26 February 2008

The Chumby Era Begins

Today is a Chumbylicious day:

Chumby Industries announced today the public launch of the chumby, its much-anticipated compact consumer Internet device that enables people to receive a constant personalized broadcast of their favorite parts of the Web. The chumby device is currently available in the U.S. at www.chumby.com for $179.95 including shipping.

A little bigger than a coffee cup, the Wi-Fi connected chumby provides people with a fun, hassle-free way to enjoy what they want most out of the Internet at a glance and wake up to thousands of different streaming Internet radio stations, custom "alarm tones," videos and more. With a large and growing base of content from the Internet, including the latest news, weather and entertainment, as well as the ability to share photos, widgets and e-cards with family and friends, the chumby is one of the most versatile and lifestyle-friendly Internet enabled devices on the market today.

One reason why it is so versatile is that it runs GNU/Linux and is designed to be hacked. Here's what Linux Journal had to say on the subject:

“Chumby Industries was formed by hackers who wanted to create something interesting, useful and different. The starting point was the humble clock radio”, its creators explain. Since then, Chumby has evolved from a clock in a cushion to an Any-purpose Net-native Linux device. That's any with a capital A, because the Chumby is built to be hackable at every level, including the physical. Not only does it sense motions and squeezings, but it also hosts an assortment of charms, through its “outerware API”. The charms and much more about the Chumby were designed by Susan Kare (who designed the original desktop icons for the Macintosh and Windows, among too many other things to mention). Susan is Creative Director for Chumby. The company might be cuddly, but it means business too.

And if that's not enough, one of the founders of Chumby is Bunnie Huang, ace hardware hacker. I'm sure that the Chumby will not only be hugely successful, but will spawn an entire industry of configurable consumer widgets.

The only blemish is that you can't currently buy the Chumby outside the US.....

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