Ubuntu Edge smartphone crowdfunding effort 'destined to fail'

The $32 million (£21 million) Ubuntu Edge smartphone crowdfunding effort is destined for failure, according to analysts, after the number of advance backers and buyers of the phone slowed to a snail's pace.

The crowdfunding campaign on the IndieGoGo site was launched by Ubuntu Linux company Canonical, and the 30-day funding period ends on 21 August. The phone has been designed to run both Android and a desktop version of Ubuntu Linux.

Jason Waddell and Willem Ligtenberg of statistical consulting company Open Analytics predict the Ubuntu Edge campaign will only raise between $18m (£12 million) and $22m (£14.6 million), after hitting a funding "trough."

They have used stats gleaned from rival crowdfunding site Kickstarter to illustrate why the Ubuntu Edge will not get off the ground. They say Kickstarter projects that have taken off avoided the huge dips in the middle of the funding cycle seen by the Ubuntu Edge smartphone.

Waddell and Ligtenberg say crowdfunding efforts usually start and finish off quickly, after a dip in the middle, but are destined to be doomed if they experience a middle dip of the scale as that of the Ubuntu Edge.

The analysts said "would-be backers are turned-off by Canonical’s incremental pricing structure. As the price of securing a phone has ticked from $600 (£400) to the present value of $775 (£520), backing has slowed to a snail’s pace."

"Even when incorporating Kickstarter’s trend of an end-of-campaign bump, the Edge is projected to fall well short of its goal," they said.

The Guardian asked Canonical whether it or its multi-millionaire founder Mark Shuttleworth would step in to cover any funding gap. It replied, saying, "If we don't reach our target there won't be an Ubuntu Edge. We greatly appreciate every bit of support we receive during the 30 days. The funding target takes into account the large cost of manufacturing a high-end smartphone."