Lots of questions on our blog and Forum about when chumbys will finally be available for sale. Answer: this month, September. Many people have contacted us since the word first got out about Chumby just barely over a year ago (time flies!) after we gave some prototype chumbys away at FOO Camp. Even more people contacted us as we offered some free prototypes to those who had interesting ideas for hacking or crafting their chumbys. Then we engaged the Flash development community and gave a bunch of chumby prototypes to Flash developers to make cool widgets. Most recently we gave 50 chumbys that we thought were nearly done to our “First 50” chumbians — and we’ve been processing daily feedback from these “real people” to make the finishing touches on all things Chumby before we actually start selling. Over this past year we’ve been constantly reworking different aspects of Chumby to improve it: to make the chumby look better, have more capabilities, and more engaging content. This has always been our development path: put something out, get feedback, improve and enhance, and keep revving the product until it’s “ready.” I put “ready” here in quotes because Chumby will just keep improving, it’s never “feature complete” — enhancements will get sent to your chumby automatically over-the-air and we’ll also keep improving the Chumby web site as we go. Even after you buy a chumby you can rest assured knowing that we and a community of hackers and “Friends of Chumby” will be working to constantly improve it, add capabilities, create new content, new accessories. Your chumby will be even better the year after you buy it — and how many consumer electronic products can make that claim? We think this is a pretty new and compelling model for consumer electronics versus the “planned obsolescence” model that has mostly been the case to date.
So here’s how this “Insider’s Release” will work. All those people who have emailed us and asked us to let them know when they can buy a chumby, and many of whom have been patiently waiting for as much as a year, will be hearing from us starting this month. We want to make sure that we give these patient supporters the first chance to buy a chumby. By the way, you can still get on that list: here. There are many thousands of you on this list, so it will take us some weeks to get back to each of you. In other words, expect this non-public “Insider’s Launch” program to last at least through October. We’re still working out the dates and plans of our “open to everyone” public launch but this will probably be in November. Because of various regulatory requirements, chumby’s will be sold initially only to domestic U.S. buyers, but we’ve had a ton of interest from foreign countries so we’ll get to work on our ability to sell elsewhere in the world as soon as we get going here in the U.S.
All of us at Chumby are delighted to finally start putting chumbys into your hands. It has been about 2 years of blood, sweat, and passion. We sure hope you’ll like what we’ve done. And, remember, this is just the beginning and it will only get better from here :^)