Feeds
70%
Chumby

Chumby internet-connected alarm clock

Widget-tastic bedside companion

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Review The Chumby is one of those strange little gadgets that defies easy categorisation. If we absolutely had absolutely to try to sum it up in half a dozen or so words, it would be: Wi-Fi internet radio alarm clock with widget support.

Chumby

Chumby: internet-connected, squeezable blob

This description applies to a 150 x 100 x 80mm blob with a 3.5in, 320 x 240 touchscreen on the front. We say 'blob' because most of top, sides and back are covered with squeezable padded leather - real animal hide, not plastic. Squeezing the sides has no effect other than to relieve pent-up tension, but press the top and the Chumby's only external control is triggered. It takes you to the main menu screen.

Around the back you'll find a couple of 2W speakers, two USB ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, the on/off switch and power jack. The Chumby is mains powered so you need to keep it plugged in though there's a back-up battery for the alarm in case of power cuts.

The Chumby's LCD looks crisp, colourful and bright and though it's resistive rather than capacitive, the basic-but-functional UI is slick and well judged with even the lightest of finger touches always registering first time.

Once you have fired your Chumby up and hooked it into your Wi-Fi network, your first stop is likely to be the music menu. This gives you direct access to SHOUTcast, Pandora – for US users only - and a selection of stations grouped together as Radio Free Chumby which immediately got our approval by having Radio Paradise in the number one slot. Podcast fans can access content from Mediafly, CBS and the New York Times.

Chumby

The USB ports can be used to feed music to the Chumby, but not pics or videoes

If none of that takes your fancy, you can add your own radio stations as long as they come in the form of MP3, Ogg, M3U or PLS streams. It's worth pointing out that when it came to trying to get hold of anything from the BBC, we failed horribly. Look on the Chumby forums and you will see some folk claim to get around this by hooking up their Chumby to a Squeezebox Server. But try as we might, we couldn't get our Chumby and server to converse. Not being able to access BBC radio may well be a deal breaker for many potential buyers over here.

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
All aboard the Poo Bus! Ding ding, route Number Two departing
Only another three days of pooing and I can have a ride!
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
Dragon Age Inquisition: Our chief weapons are...
Bioware's fantasy forces in fine fettle
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.