chumby and iPad

January 27, 2010

Now that the much-anticipated Apple iPad has been announced, we’re getting the obvious and unavoidable question:  so what does this mean for chumby?

First of all, it’s hardly a surprise that the internet is becoming embedded in more and more products that we use every day.  Apple didn’t invent this trend, but they certainly popularized it with the iPhone.  So the iPad is, essentially, a bigger and perhaps better version of something they already developed: a gorgeous piece of multi-touch glass connected wirelessly to the internet and to their various “iStores.”  It sure looks cool and is likely to be a big hit for those who can afford it and who want a transportable “tablet computer.” As for the other e-book makers?  Well, I agree with the pundits who believe they will be iToast.

But the iPad, or the iPod, or the iPhone, or the G-Phone aren’t chumbys and they don’t do what chumbys do.  Not better, not worse, just not chumby.

Why not?

1)  chumby streams

When you turn on a chumby-powered device, it plays your internet life – your chumby simply and automatically streams one application after the next.  Perhaps your Flickr photos, then your friends’ Facebook status, then the headlines from The New York Times, then a wacky animated clock, then the weather, then whatever else you’ve chosen – and all with Pandora or podcasts playing in the background, so I guess it “multitasks.”  It’s closer to turning on your TV or radio than booting up a computer and launching separate applications — chumby “just plays” your internet.  As far as we know, no other device really does this.

2) chumby is “glanceable”

Related to 1) above, with chumby you don’t have to touch, tap, poke, stretch, flick, push or pull to get your information, you simply look at it.  Sure, you can interact with chumby applications: flick photos, slide news headlines or blog feeds up and down, tap to see more, drag to share content with friends, tap to launch rockets, or whatever.  But you don’t have to.  As Chance the Gardener in Being There would say, “I like to watch.”  With chumby, you watch your internet life go by.  With other products, unless you interrupt what you’re doing to play with them, you stare at an “app dock” or a “desktop.”  So I guess it’s sort of like the difference between watching your life on TV and watching your desk.

3) chumby is a capability, not a product

At chumby, we have always been about embedding your internet life into consumer electronics products that you already understand — and just making them better and your internet more convenient.  We make your clock radio better, we make your photo frame better, we’ll make your home phone and your TV better ;^)  And we partner with big consumer electronic brands to make their products better.  We believe that the things you already use every day should simply become internet-connected and more useful.  The chumby one is the best “clock radio” in the world – and you probably already understand what a clock radio is and how to use it: we just reinvented it.

So those are the big differences.  Oh, and chumby products are also several times cheaper than the iPad.  And chumby products are open and hackable so that you can do with them what you like or what clever developers can enable them to do.  And chumby content is free — you don’t go to our App Store and buy anything: chumby is a free app buffet, so load up, take two plates.  How is it free?  Some chumby apps have a commercial rationale, say a new movie trailer or an app that is “brought to you by” someone — but that’s how free media works and is why this is the most broadly accepted media business model in the world.  No purchases, no downloads, no data plans (please, no more of those!), just free streaming personalized content where you’re in charge.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Apple products.  I’m typing this on my Mac.  And I have two iPod touches at home — but they’re sitting on my desk, with black screens, waiting for me to want to play with them, which I’m generally too busy to do, or they need to be charged.  There they sit.  I can’t decide whether I want an iPad or not.  But if I did, I suspect it would quickly end up right there on my desk, sitting next to my iPods with blank screens, and not really doing much for me.  Meanwhile, I just glanced at my chumby classic on my desk (of course it’s on, it’s always on) and caught an interesting tweet about the iPad not supporting Adobe’s Flash technology that is a key part of most multimedia web sites (if so, how is that going to work?) — fascinating ;^)

And I can’t let you go without alerting you that you can now get the original iconic Italian-leather chumby classic, with all the bling and trimmings (even the coveted chumby charms and linen carrying bag!), for only $149.95, a $50 savings — but probably only through February.  So you can wait for an iPad, or act quickly and buy 4 chumby classics for the same price!  Or get the chumby one for only $119.95:  our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price.  ;^)


15 Responses to “chumby and iPad”

  1. OsvaL Says:

    I was thinking the same here, and another think I noticed (me included) is that most of the Chumby users, are also Mac users. At least for all the Chumby photos next to a Mac I saw.

