I still have my SPOT watch…somewhere. Not sure where, which tells you that it really didn’t solve the high-level problem of getting information to me in a compact, portable package. Now Chumby isn’t something you can wear on your wrist, so perhaps it’s not fair to compare it to a SPOT watch, but it does solve a similar problem with a more elegant solution. Chumby uses WiFi, not FM radio waves which is what the SPOT platform uses, and it’s basically a Internet information appliance. Using Flash-based widgets, you can view pics, receive instant messages, whatever; any type of data that you could wrap a Flash wrapper around can be shown on your Chumby.
In fact, that’s another main difference with Chumby: it’s meant to be openly “hacked”, meaning you can create your own widgets for your Chumby. From an aesthetics standpoint, you can exercise your “Project Runway” skills and design a personalized outfit for your Chumby, because…well…it’s YOUR Chumby. The fact that you can customize the insides and outsides of this device makes it more attractive and usable than a mostly closed platform. You won’t see Chumby for sale just yet; the folks behind the device have only manufactured a few hundred and doled them out to hackers, Flash developers and the like. Keep your eyes on this however; I could definitely see usage for a Chumby on my nightstand.