Steve Tomlin, is the genius behind the evolution of the Chumby from a single gadget that can pull weather, music, news, photos and trivia from the Web into an assortment of "powered by Chumby" devices.
Tomlin, Chumby Industries' chief executive, has spent the past few months striking partnerships with some of the largest consumer electronics companies, including Sony, Broadcom, Marvell and Samsung. The partnerships will enable the port of Chumby's open-source operating system to a wide range of gadgets, including TVs, Blu-ray players and clock and tabletop radios, some before the end of the year.
Tomlin, who prefers consumers to think of Chumby as a content and media business, based on an ecosystem of widgets and third-party developers has a vision of Chumby's future that centres on bringing a personal multimedia Web experience to as many connected consumer electronics as possible. He is quoted as saying: “Selling someone an LCD in a plastic frame with a memory card is not a compelling product… The challenge is to reinvent how to share photos and media.”
The first Chumby-powered photo frame will be able to display content from photo sites Flickr and Photobucket, along with accessing social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as news feeds, Internet radio and weather forecasts. Content can be be pushed to other ‘powered by Chumby’ devices so that, for example, users can share photos with other members of their Chumby social network. Chumby's software recognizes other Chumby owners, so users will be able to share photos by "pushing" them over the air to their friends.
Gadgets such as the now extinct Nabaztag and Chumby hope to fill a burgeoning space in the phenomenon to merge the online world with the offline world and it is surprising that there have not been more of these types of product released to the market place.
This will surely change greatly over the coming 12 months.