Chumby: Overpriced alarm clock or cool gadget?

Australian ISP Internode last week announced that they will be the first Australian supplier of the chumby. I can already hear it already: "What the hell is a chumby!?"

Basically, the chumby is a personal widget player. The small device looks rather like a toaster or other kitchen appliance. The chumby can play music and videos, read RSS feeds, tell you the weather, display photos and allow you to play games.

The chumby does this by hooking up to a wireless network. Unfortunately it needs an AC adapter to run, but it's still pretty nifty anyway.

Like the iPhone, the chumby features an accelerometer so apps can be designed to take into account movement. It also looks like a toy: it's squeezable and it has a leather cover, complementing its unconventional name.

The big appeal of the chumby lies in its widgets — you can configure which widgets you'd like to use via the chumby Web site

Internode plans to develop a variety of applications to run on the chumby, while a host of Australian-centric widgets will be available.

While it all sounds pretty cool, I can't see too much use for it. The fact that it isn’t completely wireless is a huge let down. Couldn't they get it to run on batteries? I mean... surely that isn't too much of an ask in this day and age?

At the end of the day, it’s a little beanbag with a small screen and speakers. Yeah, it's cute but for $299, I'd want more for my money.

What do you think?

Got a question or comment? Email Ross_Catanzariti at idg.com.au or leave a comment below.

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World
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