A few years ago, I seriously wanted a Chumby. For those of you unfamiliar with the device, it was a sort of alarm clock-meets-tablet-meets-rugby ball that sold itself as a convenient way to access important Internet things from your bedside table. In 2013, Chumby Industries, Inc. went out of business, taking the Chumby Network (and, because of the Web-dependent software on the device, all Chumby functionality) with it. So I never got the chance to buy that Chumby.
But who says second chances don’t ever come along? The new owners of Chumby, Blue Octy LLC, bought the product from its original owner with the goal of bringing it back to life, and that’s exactly what’s happened. The Chumby Network is back online, but that’s not all; it’s also re-launching with 1,000 apps in its app store, which isn’t too shabby.
The actual Chumby devices are making a comeback, too. You can now purchase a number of different Chumby models — which all look way more sleek than the original design — for between $79.99 and $99.99.
Now, we live in a different world than in 2006 when the Chumby was making a name for itself. Can the Chumby survive an era of smartphones and tablets? That’s the question that’s on my mind, and when I consider the speed at which mobile devices have infiltrated our lives, I’m not sure the Chumby will have a whole lot of future in its current state. I personally sleep with my iPhone nearby and my iPad standing with its screen facing toward me — much like the device we’re covering here.
The difference? I already own the tablet, and I can take it anywhere I want it to go and do so conveniently. At this point, I’m not sure the Chumby does anything that a tablet could not do; in fact, it actually does a lot less. That’s not a good place to be in with a product, and as much as I want to commend Blue Octy for bringing this product back from the great beyond, I don’t think this second life can be sustained.
Do you own a Chumby? Do you think I’m way off with my belief that the Chumby can’t survive in a world with tablets and smartphones? Leave a comment below.