Maximum PC Staff Feb 10, 2010

Chumby One

Doesn't everyone need an Internet-connected alarm clock?

The original Chumby—a beanbag with a touch screen, a speaker, and an always-on Internet connection using Wi-Fi—was an interesting hybrid of an always-on smartphone, a digital picture frame, and an old-fashioned alarm clock. The new Chumby One updates the original hardware with a few new features, strips away a few others, and comes in at a much cheaper price of $120 (the original was $200).

For lack of a better term, the Chumby is an information appliance. Using the web interface at Chumby.com, you can configure the device to show pretty much any info that’s available on the Internet, from the local weather to your Facebook news feed to the latest from popular gossip sites. Heck, you can even set it to simply show the current time. On top of that, the Chumby One includes a programmable alarm clock, which makes it perfect for your nightstand.

The new Chumby One is a fancified Internet appliance (read: alarm clock) that features a new hard-plastic design, a faster CPU, and an FM tuner.

There are a few additions to the Chumby One, including an FM tuner, a much-needed volume knob, 2GB of internal storage, a slightly faster ARM-based CPU, and an optional lithium-ion battery (to keep the Chumby running even when the power is out). What went away? The second USB port (the Chumby One features just one powered USB port, suitable for charging devices) and the stereo speakers (the One is mono-only). The integrated accelerometer, touch screen, stereo audio jack, and snooze button remain the same.

Despite the loss of stereo and a USB port, the hardware upgrades and price drop make the Chumby One a compelling upgrade for existing Chumby users. The faster CPU makes the Chumby One feel much more responsive than the previous version. The USB port on the back is perfect for charging a phone or eBook reader, or you can use a USB thumb drive to put your favorite tunes or photos on the machine’s internal 2GB microSD card for use later.

Sure, you could stick your Chumby on your desk or in the kitchen, but given its ability to wake you to MP3s, Internet music streams, your favorite Pandora station, or your favorite FM radio station, the Chumby makes a kick-ass alarm clock. After all, who wouldn’t want to arise to the dulcet tones of Gordon Mah Ung’s Rant of the Week (only available on Maximum PC ’s No BS Podcast)?

Chumby One

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