The $32 million super-phone is dead

Canonical, maker of the popular free operating system Ubuntu, wanted to produce a smartphone to showcase what its forthcoming mobile OS can do.

So it launched an Indiegogo campaign asking backers to help make its project a reality. But this wasn't any ordinary campaign. Not only was Canonical attempting to generate $32 million in funding -- the largest crowdfunding goal ever -- it was asking everyone who actually wanted one to pony up $830 (it would later lower this price to $695).

The price matched the promise: Canonical wanted to produce the best phone on the market, a high-end device that could generate the same sort of consumer lust awarded the Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S 4.

It would have a processor faster than anything available right now. It would have a sapphire screen capable of withstanding extra abuse. And it would be able to function as a full Linux PC when connected to a keyboard and monitor, giving it functionality that most people see as a future innovation.

"Ultimately it would be a great way to bring attention to the fact that convergence is available today," said Canonical Vice President Victor Palau. 

But it wasn't to be: The campaign ended up missing its mark by quite a lot on Wednesday, generating only $12.8 million -- still the most amount of money ever raised by a crowdfunding platform.

Canonical says that it went the crowdfunding route because it had no plans to become a proper hardware maker, and didn't want to accept any sort of investment money. It simply wanted to produce a run of 40,000 devices to show how its software should look and feel on a device.

Now that the campaign is over and dead, Canonical says that it will move on from pursing the Ubuntu Edge smartphone. Instead, the company will work to partner up with hardware manufacturers and push its Mobile Ubuntu platform.

While the Ubuntu Edge project generated more crowdfunding than any other project ever, the Edge project had a fatal flaw: Interesting as its features were, it wouldn't have solved many problems currently found in smartphones.

The proposed processor speed and RAM capacity was more than we've seen in previous devices, but there was nary a word of size, weight, battery life or camera performance, which are very important features to be overlooking. Plus, we wouldn't be seeing this until the middle of 2014 at the earliest, which is enough time for plenty of superior devices to materialize from the big smartphone makers.

And ultimately, the biggest innovation it promises - smartphone/PC convergence - is just something people aren't ready for yet. Being able to use a phone as a PC is 100% dependent on having access to a monitor, mouse and keyboard wherever you want to use it. Easy access to that gear outside the home or office is hardly ubiquitous. In fact, it's quite scarce.

Combine these concerns with the fact that any mobile OS not named iOS or Android faces considerable difficulty attracting third-party app developers, and it's not hard to see why even those who are interested by the idea would have pause.

In the end, it wasn't so much that the Ubuntu edge was a bad idea, or even a preposterous one. It simply was not an idea that addressed any pressing needs or provided new insights on what role technology could play in the lives of normal people. If it had done that, it wouldn't have needed to crowdfund the phone at all.


The Right Online Car Insurance Could Offer Protection Against Criminal Behavior

Some guy in a funny costume flags you down. Here you are a good samaritan thinking you’ll help someone out with directions or something of the like. Then lo and behold, the stranger pulls out a knife and tells you to get out of the car. He jumps in and takes off. This is the new trend for car thieves and you should prepare for this worst-case scenario with the right online car insurance.

Incredible advances in car technology make it harder for auto thieves to continue with conventional car theft methods. Break-ins are becoming less common as most new cars come with built-in theft prevention devices. Still car insurance companies say car theft has not decreased as much as it should because of the new methods criminals are using to steal new cars.

Auto Insurance Companies Say Car Thieves Have Changed their Mode of Operating

Criminals have simply compensated for the new key technology by becoming more brazen. The current approach is carjacking, the theft of parts and car cloning. While online car insurance companies agree that the “traditional” type of auto break-in is less common, criminals are still taking more vehicles by stealing them directly from the owner. Carjacking is an activity that is increasing, as well as other schemes where thieves clone keys and swap the real key with the fake key, later returning to steal the vehicle.

However, car theft is not the only problem, criminals are also taking car parts. These include catalytic converters and other expensive parts that have high scrap value. These are parts that can be swiped in a matter of minutes.

Criminals Are Now Using Technology to Aid Their Activities

technology doesn’t really deter a criminal, but instead often helps them. Many of the car parts that are easily swiped are up online in shopping forums or on websites within minutes. Many of the websites these criminals use to commercialize these parts are even well-known, such as, or In many cases, criminals use technology to change paper documentation and vehicle identification numbers, so they can sell the car without suspicion.

What Should Car Owners Do?

Most carjacking involves a weapon, so you don’t want to confront the carjacker. In stead, your best option is to give up your car and quickly leave the scene. Your car is certainly not worth your life!

However, drivers can take precautions, suggest leading car insurance providers. They should be wary around in the gas stations, parking lots late at night, or other dark isolated areas.

