Neither does the chumby.com homepage.
Incredibly, neither does the item description in the Chumby store.
I'm sure that this announcement is great news for someone, but is Chumby supposed to be a well-kept secret? Why make it so hard to discover what a Chumby does and for who?
I do vaguely remember it now. Surprised he doesn't just do a Chumby 2 on kickstarter.
I'd love to see a Chumby distribution for the Raspberry Pi, for example, to support something newer and in production, but that would require figuring out a way to legally license FlashLite from Adobe again.
The Chumby was a product from Bunnie Studios which was an ARM system with a touch screen, embedded is a bean bag kind of case. It had an application which is basically a flash player (yes on ARM, the only one I know of these days) and it would cycle between flash applications on a "channel." Some times it would cycle through to an advertisement.
It has an accelerometer, speaker, 320 x 240 x 16 touch screen, a couple of USB ports and a wireless network connector. You can wire up a USB serial port to the console if you have something like the AdaFruit FTDIFriend board.
It very much was the classic case of something "before its time" and the business model was kind of dicey. If you didn't want commercials you were out of luck. Once the company shut down they left a server up serving the one App I really liked, "Space Clock" which was a clock like you might see on a Star Trek universe ship (it has a very LCS look to it).
The site has been revived and a new business model has been put in placed, $3 per month subscription for the ability to run 'apps' on your Chumby. I presume it no longer shows ads.
Its sad for me because it has a really crappy clock app now that runs instead of the space clock, and that is going to force me to finish up my OS replacement. The thing is based loosely on the old Beagle board and much of the things that run on that board run on the Chumby. In particular there is a Ubuntu image for it.
I get the subscription thing, but I don't get the price. For $36/year you can run quite a bit of server. A single droplet ($5/month) can serve up several thousand Chumbies (they don't make I/O requests all that often). $3 a year would have made more sense to me, even $5 a year. Anything more than $12 a year and I'm just not going to go there.
The reason I have 3.5 is that the .5 is the 'Chumby Guts' option that Adafruit offered for a while. It was all of the parts, minus the squishy case. At $99 for the parts it was a really good deal for a small ARM linux system with a touch screen. I wish them luck, and I'm glad they are back, but I think they need to rethink that price.
Once it became clear that a purchase wasn't going to happen, Duane was able to purchase it for what I suspect was a fairly small amount of money. That's the point where the change over to "Space Clock" happened, because as it turned out there were some international addresses chewing down amazing amounts of bandwidth, etc. some of them for no clear reason.
I haven't kept track, but at one point there was a USB-bootable local version of the Chumby software available for download, though apps were problematic. I don't know if it improved beyond the level of "choose your apps by putting the files in the right place and editing GUID-like values in a config file" or not.
My wife still uses her Chumby as a clock, but I was actually thinking about stealing it from her so I can use it as a simple streaming audio alarm clock - that functionality is built right in.
Like you I think the Chumby is a great 'viewer' into things digital. Whether it is the time, my calendar, or whatever. My long neglected project is a Ubuntu with a DirectFB driver and the QT4 widget set. I'm going to have to see what it will take to bring that back. Robert Nelson has an excellent toolchain/process for building images for these things and ARM Linux has gotten a lot better in the last half decade.
I'd say $3/month is pretty conservative. How many Chumby users are there? How many will make the leap to the paid plan? Remember that he's offering the free tier.
They were kind of a mix between Tablets and Dashboards.
While I'm an avid Android user (phone & multiple tablets and even do Android programming as my current "day job"), I still think there is room in the world for the chumby "vision" though if it were to work long term it would be better served by eventually moving the system off of Flash and decoupling the service and apps even more from the existing hardware (it would be better as a software platform that ran on whatever, including (for example) raspberry-pi boards which are in some ways spiritual descendants of the chumby hardware).
disclosure: I worked for chumby until it died.
Wouldnt Chumby just be more suited to make a $5(expensive!) app for iOS and Android (hell, make it a webservice) that incorporated the previous Chumby feeds?
But you're right in that (as I mentioned in the other post) the system would be better served by being a multiplatform software play in the future rather than being stranded on old ARMv5 devices running Flash Lite.
One app would load content from any url you specified. Tied it to a script that summarized the status of our servers so I could monitor it anytime.
"Oh, trying to use a non-US Visa/Mastercard?? No no no"
.. Then gave up. Trying to throw money at a company that won't take it, they went bust. Not surprised.
Even while the chumby service was down I would often pull these out to use as special purpose devices (eg. mpd servers for net radio), they are still pretty good small linux boxes that go great with Go development.
Are you aware of what the best current linux firmware is for the Silvermoon (8") platform? The OpenEmbedded versions I've seen are fairly old released from when the devices first went on sale, and I'd love to make use of them.
It would theoretically be possible to get a 3.x kernel up by forward-porting the divergent patches between that OE kernel and the linux kernel version from that time, but I'm not aware of any current working code for that. Due to the changes in the kernel, it wouldn't be trivial to do.