chumby, the application *platform*

June 22, 2010

Those of you who follow this blog know that chumby isn’t just a device company.  Yes, we’re proud to have invented what, we understand, is becoming known as the “Internet Media Display” category with the original chumby classic and the chumby one. But the important thing to understand from us is that chumby is a capability rather than simply a product.  With chumby, any connected screen can automatically broadcast to you your weather, your news, photos of your friends and family, your favorite Pandora Radio stations, the latest from your Facebook news feed or Twitter stream, and can remind you how great Chuck Norris is or how cute baby owls can be.

Sony’s dash was the first big example of chumby working with a top consumer electronics company to bring chumby applications and services to a mainstream retail product available at a store near you.  We worked with Sony to bring certain aspects of the chumby experience, combined with some unique Sony capabilities and content, to a new device with a very compelling form-factor.

Now, with Best Buy’s launch of the Infocast under their private label Insignia brand, we have another example of how chumby works with top consumer electronic companies to create compelling new connected experiences — in this case a product that goes well beyond what anyone else has ever done in the connected digital photo frame space.  Soon we’ll do a separate post on this amazing new device.  As bunnie Huang has revealed, this product has some very special capabilities under the hood (hackers only:  likely to void your warranty).  Because it has so many capabilities and so much power, and priced at $169.99, this isn’t intended to be Granny’s photo frame, but I suspect she’ll love it anyway, and, if she’s a hacker, it will certainly dust her dentures :^)

You will continue to see chumby showing up on a wide range of connected consumer electronic products from top manufacturers and on devices from bedside clock radios, to digital photo frames, to home control and energy monitoring panels (an especially exciting new category), to connected televisions.  chumby is unique among application platforms for these types of devices — we’re both interactive (i.e., you can poke at the screen and make things happen) but we also automatically stream your content (i.e., you don’t *have* to poke at the screen if you’re busy or across the room, it just keeps playing).  With 1500 apps from top content companies and independent developers, written in Flash and designed to look great on screens of all sizes and orientations, there’s always something good to watch and fresh new apps all the time.  And once you create your own personal channel of chumby apps, they’ll happily play on *any* chumby-powered device: nothing to download, no app stores, no fees.

If you’re a consumer, buy a chumby or a dash or an Infocast.  Or buy all three — they all play your chumby apps.

If you’re a consumer electronics manufacturer, contact us to get chumby on your connected products.  We can help you with electronics (we have multiple hardware reference designs that are ready for high-volume manufacturing), software and interface design, as well as a full suite of compelling consumer applications and services.  We’ll even power the chumby app network for your devices from our own servers.

chumby, coming to a connected screen near you.


Act fast for $119.95 chumby classics for Father’s Day

June 16, 2010

Special for Father’s Day, and with free 2-day shipping if you act quickly, the original and inimitable chumby, the chumby classic, with the linen bag and they blingy chumby charms, on sale for a limited time and while supplies last.  Only $119.95.  Don’t disappoint dear old Dad.

But you have to get your order in to us before 2pm (West Coast) or 5pm (East Coast) time today for it to arrive in time for Father’s Day. So do it now!

chumby one for sale on — such a deal!

April 28, 2010

You can now buy chumby one at a great price on, click: here.

A great deal.  And how much more mainstream can you get?

Heck, don’t just buy one, get a pallet load of ’em and fill up your van.

Two philosophies on prototypes

April 27, 2010

Send in the iGestapo?

Or deliberately give them away to the most “dangerous” people on earth?

Who’s chumby for?

March 24, 2010

We’re always puzzled by the question, “But who is chumby for?”  Marketing 101 stipulates that “everyone!” is not an appropriate answer.  Whatever…

Or perhaps for your dog.

Or maybe for YOU!

1 billion chumby apps served monthly … and growing fast

March 3, 2010

If you own a chumby device, you are now part of a community that is collectively receiving over 1 billion apps each month from chumby and its wonderful app developers.  This is an exciting milestone for us.  I guess we’re no longer an experiment :^)

This monthly app total is growing fast as we continue to launch new chumby-powered devices and as we work with large consumer electronics companies to bring chumby apps to their products.

Our goal, stated nearly 4 years ago, was to enable simple connected devices that delivered your favorite parts of the internet to you in a new and compelling way: saving you time, making the internet more convenient, and reconciling your “internet life” with your “real life.”

We believe that we’re making the consumer electronics industry better.  We’ve greatly improved the clock radio, and, with some big partners, have been working hard to reinvent the product category that has formerly been called “digital photo frames” (“horseless carriage,” anyone?) and many other somewhat mundane or moribund product categories that should be properly connected to the internet.

Perhaps our success and staying power is because we launched chumby in an untraditional way and with different rules.  We didn’t want chumby products to join your ever-growing box of discarded techno-crud. So we remain determined to continually update and improve anything that is chumby-powered — we’ll continue to make our software platform and our devices even more useful to you and even more compelling to app developers.  We hope that chumby will make your life a little better and more fun. Happily, many of you tell us that we do just that.

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.  ;^)

chumbonanza! get the chumby classic for $149.95

January 21, 2010

As popular as our new chumby one has turned out to be, many of you love the chumby classic, our original iconic bundle of always-on hand-sewn Italian leather stereo goodness.  There is nothing else like it, and there may never be.  It’s what I choose for my own bedside table.

So now, but only through February and only while supplies last, you can get the original “classic” chumby for an amazing price of $149.95…and we’ll even throw in free ground shipping.

Welcome to chumbonanza days!  But act fast :^)

Sony, with a dash of chumby; or chumby, with a dash of Sony…whatever

January 7, 2010

Sony dash announcement today at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show:  here.

Stay tuned, more to come :^)

chumby one shipping update

December 12, 2009

We’re getting a few questions, and some anxiety, about shipping times of chumby one orders for U.S. delivery.  So here’s the status.

Orders for chumby one placed November 16 to 23 have already shipped.  Orders placed on or after November 24 will ship by December 17.  We’re working like hyper-caffeinated elves to get these orders out right now.  For these orders, we will ensure a timely delivery in the United States by Christmas, even if it means that we upgrade these orders to 2-day shipping if necessary, and at no additional cost to you.  Faster, Rudolph, faster!

For any orders placed on or after December 12 (today), we promise to do our best but *please* do not count on chumby ones placed on or after this date to arrive by Christmas:  you’re entering the “risky reindeer zone.”  We’d be cutting it too close for us to be confident of a Christmas arrival, even with expedited shipping.

Warm regards,

Your Friends, the wickedly stressed-out elves, at chumby industries