LAS VEGAS--If you've been following Chumby Industries at all, you know the company was more interested in licensing out its Internet miniapps than in making actual hardware devices. Yes, there's the recent Chumby One, but it's good to see that Sony's now enlisted Chumby's services to help power its upcoming Dash personal Internet viewer, which arrives this April for $199.99.
The Dash features a 7-inch color touch screen (measured diagonally) and has access to more than 1,000 free Internet apps, including news, calendars, weather, sports, social networking, and more via your existing home wireless connection. On top of that, you can tap into audio and video content from Sony's Bravia Internet video platform, from sources like YouTube, Pandora Internet radio, Epicurious, Crackle, Livestrong, and Blip.tv.
According to Sony, other content includes a Navteq app for traffic updates on a customized route and a Cozi app for simple management and syncing of family calendars. Not surprisingly, Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Pictures Entertainment will be contributing Dash apps for movie trailers and music videos.
Sony says the Dash can run multiple sources of content simultaneously, so you could be listening to an Internet radio station while browsing through online photo albums. It also notes that the alarm clock can be set to play selected online videos, such as music videos, sports, and other news feeds. You choose apps either directly from the device or online through a PC, and new content for Dash will continue to be added moving forward. All this should sound familiar to Chumby users.
From a design standpoint, the device has an internal accelerometer that supports vertical flip, "allowing for two optional viewing angles: upright, ideal for a table or nightstand; and tilted, perfect for a countertop." The news release also points out that you can set up multiple user profiles and channels, which makes it more family-friendly.
Like the Chumby, the Dash features built-in stereo speakers as well as a USB port for connecting to a variety of external electronic devices. There's also a jack for headphones.
All in all, this looks like a good move for Sony, though we'd like to see the Dash shave a few bucks off its list price. That said, it's high time Sony's Dream Machine clock radios made it into the 21st century.