Dude, I’m Gettin’ a Chumby

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Is that meme funny again yet? No? OK.

I had a visit from the Chumby people today. The Chumby is a little gadget that’s supposed to live in your couch or your kitchen or your bedside table — I’m thinking of it as a clock radio replacement right now. It’s soft and squishy and talks to the Net and runs widgets: weather, music, pictures, news, however you want to set it up. My Chumby has various clocks on it right now, plus a dorky Matrix joke widget, and another one that makes it talk like HAL 9000.

The interesting things is they’re trying to be very open source about it. They’re making the hardware and the software (it runs Flash) very aggressively open and hackable, and they’re trying to grow a developer community around it. It’s kind of the reverse of the gleaming, hermetically sealed iPod ecology. Plus they know journalists are suckers for open source stories.

Chumby launches this spring for $150. Should be interesting. Personally I plan to get an iRobot Create and make them fight.