) ship on time b)even get made at all. I’m not willing to take that chance, but if it does get released, I’ll certainly be interested.

    • vitriolix

      Ubuntu is a very experienced and reputable company. The have a no questions asked return policy and wouldn’t risk their reputation on something as dumb as not shipping at all

      • TheOtherGuy

        I agree. They are all over this new device and it will decide a lot what happens with the company in the future. They have too much at stake to promise too much and not deliver.

  • Jordan Caviness

    hopefully it dual-boots stock android and ubuntu. i have always wanted to try ubuntu

    • No_Nickname90

      That would be amazing. I’m sure devs would be able to get something working. If they can do that I can see me using this phone.

      • TheOtherGuy

        It is an open device, so you can flash anything to it. I’m surprised if Cyanogenmod doesn’t pick this up…

  • whirly89

    They lost me with the May 2014 expected delivery date. If this dropped fall of this year I would get two of them right now, just hate pre-ordering stuff without a guarantee

    • Tom Sly

      Waiting that long, will give you Ubuntu/Android hype feeling for a LONG while… I think that feeling is what I’m addicted to. Each device I have gotten has done this to me, then I need another fix. I wish I could just rent a phone for like a month.

    • Chimphappyhour

      Not to mention that such a far out date gives one of the other companies time to bump up their specs and get it out the door.

      • TheOtherGuy

        I’d love to see many other Linux distros on mobile phones. There is never too much competition! :)

    • TheOtherGuy

      This is their first go at their own device. They have a lot of experience making software, but not so much with hardware. I hope they take all the time they need to get it right and make it blow my socks off once its finally here! :)

  • http://www.mijatovic.com/ Milan

    It’s been a while since I’ve been excited for a new mobile device. I am uncertain whether or not this will be a success but I have to tip my hat to this team for their innovation.

    • Del373

      If this ends up being every bit as cool as the video makes it sound, it will be my next phone.

      Edit: Nevermind, I can’t afford to back it right now. Hopefully they’ll do that annual thing-a-ma-jig.

  • HeatFan305

    I like the specs, but the 720p resolution is a downer since it already has a ground breaking 4GB of RAM.

    • Frank Grant

      Connect a monitor and it will use the monitors native resolution, 1080p or what ever.

    • TheOtherGuy

      I’m super glad about 720p resolution for the 4.5inch screen! Higher density isn’t needed for a smooth screen. I’ve got Samsung Galaxy S4 and 1080p for 5inch screen is too much! It leaves too little processing power per pixel on the screen.

      • HeatFan305

        The S4 is an underachiever. Too much lag, problems with the SD writing, overheating, etc. I have the Note II and it is good enough for me for now.

  • Christopher Robert

    I just want them to release the ubuntu desktop for android as an app and let me put it on my note2

  • Carl Rood

    Seems like something that would appeal to a very small user base.

    • vitriolix

      That’s kind of the idea

  • John Toxworthy

    This is the most interesting phone in years. I will definitely be watching this develop and come to market.

  • Tom Sly

    I would purchase the $600 dollar perk right now if the wife lets me! LOL. We have a baby coming in a month… so I am gonna say its a no go. We’ll see what happens!! Gonna talk to her and show her the coolness ;)

    • Patrick Bateman

      You listen to your wife??? … LOL!

      • Tom Sly

        Yeah! She consulted me for her 500 dollar vitamix blender so I oblige :)

        • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

          Shoulda got a Blendtech. tsk.

  • Whyrd

    Samsung should of invested in this instead of Tizen.

    • Gnubie

      ‘should have’

  • Covert_Death

    What carrier support if any so far ? Im scared this will really only succeed as a European device and not come stateside because of our carriers ???? Any thoughts ?

    • Edgar Cervantes

      It will work on any GSM carrier. Plus it has dual LTE bands, to support carriers in America AND Europe.

  • McT

    I wonder how one can answer the device’s phone when the devices is docked and running the Ubuntu desktop? (The device would be pointless if you loose the device’s phone functionality when docked)

    This makes me wonder if Android/Ubuntu Phone are then running in the background in a virtual shell/process under Ubuntu desktop.

    Hmmmmm.

    • nick

      you don’t loose phone functionality.

    • vitriolix

      It runs in a chroot sharing the same kernel

    • Michał Polak

      If I remember correctly, you get desktop notifications for SMS and calls when docked. I think you can answer the phone in desktop mode and talk like on skype or something. Or just undock and answer the phone, when you dock again everything should be as you left it.

  • GoAndroidForever

    4GB RAM is nice, everything else yesterday technology. LOL. Also hardware profile looks thick and similar to the Windows Surface (aka Windows Ugly). LOL

  • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

    We’re still a few more years away from a mobile device being able to adequately take over most desktop tasks. I can say this because in 2008, when intel debuted their low-power Atom chips, I ran a linux-powered (Fedora w/xfce; not Unoobtoo) nettop all that year, and it was *barely* tolerable.

    Specifically, I was using a dualcore Atom 330 CPU, with 4GB DDR3, 1stgen 30GB vertex SSD, and nvidia ION gpu, which sucked around 30 Watts under max load, and I very much doubt that a tiny mobile linux/android device even comes close to it 5 years later.

