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Canonical lowers Edge pricing, launches app contest

Aug 8, 2013 — by Eric Brown 763 views

Canonical dropped the Indiegogo price for its Ubuntu Edge phone from $775 to $695. Meanwhile, the Ubuntu project launched an Ubuntu App Showdown contest for the best Ubuntu for Phones app that can be developed between now and Sept. 15.

Canonical’s Ubuntu Edge concept phone project on Indiegogo appears to be a long shot, with about $8.8 million pledged out of its $32 million goal, and only 14 days left. On the other hand, Canonical spins it a bit differently, saying it’s doing much better behind the scenes with enterprise bundles, thereby enabling a reduction of the regular individual price of the Ubuntu Touch-based handset from $775 to $695. Those who paid $775 will receive a refund for the difference at the end of the campaign on Aug. 21.

The price drop is due to “major industry banking,” according to an Indiegogo blog post today from the Ubuntu Edge team. Specifically, Bloomberg LP has bought the first of the $80,000 enterprise bundles. Canonical says this first step should encourage more enterprise investments, in part because it has just now raised the number of phones in the bundle from 100 to 115.


Ubuntu Edge design concept
(click image to enlarge)


The Ubuntu Edge offers dual-boot Android support, with a full Ubuntu desktop in docking mode. It will run on the “fastest available multicore processor” and feature a 4.5-inch, 1280 x 720 display, 128GB of storage, and 8- and 2-megapixel cameras.

Ubuntu App Showdown

It’s unclear whether Canonical will go ahead with the phone if, as appears likelier than not, it fails to reach its $32 million goal. Yet, Canonical says it is definitely going ahead with its Ubuntu for Phones platform whether the Edge comes to fruition or not.

To gain developer support for the Ubuntu Touch SDK that will run on the Edge and/or future third-party Ubuntu for Phone handsets, Canonical has launched its second Ubuntu App Showdown. Contestants must build or port apps using the new Ubuntu SDK, starting the development process no earlier than Aug. 7 and finishing by Sept. 15. Prizes will be awarded in two categories: two for original apps and one for ported apps.

The prizes are nowhere near the level of the $4 million the Intel- and Samsung-backed are promising for its Tizen App Challenge. However, the Ubuntu App Showdown’s three winners will each receive a Nexus 4 phone, with Ubuntu Touch pre-installed, and the winning applications pre-installed on the phone.

Winners will also have an opportunity to work with the Ubuntu Design and Engineering team to move the winning apps onto the final Ubuntu Touch platform that will be delivered on the first handsets to run Ubuntu for Phones in spring 2014. The winning apps will also be eligible for inclusion in the default Ubuntu Touch images, placing them “in front of every user of Ubuntu on phones or tablets,” says Canonical.

Ubuntu Phone’s two modes of operation
(click images to enlarge)

Apps entered in the Ubuntu App Showdown must use one of the available languages supported by the Ubuntu SDK, including “C++ and Qt, Javascript and QML, HTML 5 and the SDK stylesheets, or OpenGL.” Canonical recommends using QtCreator “as we provide plugins and templates that make writing Ubuntu SDK apps significantly easier.”

The Nexus 4 phone (pictured at right; click to enlarge) is the latest of Google’s unlocked, stock Android Nexus devices. The 4.7-inch Nexus 4 is the first Nexus device built by LG, and with its Snapdragon S4 Pro, is LG’s most powerful to date. However, the newly unveiled LG G2 ships this fall with a 5.2-inch screen and a quad-core 2.26GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800.

More information on the contest may be found on the Ubuntu App Showdown announcement page.

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