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Heard of Chumby?

April 15, 2008 by  

ChumbyHere’s a curious new device a co-worker asked my opinion about. It’s called Chumby. I stared at this thing for a few minutes trying to grasp what it can do.

To me, it sees like a significant evolution beyond the “net appliances” we’ve seen come and go over the years. (Remember Microsoft’s WebTV? Or the fancy gadgets in the Brookstone catalog?) Through simple low profile design and fun user interface, Chumby becomes a highly customizable device. The manufacturer was smart to line up relationships with significant, credible content publishers before unveiling the Chumby last February.

My questions:

  • It implies the user gets updates over the air. Is that limited to certain geo-locations?
  • But I’d be suspicious as to how long the associated service will be “free.” Satellite radio was supposed to be free, but they now slip in commercials.
  • Who’s the target? Teens? Techo-phobic older citizens?

Proprietary Internet appliances like WebTV have failed in the past. At $179, it seems like a very expensive alarm clock, regardless of how cool the interface is.

The Chumby gives off a cool vibe. Truthfully, I’d really need to handle one for a week to see if it grows on me or demonstrates usefulness in my daily life. The iPhone is a behavior altering device. As was TiVo/DVR for me and my wife. The Chumby doesn’t seem that way to me personally.

Although it’s cute, I’d rather put my money towards a better iPhone or compact laptop.

Checkout their demo and share your thoughts. Is this a must have gadget?
-Roland

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