New Chumby released

Chumby hackers take note! The new “Chumby oo” has been released. It features a larger 800 x 600 display (8″ diagonal), allows management of content and subscriptions from the device and supports SD, MMC and CF storage media in addition to USB. The internals include a 800MHz Marvell ARMADA 166 processor with ROM stored on internal 2GB microSD FLASH storage, and 128 MB of DDR2 SDRAM. This latest device, however, eliminates the FM radio tuner and rotary volume control found on earlier Chumbys. The list price is $199.99.

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  1. So chumby is linux based, but can it be hacked to run android or does it have some proprietary flash rom that would make it very difficult?

  2. Chumby is much like android, Linux riddled with Qt nightmare – so it should be a good candidate for Android – if you live long enough to get it running.

    Someone got Froyo running on the 8″ Infocast, which is really just a Chumby One. There’s a video of the Infocast Froyo on Chumby hack on YouTube.

    There where some Android on Chumby discussions on the official Chumby Forum, but I don’t remember anyone actually doing anything useful.

    Then again, if you are really into the Chumby form-factor and can’t live without Android, then there’s the “Webby”, which is not related to Chumby at all. Webby is made by Avantis, a Korean company:

    Don’t try to buy a Webby, unless you want fifty thousand of them. Webby is Android, so the business model is to sell them to phone operators who will then sell them to you at inflated prices tied to a mandatory ball-and-chain contract then charge you huge amounts per byte when you exceed your data cap.

    BTW, at $200 I think this “Chumby oo” is waayyyy over-priced. Go buy a decent netbook for a tad more.

    I have a Chumby One (not a Chumby oo) and think it a perpetually unfinished product. The user interface is – bad. Getting media in and out of it is a problem – as is organizing things the way you like them. Finally, ‘thousands of free apps’ – Yeah, I find only a handful to be actually useful.

    When the Chumby One was on sale from Woot! for $50, it was a steal. If it was $50 every day, then they’d sell many-many more. Perhaps then the “Community” can come in and actually finish the product for them.

    Oh, and don’t forget your Chumby is a “tethered” product that you never really own. If you Internet connection goes away, so does most of your Chumby’s brain. If Chumby Industries goes away… Yeah, you get it.

    It is really too bad about the Chumby thing. I like the company and their “open” attitude. “Bunny” Huang did nice work on the hardware too.

    The one thing good about the Chumby One is the speaker design. Someone really paid attention the acoustic design – the sound is amazingly good for such a small speaker and enclosure. Kudos to the Engineer that did the Chumby One’s speaker; let’s hope they used the same guy on the Chumby oo.

    Regards, David

  3. I am interested in using the Chumby for home automation but if it is not open then it will not work for what I want to do. A DP Webplatform with a display would work just as well.

  4. Chumby is as open as a Linux platform with a lot of Qt nightmare can be. Chumby Industries doesn’t seem to hold anything back. There are toolchains to do pretty-much whatever you want with the device. I found the learning-curve steep though; but then again – I often find it hard to open a can of beer.

    That said… For home automation: You might be better served with a small embedded x86 machine running Linux/BSD. Try a hacked Linksys WRT54GL router as a platform. Your interface would be browser-based; graph your energy, temperature, etc. data with the likes of Perl and rrdtool and/or mrtg – A basic LAMPP setup essentially. Hacked X-10 devices anyone? Or take a step-up in hardware with the likes of a little Alix board (, dated but still-sweet Geode-based) or a really small Atom or Via-based board (avoid packaged for car PC’s, they’re way overpriced). Or go full-flung and run a ~$200 netbook (heck does it cost $200 to buy a tank of gas yet?) I would stay away from an ARM-based platform though. I still find it much easier to stick with IAx86-centric stuff in Linux/xBSD. But the Beagleboard is nice, even if it is ARM (Cortex-A8). Maybe NetBSD is usable these days on the likes of the Beagleboard. But I’m tired of battling cross-compile issues.

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