Monday, March 31, 2008

Chumby Gets $12.5M...Here's Why It's Taking Off

Chumby Industries, makers of the Wi-Fi video and widget displaying device, the Chumby, have just announced
$12.5 million in Series B funding today. The company notes that this
new financing is going to be used to "accelerate growth of the company,
and expand and broaden the Chumby Network to other screen-based
Internet connected devices." How did this little gadget get so popular?
And why would you want one? Read on to find out.

What's a Chumby?

those of you who don't know, the Chumby Touchscreen Internet gadget is
a popular...and darned cute...gadget that can be customized with
various channels that feature widgets, videos, feeds, games, and more.

To use your Chumby, you plug it in and configure it to work with your Wi-Fi network. Once that's done, you log on to and customize yours with the widgets of your choosing.

These widgets can be anything - web clips, RSS feeds, games, videos,
Tweets, news, weather, a clock, photos, or a million other things. Some
of the widgets come from deals made with content providers, like the
widgets available from CBS, MTV Networks, MySpace, The Weather Channel
Interactive, AOL's SHOUTcast and Scripps Networks.

The Chumby also has speakers, so you can hook up the Chumby to your
iPod via the USB connector in the back and play your iTunes playlists
with it.

Made for Hackers

However, what's really great about the Chumby is that the device is
designed for customization. Want to hack, mod, extend, or improve
Chumby? Have at it!

The Chumby lets you upgrade your Chumby in four different ways:
developers customize the software, build Flash widgets, or even hack
the hardware. Arts-and-crafts types can also mess around with the
Chumby in their own way, decorating it or putting in a case of their
own design.

Software: The Chumby is a Linux-based,
open-source platform which means developers can do nearly anything with
it. A quick glance on the Chumby forum shows posts about Python & Ruby for Chumby, Java for Chumby, Perl for Chumby, MTASC for Chumby, and much more.

Widgets: For Flash animators,
the Chumby can be a showcase for your talents. Artists can upload
widgets to the Chumby site and share them with the community so others
can add them to their own Chumbys. These widgets are the
bread-and-butter of Chumby, bringing most of the cool stuff like news
feeds, videos, games, viewers, utilities, and other fun and/or useful
tools to the device.

Hardware: The Chumby is made for tinkerers. You can open up the Chumby, take it apart, upgrade it, add to it, and mod it. They even tell you how and provide extensive documentation.

Crafts: You don't have to be a computer nerd to enjoy modding your Chumby, though. Even artistic types
can enjoy making Chumby their own. The Chumby is designed so that the
core electronics can be easily removed from its casing, letting you
create your own look for Chumby without having to write code. See?

Modded Chumby on Chumby's flickr Group

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