From the Canyon Edge -- :-Dustin

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

Mark kicked this Ubuntu Edge campaign off a month ago with an analogy that's near and dear to my heart, as an avid auto race fan.  He talked about how the Ubuntu Edge could be a platform like Formula 1 race cars, where device manufacturers experiment, innovate, and push the limits of the technology itself.

Late yesterday, the Ubuntu Edge crowd funding campaign closed its 30-day run, without hitting its $32M goal.  That's a bummer, because I still want a PC that fits in my pocket, and happens to make phone calls.  There are at least 27,488 of us who pledged our support, and are likely bummed too.

In retrospect, I think there's a better analogy for the Edge, than Formula 1...  Time will show that the Edge worked more like a Concept Car.

"A concept vehicle or show vehicle is a car made to showcase new styling and/or new technology. They are often shown at motor shows to gauge customer reaction to new and radical designs which may or may not be mass-produced. General Motors designer Harley Earl is generally credited with inventing the concept car, and did much to popularize it through its traveling Motorama shows of the 1950s.Concept cars never go into production directly. In modern times all would have to undergo many changes before the design is finalized for the sake of practicality, safety, the meeting the burden of regulatory compliance, and cost. A "production-intent" vehicle, as opposed to a concept vehicle, serves this purpose.[1]"
I love reading about the incredible concept cars unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show every year, particularly as a Corvette and Cadillac enthusiast myself.

I think the Cadillac Cien (2002) is my favorite concept car of all time.  It's a beautifully striking vehicle, with edgy design, and crazy stupid power (750hp!).

While never mass produced, the Cien captured the imagination and updated the innovation around the Cadillac brand itself.  That concept vehicle, in a few short years, evolved in the production car I drive today, the Cadillac CTS-V -- a very different Cadillac than the land yachts your grandparents might lull around in :-)

This car has invigorated a generation of new Cadillac owners for General Motors, competing with long established players from BMW (M5), Mercedes (E63), and Audi (S6), and recapturing a valuable market of younger drivers who have been buying German performance sedans.

Without a doubt, I'm disappointed that I won't be holding this beautiful piece of hardware, at, all told, a very reasonable price (I pledged for two at the $600 level).

But that's only half of the story.  Ubuntu Touch, the software that would have powered the Edge, lives!!!

I'm actually running it right now on an LG E960 Google Nexus 4.  The hardware specs are pretty boring, and the device itself is not nearly as sexy as the Edge, but it's a decent run-of-the-mill, no-frills mobile phone that exists in the market today.

The unlocked, international version showed up on my doorstep in 18 hours and $394 from Amazon.  Amazingly, it took me less than 30 minutes to unbox the phone, download and install the phablet-tools on my Ubuntu 13.04 desktop, unlock the device, and flash Ubuntu Touch onto it.  There's so much potential here, I'm still really excited about it.

We are told, with confidence, that there will be Ubuntu smartphones in the market next year.  It just won't be the Edge.  As much as I lust to drive one of these elite Cadillac Cien concept cars, I love what it evolved into, and it's pure joy to absolutely drive the hell out of a CTS-V ;-)  And along those lines, this time next year, many of us will have Ubuntu smartphones, even it they won't be the Edge concept.

Gentlemen, start your engines!


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