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Canonical's Mark Shuttleworth Partakes in Reddit AMA to Talk Ubuntu Edge
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Canonical's Mark Shuttleworth Partakes in Reddit AMA to Talk Ubuntu Edge

Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, stopped by Reddit today to answer questions about the company’s Indiegogo campaign for the Ubuntu Edge, a smartphone that doubles as a PC.

The campaign, which launched on Monday, is seeking $32 million – a highly ambitious goal that would shatter the previous $10.2 million record set by the Pebble smartwatch (Chris Roberts’ Star Citizen game has raised over $14 million thus far, though most of that came in the form of pre-orders after the actual crowdfunding campaign ended). Currently, the Ubuntu Edge stands at $6.1 million, with 27 days to go.

Shuttleworth took part in Reddit’s AMA (“Ask Me Anything”), a sort of crowdsourced interview where users ask questions and receive responses (to some) in real time.

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Many of the questions centered on the Edge’s specs and software. One of the most upvoted questions, for instance, was whether the phone (or some of its parts) will be open hardware. Shuttleworth responded that the first campaign is about proving the concept of crowdfunding, and that the team isn’t looking for “open hardware specifically.” He did say it would be great to do an all-open device in the future, though.

Many of the questions and comments also revolved around adding more perks – t-shirts and stickers, for instance; Shuttleworth said it’s a good idea and the team would look into that.

While this seems like an easy way to attract lower pledges, it could create headaches for the team. Fulfilling the rewards would take money in production and shipping costs. Since the company says that the $32 million will all go to bringing the phone to market, any extra expenses could force them to cut corners. This may be especially painful given that the team added several lower-priced reward tiers for the phone itself, after the first 5,000 sold out at the $600 level (the ‘regular’ price of the phone is $830).

Other Redditors left comments with potential suggestions. User ‘Saylar’ suggested an infrared sender to be incorporated into the device so it could act as a remote control, something Shuttleworth called a “very cool idea.”

In all, Shuttleworth left nearly 100 comments to the questions, suggestions, and comments on the AMA – you can read them here. Or check out this article to learn more about the Ubuntu Edge, which Canonical hopes to have in backers' hands May 2014.

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