Chumby our favourite internet gadget company has just released Chumby 8, an upgrade to the already excellent internet device. Chumby is a small gadget that allows you to load add-on applications to the screen turning the gadget into anything you want. More than just the ultimate bedside device, think clock radio or alarm clock with a Star Trek twist. Chumby was the first device to really fulfill the term Widget.
If your sick of plain old alarm clocks, bored by the latest MP3 playing picture frame or just want a device to do more then the Chumby is for you. With 1500 apps available, the Chumby can be many things to many people. Load the Flicker application to make Chumby into a picture frame, Alarm Clock, Weather, social media dating applications all turn Chumby into something different. Load the news feeds, sports updates and horoscopes onto your Chumby and you have a live news centre. Load the financials and world clocks to turn Chumby into a world-wide stock tracker. Internet radio, games, social and online video applications all expand the Chumby’s usefulness.
The original Chumby was released August 2006 but it didn’t go on sale till the release of the Chumby One in November 2009. During the early years – 2006 to 2009 – the hardware and software were perfected with hardware released to developers and selected lucky users. The Chumby software is now used on a number of devices; Sony’s Dash, Insignia Infocasts are all Chumby’s wrapped in different clothing.
At its heart Chumby is just a little computer, the original Chumby One is a very similar specification to a basic Android phone, 3.5 inch screen, 450mhz ARM cpu, 64MB of RAM, internal microSD slots, Wi-Fi, FM tuner, USB and its based on a custom version of the Linux operating system. Chumby 8 has upgraded all of the hardware with and 8inch 800×400 display up front, 800mhz ARM cpu, 128MB of ram and slightly higher cost at $200 USD.
To setup the Chumby device first time out of the box you must go online to Chumby and setup an account, once logged into your account you can decide on the applications you wish to load onto your Chumby. When you turn on to your Chumby you simply enter your account and password and the Chumby will go online and synchronize to your account. The Chumby app for Android allows you to run your selection of apps and media defined in your account, once you have installed the Android Chumby application you simply enter your account name and password and your Android phone will be syncronized to your Chumby account.
Hacking the Chumby is encouraged by the manufacturer Chumby Inc. The whole point of the device is to allow lots of people to develop simple little apps and customizations to the Chumby itself. Some people have created modifications that allow the Chumby to run off an internal battery when mains power goes out. This was never something designed into the Chumby.
The community is very similar to the old Commodore 64 days, with groups of people getting together to collectively create applications, have discussions and test out ideas. The forums of the Chumby site are overflowing with ideas and chatter from the community.
The original Chumby One was cute but the screen was a little tiny at 3.5inches but Chumby 8 has addressed all of these issues and more. Chumby 8 is the ultimate must have gadget at the moment. If your after a little more style and don’t mind paying for it then the Sony Dash is the one to have. Everyone needs a little widget action in there lives.