The public release means that the chumby is ready for the (internet-addicted) masses. Are you ready for chumby? Part alarm clock, part internet radio, part hacker’s toy, the chumby is a touchscreen beanbag linux computer.
On Monday, February 25th, Chumby Industries announced the public launch of the chumby. 5 months ago, in September, the “insider’s release” of the production units started. By December, the chumby store was open to any U.S. customer. Hackers abroad have settled for private importing; the company cannot ship outside the U.S.
I’m pleased with my chumby. Since November, when my chumby arrived, the software has grown by leaps and bounds. The control panel offers improved music options and alarm settings, which were tested in beta control panel versions. Widget offerings have grown, with new widgets developed by community members as well as by the community. Documentation has grown as well, both on tips and tricks for using the chumby, as well as example widgets.
I’m also pleased with the company’s process of customer-influenced, user-centered, agile development. They’ve been very aware of their user-base, engaging early adopters through the chumby forums. Back in November, chumby CEO Steve Tomlin wrote
We treasure every comment and every communication with our Customer Service group. We love getting the positive feedback, but the negative feedback is what makes the chumby better — we are listening and doing what we can with this constructive criticism to address it in our product roadmap.
Kudos to the chumbians–especially Software Development VP Duane Maxwell, who was the listener in many of these cases! While many community requests anticipated the company’s plan, some seem to have changed the direction of development. For example, you can now get out of the control panel by pushing the same button that got you into it!