Get your Chumby while its hot!

Chumby and Dog Check out this great little product!
In the same tradition of my product development ideas for Mini-Entreprenaurship the Chumby is what i would consider a great “post-pc era” product that leverages on “customer designed” and “long tailed” type services. Phew what a mouth full!

Introducing chumby, a compact device that can act like a clock radio, but is way more flexible and fun. It uses the wireless internet connection you already have to fetch cool stuff from the web: music, the latest news, box scores, animations, celebrity gossip…whatever you choose. And a chumby can exchange photos and messages with your friends. Since it’s always on, you’ll never miss anything.

The cool factor is this product uses the idea of “widgets”. These are little add-on software “packages” that allow users to easily customize their product to function in the way they want! Very cool and here are some of the most popular widgets that work on Chumby:

1. Digital Clock
2. flickr Photo Viewer
3. Shakespeare Insult Generator
4. digg
5. Google News
6. Slashdot
7. Daily Horoscope
8. Google Calendar
9. ShamuCam
10. Make Magazine

At the end of the day, what I really like about this product is what it stands for. As discussed by Christine Herron at her blog, the Chumby is 100% hackable and designed to be, unlike the Apply iPod, user accessible. Anti-ipod I like!

The housings can be easily modified and changed like the “shocking but interesting” pictures above. You can also happily modify the PCB “guts” as they are protected by Creative Commons Licenses and the software is open sourced. All you have to do is pay $150 to get it out of the box add some free widgets and you are up and running! They probably will start getting some Return on Investment by some kind of subscription service.
I’m so inspired with this great product idea, as its one of the first tangible product (i.e. you can touch and feel it) I’ve seen that considers all the new e-commerce trends that I have been talking about.
If this product does take off, I can also see a whole industry of accessories sprouting up just like that of the perennial iPod accessories. People building customized housings, electronics add-ons, screen protectors, land yard neck straps, speaker docks etc…smart fellows these Chumby guys.
The product is still currently in the testing and trouble-shooting stage. However they will send you samples if you can contribute to the project. Head on over to and tell them why they should send you a free sample! I know I did!
Thanks Christine for the reference.


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