Product marketing is a very tricky activity. Especially for a product that is based on free and open source software. Ubuntu Edge is a great idea that might eventually get sold.
But, in my opinion Mark Shuttleworth did a brilliant move by gauging potential market response for the idea. By asking people to put money where their mouth is, he not only got a market survey done but also got free press, a potential customer community and a significant thought leadership! All these for almost no expenditure.
Compare this to Microsoft’s big fail trying to sell their Surface RT, Ubuntu indeed did a brilliant market hack!