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Chumby gets leaner, cheaper, and faster

The second generation of the Chumby, a do-it-all touch-screen box for checking news, playing games, viewing photos, and listening to music, is on sale for $99.

Photo of the Chumby One next to eyeglasses
The $99 Chumby One ditches the plush look of the previous model and gets a performance boost. Chumby Industries

The Chumby One (which is technically Chumby No. 2) officially made its way into the manufacturer's online storefront Wednesday, priced at a tantalizing $99.

For those who didn't catch the Chumby phenomenon the first time around, the gist of the thing is a do-it-all, hardware host for Internet widgets. You can use it to check the weather, update your Facebook status, browse your photos on Flickr, tune in to Internet radio, play games, and more. The original Chumby was a blast (I still use one at home for listening to Pandora), but it was a bit of a rich-kid novelty at $179.

Chumby One represents a leaner, faster, cheaper take on the original. Aside from ditching the plush Italian leather and beanbag shape of the original for the clean lines of ABS plastic, the new Chumby benefits from a faster processor (454MHz), a built-in FM radio, a dedicated volume knob, 2GB of microSD memory, and a single USB 2.0 port. They've now made it portable, too, with an optional rechargeable lithium ion battery good for an hour of use.

Many features haven't changed, which is surprising when you consider the big price drop. You still get a relatively spacious 3.5-inch resistive LCD touch screen, a 3.5mm stereo output, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, accelerometer control, and an AC adapter. Let's hope you can still play Quake on it.

Also, is anybody else thinking this thing is just a camera away from working as a Skype video phone? Come on developers, there's a built-in microphone, a USB 2.0 port, a reasonably fast processor--make it happen, OK?