chumby's latest widgetized device has been revealed, the chumby NeTV, a compact STB intended to put weather, news, streaming media and other internet data onto your TV. Hooking up a pass-through HDMI connection, and getting internet access via WiFi b/g, the NeTV overlays smart TV - such as news tickers, Twitter updates and Facebook statuses - on top of what's coming out of your regular cable box or Blu-ray player. If you have an Android phone, meanwhile, the NeTV gets even more interesting.
Best Buy's Insignia brand of TVs blessed with the TiVo interface and streaming functionality have been revealed, offering access to YouTube, Netflix, Facebook and more, but without demanding a TiVo subscription. The new Insignia Connected TV range will kick off with two models initially - $499 for a 32-inch set, and $699 for a 42-inch version - each supporting 1080p Full HD and 120Hz refresh rates, and using LED backlighting.
chumby has announced preorders for its latest desktop widget display, the chumby8, which as the name suggests is fronted by an 8-inch touchscreen display. The 800 x 600 panel can show various internet-connected widgets from chumby's 1,500-strong catalog, including streaming media, photos, RSS, weather and content subscriptions.
Turns out that the Chumby 2, which was the name of the device a reportedly leaked image was being associated with, is actually called the Chumby 8. And it is indeed thinner, with a base that still promotes the usual USB ports needed to transfer data. Even with a thinner body, the Chumby 8 packs plenty of new features.
If seeing a new Acer Aspire One notebook leak ahead of an unannounced launch isn't good enough for you, perhaps the second-generation Chumby is more to your liking. Especially when it looks like this, and nothing like the original. we can immediately tell from the image that the display is certainly larger than the previous model, and the frame itself makes the device look more like a digital photo frame. There's a large stand on the back, and reportedly speakers integrated into the sides.
Chumby was made for hacking, and so we probably shouldn't be too surprised to see one sprout legs and start its gradual path to world domination. Eric Gregori of EMG Robotics has developed a bipedal walking ChumbyBot by pairing the touchscreen Chumby One with a Freescale MMA7455l controller board.
That board is soon going to be commercially launched as part of the Tower Robot/Sensor board from EMG, working with the company's RobotSee and Robot Vision Toolkit to make for easy vision-based navigation and control. It's also apparently easy to code for, using the same sort of language as BASIC.
Video demo after the cut
When it comes to hacking, chumby has always had a magnanimous attitude towards opening up its widget-based information displays and adding new functionality, in fact they even encourage it. Now the gates to hack-heaven are open even wider, with the launch of the Chumby Hacker Board: basically the guts of a regular chumby One that has been tweaked to make it more useful for developers. That includes boosted connectivity and a composite video output.
Best Buy have thrown the Insignia Infocast internet media display up for sale, and before you dismiss the 8-inch touchscreen device as just another "smart" photo frame, take a second look. Powered by the same software as the hack-friendly Chumby, the Infocast has been described as "a $169, 800MHz ARM Linux computer with 128 MB of DDR2, 2 GB of mass storage and an 8-inch, 800 x 600 touchscreen display" by none other than Andrew "bunnie" Huang of Chumby itself. He's revealed some of the Infocast's hidden secrets, having had a hand in the design of the touchscreen machine itself.
Nothing like a hidden Easter Egg to brighten up a gadget, and with the news that the chumby One is now available at Costco - and, at $99.99 with free shipping, bizarrely $20 cheaper than chumby themselves are selling it - company founder "bunnie" has revealed that you can turn your touchscreen device into a 3G MiFi of sorts. Plug in a 3G USB modem into the back of the chumby One, and you can apparently use its WiFi chip to share that connection among multiple wireless clients.