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The Chumby

| Posted in Free Software, Hardware |

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The Chumby

The Chumby

A compact Linux-based WiFi enabled internet device with a touchscreen that uses Adobe Flash technology widgets for playing media, viewing websites, blogs, rss feeds etc. It is priced at about $180.

The business model and the hardware are interesting.

In the next five years,there is going to be a deluge of web enabled connected devices. The Chumby is just a precursor of what is to come. With a WiFi connection, 3.5 inch touch screen (at 12Hz), and designed like a clock radio, the Chumby uses AC power, 350Mz ARM9 controller, 64MB SDRAM,64MB NAND flash ROM, stereo 2W speakers, microphone and USB 2.0 ports.

The business model is to use ads for profit. It is also aiming to benefit from its openness. You can download Chumby’s blueprints, hack into its hardware widgets and design your own .

This idea of allowing users, including other device manufacturers and competitors access to the internals of the device is interesting. However, this is not free as in freedom. This is free as in free to collaborate. The main closing factor is that most Chumbies have to use the Chumby network and see the ads there.

This is indeed a huge disadvantage. If the concept of connected devices takes off, as predicted, it will be on open standards. As of now, the walled garden concepts are the ones that are operating in the low volumes compared to the potential volume of the internet enabled device market.

A main disadvantage of the Chumby is that it is not mobile/portable.

Read more about it.

Chumby at Wikipedia
A night with Chumby
Gadgeteer
Gizmodo
Chumby is open, but not for business.


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