    Today my Chumby has arrived from USA to Paraguay (my country) it’s a great gadget.

  2. The iPad has one great advantage: Within two months we can actually buy one almost anywhere in the world. Go meditate on that, please — but not too long…

  3. Great toy! I love mine :)


  4. […] Indústrias Chumby comparam seus produtos com um certo tablete […]

  5. Mike Says:

    Chumby doesn’t wet!

  6. Srini Says:

    I don’t see how you can say the other ebook readers will become itoast.

    One of the major differences is the type of display used. Computer monitors are normally LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) type and are back-lit. After reading for any length of time on this type of screen you will most likely get some degree of eye strain. Ebook readers, on the other hand, use an e-ink technology screen which is not back-lit. The experience is much closer to reading printed text on plain paper – and it’s much easier on your eyes.

    Another benefit of e-ink technology is the fact that the display only draws power when it’s changing pages. Once the page has been written, no power is required. This means that ebook readers can go for long periods between charges – which is the ideal situation for a battery operated mobile device. Readers can operate for weeks, or for several thousand “page turns” between charges.

  7. Dave Selover Says:

    I must say that the chumby is less intensive then any umpc, as I use many fom now and from times past. The real test is whether embedded goes farther and cloud gets bigger, and the general public becomes more impatient with tech to maintain.

  8. malkav11 Says:

    The ereaders will not be significantly threatened by the iPad any more than the Chumby. The iPad is not an ereader any more than it is a Chumby, and it does not do what the ereaders do. It can be used to read books, much as it can be used as an alarm clock and internet radio, but it is not designed around it and it does not do it nearly as well as the dedicated devices.

    Plus, the iPad is -way- more expensive.

  9. Craig Says:

    Chumby is not comparable to the iPad, IMO. Two different markets.

    Chumby is meant to replace alarm clock and connect to the internet for use of widgets. iPad is portable and streams iTunes content + web browsing, etc.

    It’s like comparing a television to a boat.

    I love my Chumby One… it would be awesome if we could get a web browser on this thing though… the ARM processor should support a simple webkit browser with ease.

  10. Justin Thyme Says:

    Ereaders- Kindle has 2 reasons why it won’t die either short or long term.

    1) reflective screen- It can be read in full sunlight.

    2) Kindle has a static set of technology requirements- Like a calculator. Like calculators, the price will steadily erode after all the requirements have been met (not there yet- we don’t have high color depth ereader picture books). With that said, digital electronics development will relentlessly drive the cost so low that it will be possible to give away the ereader. Eventually, the case will be more expensive than the electronics inside. Now, consider what the Ipad’s future requirements- they are open ended. Apple IPad devices will always be doing whatever the latest and greatest processor, storage and display technologies can enable. That means it will be expensive in perpetuity.

  11. Ipaduser Says:

    Now, if you guys were really on the ball, you would make an iPhone app and an iPad app. If you could get it through the AppStore, that would be outstanding. Until then, you’d be very smart if you rolled it out on the open Android (no Steve jobs approval necessary).

    This would create huge driving force for embedded appliance, for those who don’t just need it when they plug in and charge at night, and also provide continuity between the smartphone and the appliance.

  12. Derek Says:

    I have a Chumby and I like it a lot, I iPad sits beside my Mac and it would be cool if I could use it as a Chumby. I want Chumby on my iPad.

  13. Christian Liendo Says:

    I think the Chumby client as an App on smartphones and internet tablets would be quite valuable. I know many people with Nokia 810s, 900s, Android Phones and Apple ITouches who would pay a nominal fee for the client. If you made it an app and it became popular, then it would make a lot of money

  14. jim Says:

    so why haven’t you developed a chumby with a camera so that is could be used to talk to other chumby friends, like facetime or with skype?

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