Canonical, a UK-based software company behind Ubuntu Linux and founded by entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth, has launched an ambitious campaign on crowdfunding platform IndieGoGo to raise money to develop an open-source smartphone called the Ubuntu Edge.

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.

The Ubuntu Edge will run open-source Ubuntu touch software alongside Android.  Canonical plans to manufacture the Edge with a 4.5-inch display, quad-core CPU, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

Mark Shuttleworth has said: “Ubuntu Edge is the ultimate convergence device – challenging established norms for PCs and smartphones. The crowdfunding approach is a new way to prove demand for cutting edge technologies and new classes of device; supporting the Ubuntu Edge is the best way to catalyse the next generation of personal devices from industry.”

Canonical is aiming to raise $32 million in 30 days to produce 40 000 devices. At the time of writing this, they’ve already managed to get $3.4 million in only two days, so it looks pretty hopeful that they’ll achieve their goal.

If you want to contribute to the IndieGogo campaign, you can choose to pay $830 to get an Ubuntu Edge smartphone when they are released in May 2014, or $10 000 to receive one of the first 50 Ubuntu Edge phones to roll off the production line as well as a VIP invite to join Mark Shuttleworth at the unveiling event. The cheapie option costs $20, which gets your name on the founders’ page.