Canonical introduces cheaper options in Ubuntu Edge funding drive — was $830 too much?

In case you missed it earlier this week, Ubuntu firm Canonical is trying to raise a whopping $32 million in 30 days for a concept Ubuntu Edge smartphone – a highly-specced, laptop-class device to show off what the upcoming desktop/mobile operating system can do. Canonical kicked off the Indiegogo crowdfunding drive with an introductory offer: up to a total of 5,000 units or 24 hours of the project running (whichever came first), backers could pledge $600 and get an Ubuntu Edge when it ships next May. After that the “donation” needed to get the handset was $830.
Well, the crowdfunding drive got off to a flying start – it reached $1 million in five hours and, on Tuesday, it had managed to cross the 10 percent mark ($3.2 million). However, on Wednesday it seemed things had slowed down, with the total raised so far being, at the time of writing, $3.8 million.
Hence, I suspect, the move Canonical announced a few minutes ago: the firm has brought in a new series of relatively cheap “perk levels”. Those 5,000 $600 Edges may be long gone, but now backers can get Edges for prices ranging from $625 to $820, with limited amounts of devices in each tier. The company also said it would refund the difference for the “hundreds” of people who had already ordered Edges at the full $830 price.
Canonical has been very clear throughout that the Edge and its funding drive are designed to get the feedback they need to pitch Ubuntu for mobile properly when it’s finalized. Seeing how the Indiegogo campaign seemed to have slowed down significantly when the $830 tier was the only one available (unless backers went for bulk deals), I think they just got – and acted on – the pricing feedback they needed.