The Chumby is an adaptable wireless media receiver for hosting music, photos, videos, and Flash-based internet widgets. Because of its plush design and open hardware and software development, there are few products to compare the Chumby to. Whether you're interested in the Chumby as in internet radio, a YouTube video viewer, or a breakfast table RSS reader, the Chumby has geek appeal in spades.
The Chumby Touch screen can't hold a candle to the multi-touch technology of Apple's iPhone, but it gets the job done. The Chumby's graphic user interface makes use of bold, well-spaced icons that don't require users to get too precise. Without web browser or notepad applications, there are seldom times when a touch screen keypad is needed.
On the back of the Chumby you'll find two built-in speakers, two USB ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, power input, and a power button. Wondering why there's two USB ports? The manufacturers included lots of hardware features in the Chumby that they hope developers will eventually take advantage of, including USB ports, an internal accelerometer, a built-in microphone, and a battery connection. In the meantime, you can connect a USB memory stick loaded with MP3 files to turn the Chumby into a music jukebox.
By connecting your iPod to the Chumby, you've got a neat little speaker dock with a touch screen jukebox control. While the Chumby's iPod interface looks iTunes-esque, don't expect a lot of advanced functionality.
On the front of the Chumby, you've got a slightly recessed 3.5-inch color touch screen, and three little holes in the bottom left corner that conceal a microphone. A metal grommet on the top right side that acts as your Chumby's pierced ear, which you can personalize with charms or whatever flair you feel best expresses your Chumby's digital soul.
Don't let this photo fool you--there's no way to use the Chumby without having it plugged into a power adapter (at least, not yet). We're already seeing users hack battery supplies onto their Chumbys in an effort to go completely wireless. Given the manufacturer's openness to hardware and software developers (and DIY hackers), it's only a matter of time before we see a legitimate battery pack for the Chumby.
The top of the Chumby has a dime-sized marking that covers a button hidden in its plushy guts. This multi-function button can be used to access the Chumby's menu screen, or as a luxuriously smack-worthy snooze button.