Chumby, the snuggly hybrid of stuffed animal and widget device, will be introduced next month to a small group of beta testers willing to shell out $179.95. The device, which has been in private testing for the last 10 months, lets its owners add and access all sorts of Internet-enabled widgets, including weather information, sports scores, horoscopes, and even Flickr slide shows. The team plans to make it available to everyone else later in the year.
According to Chumby's creators, part of the launch delay has been due to the inclusion of video, which required getting Adobe's Flash Lite 3 software to run on the device. Don't expect videos to look spectacular though, as resolution is only 320x240p, which on the device's 3.5-inch display is just a half inch larger, and the same resolution, as Microsoft's Zune.
Despite Chumby's somewhat cute exterior, there's some pretty slick tech packed inside, including two USB 2.0 ports, an accelerometer, touch screen, Wi-Fi, and speakers. Users will also be able to "trick out" their Chumby with future accessories and customization options, including limited-edition colors and upholstering.