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Linux-based programmable clock radio arrives

Feb 25, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 7 views

Chumby Industries announced volume shipments of its Chumby “consumer Internet device” at a price of $180 apiece. Chumby also announced a slate of content providers for the Chumby Network, including CBS, MTV Networks, MySpace, The Weather Channel Interactive, AOL's SHOUTcast and Scripps Networks.

(Click for larger view of the Chumby)

The Linux-based Chumby started shipping in limited quantities in November. Designed for the bedside, desktop, and kitchen counter, the alarm-clock sized Chumby boasts hackable, open source hardware, software, and “outerware” (patterns are available for those wishing to dress their chumby in new jackets).


The Chumby is based on a 350MHz ARM processor with 64MB of SDRAM and 64MB of NAND flash, says the company. The device is equipped with a 3.5-inch touchscreen with 320×240 resolution capable of playing video or displaying photos in digital photo frame fashion. It offers two USB 2.0 ports, a WiFi connection, and MP3-ready audio with stereo 2W speakers and headphone output. The leather-clad device measures 5.5 x 4.25 x 3.25 (base) and 2.25 (top) inches, and includes embedded squeeze and motion sensors.

Chumby in white

The Chumby is not designed to surf the web, but rather to display a continuous stream of rotating personalized “push content” channels from the subscription-free Chumby Network. The site offers widgets such as music, games, movie previews, customized alarm clocks, and more, subsidized by advertising. Users can also develop their own “widget content” and share it with other Chumby users (“chums”) on the site.

Chumby showing Flickr image

The initial slate of Chumby third-party content offerings include:

  • CBS — news, sports and entertainment buzz from Entertainment Tonight, plus video widgets of the Late Show with David Letterman, Big Brother, The Early Show, Wallstrip and college basketball games
  • MTV Networks — music, movie and game news from MTV and VH1, plus interactive Babealizer photos from Spike.comand and an animated SpongeBob SquarePants widget
  • MySpace — interactions with users' photos, friend requests, messages, comments, blogs, and bulletins, with ability to view profiles and send messages
  • The Weather Channel Interactive — custom local weather conditions, forecasts and radar images from
  • AOL SHOUTcast — over 20,000 free online radio stations from around the world
  • Scripps Networks — a widget from The Food Network that offers new recipes every day

Stated Brandon Lucas, senior director of mobile business development for MySpace, “We're excited about how much of the desktop experience we've been able to bring to this robust, interactive widget.”


The ChumbyT is available now in black, latte, or pearl for $180 apiece. For more about the device from a developer's point of view, be sure to read our earlier coverage.

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