Canonical lands first enterprise backer for Ubuntu Edge, just 49 to go

As Bloomberg plunks down $80,000 for an enterprise bundle, Canonical drops the Edge's price point to $695

Canoncial has generated plenty of buzz with its $32 million crowdsourcing effort to build 40,000 of its Ubuntu Edge superphones, resulting in an impressive list of nearly 20,000 individual contributors. The problem, though, is campaign has only $8.8 million in the pot and just 14 days remaining.

Canonical remains optimistic that the Edge, a smartphone-PC hybrid that runs both Ubuntu for Desktop and Android, will see the light of day, for two reasons: First, the company has won over its first enterprise backer in financial information and news provider Bloomberg. Second, the company has managed to cut the price on the Edge to $695 a pop.

Canonical launched its Ubuntu Edge campaign on Indiegogo late last month to much fanfare, and it managed to raise more than $3.5 million in under 40 hours. Since that time, contributions petered out. The company has tweaked the perks associated with the campaign over time, including adding a $50 "Founder with Style" perk that comes with a T-shirt.

Canonical has gone to some lengths in making the enterprise case for the Ubuntu Edge, and company execs hope that 49 other companies will follow Bloomberg's lead in dropping $80,000 for the Enterprise 115 Bundle. The perk includes 115 Ubuntu Edge devices, along with training and support. Notably, the bundle previously included 100 Edge devices.

Bloomberg's head of Web architecture, Justin Erenkrantz, said that the company's developers are already designing and building software for "advanced devices" like the Ubuntu Edge. "Ubuntu's goal to offer a single-device solution for enterprise convergence and mobility is an exciting prospect and one that complements our vision for open development on the mobile platform," he said.

"With this investment, Bloomberg developers will contribute to an open technology initiative that could benefit our clients and have a powerful impact on the future of mobile computing," said Bloomberg CTO Shawn Edwards.

As for cutting the price for individual phones to $695, Canonical credits "major industry backing" for the move. Initially, each device was priced at around $800, though the company has adjusted the price point several times since launching the campaign.

"We've been negotiating with several major component suppliers who are keen to see the Edge reach its goal and drive the adoption of new mobile technologies," according to the most recent update from The Ubuntu Edge Team on the campaign page. "This is one of the key benefits of keeping some of the core specifications open: as a result of these negotiations, we can now produce the same state-of-the-art device for less than we originally estimated."

Anyone who pledged more than $695 can request a refund for difference -- if the campaign proves successful, that is.

This story, "Canoncial lands first enterprise backer for Ubuntu Edge, just 49 to go," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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