updated 11:50 am EDT, Mon August 28, 2006
What Is A Chumby
Small electronics are rarely built to be modified; in many cases, manufacturers are openly hostile to users who would try to load unofficial firmware or open the unit to change the hardware. Chumby's self-titled device taks the opposite approach. Though it initially ships as a digital clock, the Chumby is designed to be extremely flexible. Connecting a Chumby to a computer and registering it lets the user download widgets (in the same vein as those from the MacOS X Dashboard) that take advantage of the Chumby's touchscreen, speakers, USB, and WiFi. Widgets already exist to let users view specific websites or view photos. The device has a plush back that can easily be changed to cater to a different look or removed entirely to give access to the main circuitboard for more determined enthusiasts. Mass production does not officially begin until March 2007 when the Chumby will be available for $150, but prospective developers can contact the company and obtain a unit in advance if necessary.