Geek.com reviews the Chumby, a device I’ve surely never heard of before. “If you’re not familiar with the Chumby, it’s a Linux-based gadget that connects up to the internet via WiFi, and sports a squeeze sensor, accelerometer, and a 3.5″ LCD color touchscreen. The coolest part about it is that it runs Adobe Flash-based widgets so pretty much anything you can imagine is (or will be) available for it, and Chumby includes an extensive list at Chumby.com. This whole package comes wrapped up in a nice leather casing, and is actually quite fun to squeeze.”
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2007-12-05 7:11 pmbsharitt
It does seem to be an odd little device that is filling a niche that isn’t there.
2007-12-05 7:15 pmhobgoblin
in other words, its a geek toy.
I’ve a radio alarm clock that sits by my bed. It’d be worth a decent amount of money to me if it could wake me up with music from my MP3 collection instead of beeping, show me the main news headlines, let me know if I had interesting e-mail and tell me if the weather forecast was good.
Do I need an alarm clock to do that? No way! But it would be awesome if it did 🙂 The Chumby is exactly that. If only they’d sell them in the UK, I’d be very excited.
Hi, wanna see my Chumby?
2007-12-05 9:07 pmTaterSalad
It’s not the Chumby that matters, it’s how you use it.
What an odd little toy. Without a battery though, it’s actually usefullness is very limited. At least it’s priced reasonable so hobbiests and gadget lovers can buy them just to play with.
I own one of these. I bought it because I was excited about the possibilities. I’ve wanted a alarm clock that could stream audio and have an internet enabled calendar for a long time.
I figured this would meet those needs, but it really doesn’t. It can stream audio but not unless you ssh into it. It can play music for alarms but only if you attach an ipod to the Chumby. The alarm functionality is buried in several sub-menus you have to press-press-press several times just to get to the alarm clock in order to set it.
It is mainly designed to send flash lite widgets, along with ads, to the screen and rotate through them.
And the ads, they don’t make it obvious but this thing sends ads between sending widgets and there is no way to opt out of that. They argue they need the ads because they don’t make any money off of selling the chumby. I think thats a flawed business model.
The problem I have with this is that to make money they need to send you the ads which means that that functionality will always come first.
Its still a cool unit and runs Linux and is an open design so you can easliy repurpose it, but if your not a Linux hacker and don’t want to just look at internet widgets then skip it.
Who could face having a gadget called a Chumby?
2007-12-06 12:15 pmLaurence
“Who could face having a gadget called a Chumby?
What does it matter what the device is called?
It’s just a name, nothing more.
It just grates me a little when the only contribution a geek can make about new gadgets is a passing superficial remark about the name.
And that’s mostly if they have the desire and time to repurpose it to run a more regular Linux distro on it.
The Sony eVilla (I don’t know what Sony was smoking to come up with that name in the US markets) was more full-featured in that it was a general web browsing appliance, though IIRC it was less than stable. However, it had a regular keyboard that didn’t make it a PITA to enter stuff into, could display at a decent enough resolution for viewing, and wasn’t tied to explicitly pushed advertisements like this duck with a funny accent. Ok, so I don’t recall the eVilla having wireless on it, but then again, not many things did back then, either!
If they can’t make money with this at the sales price, I agree with the above poster saying they’ve adopted the wrong business model in this case, because I can’t think that there’d be many people that would pay this sort of money for this poor implementation of a specialized internet appliance that isn’t even general purpose on the web. This is an expensive toy that is a whim purchase: buying an iPhone is far more useful as a web browsing alternative, though granted, you’re attached to a service contract as a result, but part of that includes being able to go anywhere with an open wireless point, as well as anywhere there’s EDGE coverage, in addition to being a decent phone, and all without needing to be plugged in, and it does media nicely for the form factor Oh, and it doesn’t need a stupid stylus to use…
What were they thinking? This NEEDS a battery before I even consider it…
I’ll take “Useless Electronic Devices” for $200, Alex.
So let me get this straight….a stress-reliever with a 3 inch LCD screen that delivers the latest and greatest of Web 2.blow? To add insult to injury they expect me to pay upwards of $200 for this?
Sounds good to me! Let me just stab myself in the neck with a pencil first.
What the heck is this thing good for? First I thought it was a portable device for viewing the equivalent of widgets, which might be marginally useful (although widgets in general are crap). But then it says it needs to be plugged in to work? I can’t think of any use this waste of space has that can’t be done better and faster with a PDA or mini laptop.