updated 03:30 pm EDT, Thu August 20, 2009
Chumby software in gadgets
Executives at Chumby have said on Thursday that they plan on bringing the gadget's software to other consumer electronics via a series of partnerships. The Chumby can so far bring weather, music, news, photos and trivia to living rooms from the Internet. According to a Thursday Forbes report, the company's chief executive, Steve Tomlin, has established partnerships with Sony, Samsung, Broadcom and Marvell to bring the open-source operating system into TVs, Blu-ray players, clock and tabletop radios and other consumer electronics, with some expected for a release before the end of 2009.
"It's never been our great desire to be a hardware company; our expertise is software and user interface," Tomlin said. Instead, Tomlin would like consumers to view Chumby as a content and media business that uses widgets and relies on third-party developers. He'd like to see Chumby powering numerous consumer electronics devices.
The first "powered by Chumby" device will be a digital picture frame, though the hardware partner hasn't been named. It is expected the product will allow users to synchronize photos from sites such as Flickr and Photobucket, as well as have access to Facebook and Twitter. It will also have access to online news feeds, streaming Internet radio and weather reports. The hardware would moreover find other Chumby owners and share photos by pushing them over the air.
After that, a TV with Chumby is expected, likely in conjunction with Samsung and Broadcom. All such products will be sold worldwide.
Tomlin maintains it wants to port its software only to simple devices equipped with touchscreens and that his company will stay away from smartphones. He also promises the original Chumby device will continue to be made and regularly updated. It and the new wave of Chumby-powered gadgets will be able to connect together. The firm is looking into developing battery-powered products as well as voice- or phone-oriented devices.