On February 28th of this year, San Diego-based Chumby Industries released the chumby™, an Internet device that can be used as a clock/alarm, radio, news ticker, photo viewer, etc… The widget-based device is hooked up to wireless networks and receives information via the Chumby Network.
I happen to own one of these spiffy devices, and I have been quite impressed. My latte colored squish ball (which I have aptly named “Squishy”) has been a reliable alarm in the mornings, and I wake up to a variety of widgets, be it a lolcat slideshow, weather forecasts, or even a nifty little Yellow Submarine animation. I can then proceed to listen to a plethora of Internet radio broadcasts from all over the world. I can even hook my iPod up to my chumby™. The chumby™ is an entertaining contraption that can play games and play David Letterman’s Top Ten.
I must assert that people should not expect some sort of computer replacement or any sort of intentional smartphone competition. The chumby™ is more of a desktop gadget to easily access widgets. The chumby™ is meant to be a fun, customizable device.
A few flaws are present and, from what I hear, are being worked on for future versions. The screen tends to get warm (think of the bottom of a laptop after a few hours of use) and the touch-screen function can be finicky at times. Also, the chumby™ “bling” hanger button is practically useless because it is pushed in too far. From what I’m told, this is more of a manufacturing problem.
Even with a few flaws, the chumby™ is certainly worth a look. With new widgets added to the Chumby Network everyday, it’s easy to find widgets that appeal to different people. I definitely recommend this gadget to those looking for a fun, new, desktop toy.
Chumby, the Chumby "sexipus" copyright 2008 Chumby Industries. Images provided courtesy of Chumby Industries.