Some of you have been following Chumby Industries from the beginning or perhaps you may have already bought a chumby during our Insiders Release program. But for the rest of the you, this is news — because this is the day we’ve all been waiting for, the day that Chumby launches publicly and that chumbys go on-sale to the general public.
What’s especially exciting about today is that we think we’ve introduced a brand-new product development model into the consumer electronics industry. Our approach has been to put ever-more-developed real chumby devices into the hands of a network of people at every step of the way — people who could help us define, develop, and improve our product. In their very crudest prototypical form, we gave chumbys away to “alpha-geeks” and hackers. Later, we gave some away to developers, creative types, Flash programmers, and simply anyone who had a compelling notion that we liked. Last Summer, curious to see how the world beyond our early-adopter, technical friends would respond, we gave “real” chumbys to “normal” people. Then, last September, mostly because of the urging of many in the community who wanted to get their hands on a real chumby even if the software wasn’t completely finished, we finally took the plunge and submitted ourselves to the ultimate test, we sold chumbys in pre-release form to whoever really wanted one in this state. We have tried to learn from every step of this process, not through focus groups and surveys (though we did a little of that too), but by real people using a real product and understanding how they wanted to use it and where it fit in their life.
Our early chumby-owner group has been extremely generous with their time and thoughts on our Forum — we are really grateful to you all and you know that we listen to you closely and engage with you there. Your contributions have made Chumby a lot better.
So today, after about 2 years of work, and with the accumulated insights and contributions and advice from thousands of people, we’re ready for all of you. Buy a chumby. We’re really proud of what we’ve created and we think you’ll love your chumby and what it can do for you the same way that thousands of early buyers already do. Even in a world littered with technology gadgets and gizmos, we think that the chumby is something special. Chumby is your favorite parts of the internet, always-on and at a glance or just by listening — no going to your PC and browsing and searching, it comes right to you. You can literally wake up to your internet life. You can stay tuned-into what matters to you on the internet all day long. Your chumby makes sense as an alarm clock, as an internet and podcast radio, as an IPTV, as a way to view and share digital photos using the top photo-sharing services — or as something different and special. One Chumbian keeps her chumby tuned to the Panda-Cam in the San Diego Zoo all day long for 24-hour “PandaVision.” Your chumby goes on your nightstand, next to your PC at your home office or at work, in the kitchen, in the living room. One of our investors admits to having his in the bathroom — not a bad place to catch up on the latest news, gossip and blogs while you have some downtime.
The other big news today is about our major content and promotional partners. CBS has developed some great content with us: videoclips of the highlights of the David Letterman show each night, sports highlight videos, video news clips — it’s a long list and is growing fast. MTV Networks has created some really compelling and creative widgets for Chumby — MTV and VH1 News, extreme pulchritude from Spike, a delightfully annoying (what else would it be?) SpongeBob widget that we’ll be releasing soon, and, again, much more to come. The Weather Channel provides Chumby with the ultimate weather geek’s weather-widget: detailed weather stats, forecast, and radar images. Our MySpace widget allows you to have complete awareness and near total control of your MySpace life simply at a glance and a finger-tap. Scripps brings us the Food Network Recipe of the Day widget — because you have to eat. But while you’re making dinner or, in my case, washing dishes, you can enjoy thousands of streaming Internet radio stations and podcasts from all over the world through your chumby via SHOUTcast’s and MediaFly’s directories. Stay tuned for many more streaming music services coming to your chumby soon — don’t worry, you won’t have to do anything, they’ll just magically show up.
And that’s the really big story. And why this is a new day for consumer electronics. When you buy your chumby, it just keeps getting better. As we and the broad Chumby developer community figure out more ways to add capabilities to your chumby, we’ll push them directly to your chumby, automatically, over-the-air, and for free. For example our pre-release chumby buyers had no idea that we would, with an update automatically downloaded over-the-air, turn their chumbys into streaming Internet radios — it just happened one morning. Lots more coming your way — did you notice that the chumby has a microphone? ;^) — and we work hard every day to make your chumby better. Not the next chumby you will buy, the chumby you already have!
And with your chumby you get, for FREE (because sponsors foot the bill), the ever-growing Chumby Network of content from our media partners, from the top internet destinations, and from a vast community of creative minds — literally growing daily and ready to be shared among your own community of “chums.” Go here and check out some of the great content that is already available, send an e-card to someone’s chumby (use “chow-down” and hear the pig burp), check out what your chumby can do, or just create an account and make a “virtual chumby” to feel part of the Chumby experience and post it on your blog page. Most of all, have fun. We don’t take ourselves very seriously around here. I mean the CEO is a 2-eyed cartoon ham and we’ve embedded your personal internet in an Italian leather bag, sent it to you wrapped in linen, and even tossed in a little free bling. So, go ahead, wake up to your internet life.