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I'm anxiously awaiting the time when I can buy a Pi without jumping though hoops just to check one out. In the meantime, for those interested primarily in the price of the product and the DIY-tinker factor but who haven't been able to snag a Pi yet, you can currently pick up new (well, not new exactly, but never used) Insignia Infocast 3.5" devices for about $25 from various resellers (look on ebay, etc).

While these don't have that much long-term value serving their original consumer-oriented role, they are pretty great embedded hacker boards for the price. You don't get a 3D capable GPU and the processor isn't as fast as the Pi's, but you do get a built-in LCD display w/ touchscreen, wifi, accelerometer , FM radio receiver, etc.

(For those familiar with chumbies, the Insignia Infocast 3.5 is basically the same thing as the chumby one and the chumby hacker board, but the price has dropped even further than the price for remaining chumby ones because of the stupid name and lack of nostalgia factor).

The chumby was, altogether, a disappointing device. While it was "hackable", its capabilities were too limited and you could not boot the stuff to do anything offline. I bought one out of hope that something interesting would come out, but it was not really worth it, retrospectively.

I worked for chumby industries as a developer and won't even disagree with you about the device being a bit of a disappointment. I never quite bought into the company's vision of "channels" of Flash apps (even though I wrote quite a few of them!).

But I wouldn't say the capabilities of the device are limited in terms of hackability. You can easily flash your own bootloader, your own kernel and your own rootfs on to the device and do more or less whatever your heart desires with it. For ~$25 for one of these you get something pretty close to the imx233 developer board kits that Freescale sells for 400 bucks and up.

excuse-me does have a point, though, in that there is less likely to be vibrant chumby hacking community moving forward, though on the flip side of that there's tons of documentation already existing on how to set up a toolchain, how to get your own openembedded OS build up on the device, etc, whereas that sort of knowledge is going to take a while to build up for the Pi, especially if it remains difficult to actually buy one.

Thanks for the post - Let me correct what I said earlier. I do not think the chumby is limited in terms of hackability, however I expected more hacks to come out from a fully opened hardware-software thingy like the chumby. I am not exactly sure why it did not happen.

I totally agree with you on the Flash apps vision. This is such a shame that was the main function of the chumby in the first place. I was expecting to have both offline applications as well, and not flash based. Seems like that was not made to be.

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