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Canonical to crowdfund record $32m for 'converged' Ubuntu Edge dual OS smartphone

The London-based developer of open source operating system Ubuntu (opens in new tab) is looking to crowdsource a record breaking $32 million (£20.83 million) to produce a smartphone that runs on its software.

The cash will allow Canonical (opens in new tab) to produce 40,000 Ubuntu Edge devices that will come pre-installed with the Ubuntu Touch OS, but will also be compatible with Android.

The company hopes to raise the funds in just a month through Indiegogo (opens in new tab), with donations being taken until 21 August. At the time of writing, $3.38 million (£2.2 million) had been raised in just one day, which is already a record for the site.

The largest amount ever raised through crowdfunding was on Indiegogo rival Kickstarter (opens in new tab), where $10.27 million (£6.69 million) was raised for the Pebble smart watch (opens in new tab) last year.

The Ubuntu mobile OS will work differently to any other smartphone OS, as when the phone is plugged into a monitor, the display will change from a smartphone display to Ubunto Desktop PC, transforming the phone into a kind of computer system unit.

The Ubuntu Edge will be a dual operating system device, running both Ubuntu OS and Android. It will pack a 4.5in sapphire crystal screen, which is resistant to all materials except diamond, claims Canonical. Its resolution will be 1,280 x 720, but Canonical says it is focusing on "colour accuracy and brightness" rather than sharpness.

The Ubuntu Edge will also carry 128GB of internal storage, at least 4GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing one. It will also feature a yet-to-be-unannounced processor, which Canonical assures us will be the "latest, fastest processor" available at launch, which is scheduled for May 2014.

"In the car industry, Formula 1 provides a commercial testbed for cutting-edge technologies. The Ubuntu Edge project aims to do the same for the mobile phone industry - to provide a low-volume, high-technology platform, crowdfunded by enthusiasts and mobile computing professionals. A pioneering project that accelerates the adoption of new technologies and drives them down into the mainstream," said Canonical.

A pledge of $830 (£554) will get you a pre-ordered Ubuntu Edge, meaning the team is certainly looking to produce a high end device that will compete with the likes of the iPhone 5 (opens in new tab) and Samsung Galaxy S4 (opens in new tab).

Canonical announced it would bring its open-source, Ubuntu operating system to mobile (opens in new tab) back in January.

"We're fascinated by converged computing, the idea that the smartphone in your pocket can also be the brain of the PC on your desk," said Canonical. "We've shaped Ubuntu so you can transition seamlessly between the two environments."

Under the terms of the funding, Canonical will not receive any of the donations unless the full target it reached.

Tomas is co-founder of Lucky Pilgrim, a team of journalists, photographers and art directors who connect brands to audiences through words, imagery and design. He was formerly editorial director at Chapel and managing editor at Courier magazine, and was a writer for ITProPortal as well as The Independent, EastLondonLines, The Sunday Times Magazine, and Croon.