Take Precautions When Buying a Car Especially Right after a Natural Disaster

Online car insurance leaders say consumers should be especially wary of buying cars just after natural disasters, as it is easier for thieves to clone vehicles at such times; a process where thieves change vehicle identification numbers for those of non-stolen vehicles which are no longer in driving conditions. Be sure to always do the following before putting money down on a car:
  • Get a vehicle history report
  • compare vehicle documentation to the VIN numbers on the engine, doors and dashboard. If these don’t all match then don’t go through with the deal.
  • Remember, if the deal looks too good to be true, it usually is.
Bottom Line

By looking for competitive comprehensive car insurance quotes, you can get an online car insurance policy that protects you against auto theft. Besides,  you shouldn’t be too concerned as the number of stolen cars has fallen in the last decade. A statistic which is reflected in the dropping price of comprehensive car insurance coverage. Still, the size of auto insurance claims on cars that are stolen has grown. The reasons for this are:
  • cars have a higher value.
  • higher valued cars are targets for criminals.
So, if you feel your comprehensive auto insurance quotes are too high, you might consider asking whether the insurance provider offers any discounts for anti-theft devices; some insurance providers and state regulations require discounts for cars equipped with these devices.


Car Insurance Discounts – Make the Most of Them

Auto insurance is one of those necessary expenses, at least, that is if, if you drive. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to make too large an auto insurance payment. You can actually find cheap car insurance rates if you shop smart.

Prices for car insurance vary and this difference could imply savings of more than a few hundred dollars, says The Insurance Information Institute.  Most car insurance providers offer many different opportunities for consumers to cut down on premiums. These cuts come in the way of discounts based on many different factors.  You can get discounts for good driving habits, for certain occupations, fancy high-tech devices on your car, and even on the fact that your kids excel at their school work.

Some discounts run across the board while others are specific to certain car insurance companies or premium types.  The following are some of the discounts out there that you should ask about:

Employee or Occupational Discounts

Sometimes the type of work you do can allow you to save money on your car insurance.  Some occupations are less risky than others, involve less time on the road and consequently, fewer accidents, so a car insurance company could offer discounts for certain occupations.

If you are a customer of Farmer’s insurance you could get discounts if you are a police officer, firefighter, doctor, dentist, registered nurse, educator, engineer, or scientist.

Some car insurance companies have long-standing relationships with certain corporations. So employees for those corporations could get discounts on their insurance policy. For instance, Geico, offers an 8% discount to employees of the Warren Buffett Berkshire Hathaway Inc, a company that has many sub corporations like Fruit of the Loom.

Even people that don’t work for anyone but themselves can qualify for discounts. If you stay at home and work from there you could be elible for a discount, especially if you don’t drive all that much.

Good Credit Scores

People with good credit can also qualify for lower traditional or online car insurance quotes. The better your credit is the lower your car insurance rate will be.  Some say a good credit score could cut your car insurance rates by as much as half.

Military Discounts

If you are in the armed forces or in a qualifying ROTC program you may qualify for a military discount. Sometimes these discounts can be as much as 15 percent for military personnel and their families, and this could even include such branches as the National Guard.

Association Discounts

Do you remember being a part of a fraternity or sorority in college? These affinities can also give you a car insurance rate discount.  Many insurance providers offer affinity discounts of up to 8 percent.  These associations could be your state’s Bar Association, Small Business Association, Alumni Association, or other type of program. Be sure to ask about car insurance discounts with both your association and your car insurance provider.

Green Discounts

There is a reason for the cheap online car insurance rates. They offer a greener solution that is ecofriendly. Cutting down on paper and business costs allows a car insurance provider to offer better discounts on policies. Some companies even give you an immediate $50 discount if you sign your policy online.

You’ll also knock down your rates when you reduce your carbon footprint. Reduce your mileage and you reduce your insurance bill.

Those who drive fuel efficient vehicles can also get reduced insurance rates. Some companies offer as much as a 10 percent discount for drivers of hybrid vehicles.

Anti-Theft Device Discounts

Those drivers that love the high tech stuff can also get better insurance rate quotes. Insurance companies offer lower premiums for drivers who use cars equipped with air bags, anti lock brakes, fuel or ignition cut off switches, alarms and tracking systems.  This could mean a savings of almost 25 percent.

The Early Bird Discount

Those who shop early for a car insurance quote can also get larger discounts. Some companies offer a 10 percent discount if you switch your contract over to them before your policy renews.

However, there are also company good-standing discounts. These are discounts offered to long standing customers, so be careful before you jump from one provider to another.

Good Grades Discount

If you have a student on your policy and he/she receives good grades, you could get a discount of up to 20 percent. This is because data shows that the better a student is in school, the less likely he is to have an accident.

Bottom Line

While car insurance discounts are great and may be substantial, and you certainly want to look into every discount available to you, there are insurance companies that still offer better rates even without the discounts.  The key to finding the best car insurance rates lies in uncovering every discount, every price drop or low insurance rate quote and then choosing the option that best fits your needs.