According to Phil Torrone’s exclusive interview with Andrew (bunnie) Huang for MAKE, the age of Chumby is pretty much over, at least as far as official manufacturing and support are concerned.
Chumby is the open source WiFi web app platform developed in 2006, before the release of the iPhone. It was one of the few OSHW products to be sold by big box retailers, such as Best Buy (where it was sold under their Insignia house brand.) When checked today the Chumby store is marked temporarily closed.
Andrew details the peaks and valleys in the development and marketing of a successful open source product, noting one of the “ongoing struggles in the OSHW ecosystem, which is how to address trademark and interoperability issues in an increasingly complex and diverse ecosystem.”
“In the face of ‘ship or die’, one should not be looking to ship the perfect product. It is more important to ship a product that’s good enough, than a great product that’s late. … Chumby suffered from precisely this. We premiered an alpha version of the device in August 2006, but we missed Christmas 2007. We didn’t launch our squishy, connected alarm clock until just after Christmas — February 2008.”
Read the entire interview at MAKEzine for thoughtful and enlightening insights into the inner workings of OSHW development.