    • Montisaquadeis

      Agreed I had to work on a ACER aspire one that was running windows 7 starter and that thing was a pain to work on. On top of that I hate unity so this device is a no go for me as well. I can not stand Debian or Debian based distros for some reason and that is all that the new devices get and it sucks. and that is all that seems to be ported to new devices as well. I prefer gnome2 or mate once mate gets some features flushed fully out and bugs are squashed. For me unity is not a desktop GUI same with the crappy Gnome 3 GUI. My main distro is PCLinuxOS and they are in the process of getting a mate based ISO out for those that prefer gnome 2 since they completely removed gnome 2 from the repos. SO yeah the distro is in a transitional phase right now with getting rid of gnome 2 and introducing mate

    • TheOtherGuy

      I wouldn’t expect to compile android or chrome os with this phone or render few minutes of the next Shrek movie or play steam games on it. But doing spreadsheets, browsing internet and doing text documents shouldn’t be a problem. I can already do those with my android phone. I’d love to use gimp and run remote desktop on it too.

      Of course the first benchmark is to get VirtualBox running on it and try all other operating systems too! Also I’d love to be able to get openjdk and eclipse working on it.

      (I’m assuming here that it isn’t x86!)

      • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

        Hah – funny you should mention compilation and rendering, as I actually did do quite a bit of android dev in eclipse (no emulator though), and Blender3D modeling (but not rendering). Quake3 (1998 game) was playable, and 1080p h264 was playable thanks to nvidia’s VDPAU h/w acceleration.

        But…… everything just took so much longer than using a regular desktop. Instead of a page loading in 1 second, it’d take 7 or so (even using chome; not firefox). Time is $.

  • Keith

    Looking at the page, so far 40 people have paid the $830 instead of $600 today for the same thing. I wish I had money to waste!

    • TheOtherGuy

      *invest!

      (not waste!).. corrected it for you there… :)

      • Keith

        Okay, if they really wanted to invest they should have gone for the $10k option lol. But yeah I hear you, at least the money is going for something interesting. People usually want the best deal on any investment though! The $600 option was full a little after I posted that comment anyways.

        Edit: I looked at it again today, the prices have changed. In one of their updates they said they will refund the difference in price for those who paid $830, at the end of the campaign.

  • RobertArias

    Holy Mother of Sh*t !!!!!
    This is sounding like the freaking Holy Grail. With the right push, this could be the actual future in our hands.

  • vinnyjr

    My Dream Phone. When and Where can I buy it???? Take my money now, I want it bad. What a beast.

  • smithj33

    And Ubuntu still can’t play Netflix…

    • TheOtherGuy

      Don’t support Netflix! See why:
      http://www.fsf.org/blogs/community/cancel-netflix-if-you-value-freedom

      Besides it comes with Android anyway, which you can use until this Ubuntu version gets support for all necessary services/apps.

      • smithj33

        Ububtu will never get support for streaming services. Linux is a niche market and netflix and others have no reason to support them.

  • eilegz

    too ambitious, and not based on x86 or latest intel procesor means compatibility program, this its like a phone with windows RT, and its a dead un arrival

    • Frank Grant

      They have not decided on the CPU. It could use the new Atom soc. Wait and see.

    • TheOtherGuy

      You probably don’t know about Open Source and why it is so great. You can modify the software and compile it yourself for any architecture!

      Microsoft has problems because it isn’t Open Source. They compile their own software and if they don’t compile it to your architecture: then it won’t run on your architecture. Most software that is used with Ubuntu and what makes Ubuntu is Open Source and thus such limitations don’t apply.

      You can compile and run Ubuntu in your microwave oven or fridge if you wanted! It doesn’t need x86!

  • TheOtherGuy

    Everything sounds absolutely great about this device, but they are not mentioning: can I remove the battery and/or replace it myself?

  • dhinged

    If it doesn’t have a Back button, it doesn’t matter.

  • spicymeatball

    dual booting is a pain. It must have access to android apps without rebooting. That didn’t work out to well for Blackberry though.

  • StacyD

    Bought it in the first hour. Didn’t even make it through the video before I was throwing money at the screen. Literally.

  • AMbro86

    iPhone 5s? *yawn* Moto X? Meh. Galaxy S4? Getting warmer. Nexus 5? Yes please! This puppy? Shut up and take my money!!

    I’ve gotta hand it to Mark Shuttleworth, I haven’t been this excited for a piece of tech in a while. The last few years of smartphones has been interesting,and even fun. But it’s never felt as cutting edge (no pun intended) as this thing. If I had the money to put down on it I would be signing up right now instead of posting this.

  • Lucho

    ¿¡720p!?.

  • chris Lim

    But What CPU??? And Micro SD support on the board??? I need some questions to be answered

  • John Jason

    I saw the thing today. That is, I saw a non-functional mockup of the
    physical Edge (cool design), and the actual working phone on an existing
    stock phone. This was at the Ubuntu booth at OSCON. They had a display
    showing the commitments toward their $32 million goal, displaying minute
    by minute updates, and over $5 million committed in the first three
    days. They also assured me that if they do not reach their $32 million
    goal by the deadline the Edge will be dead, but everyone who committed
    will get their money back. Or so the folks at the Ubuntu booth told me.

    They
    also told me that it would work with AT&T or T-Mobile, and if
    T-Mobile it will use the new double LTE that T-Mobile is slowly coming
    out with.

  • James 88

    Wow! I want one, before you mentioned the price.